Chief among climate scientists’ concerns is the loss of the reflective power of Arctic ice when it melts due to rising ocean temperature. The dark water that replaces reflective ice absorbs more solar radiation, warming the ocean even more. This process of “Arctic melt” is causing one-third of the increases in temperature, and climate pattern changes. It also accelerates rising sea rising and the release of methane and other potent greenhouse gases, which reside beneath sea ice and the Arctic permafrost. Worse, these dynamics generate a powerful downward cycle.
Ice911 Research, a Silicon Valley nonprofit, is seeking to reverse the melting of arctic glaciers by restoring the “albedo” (natural reflective power) of ice. The data from their small-scale experiments show that by adding simple, ecologically safe materials to water, it freezes 1.45 times faster, lasts 1.77 times longer in sun and has a higher albedo than the control water/ice.
Ice911 seems to be an effective, short-term solution that can help buy time to develop sustainable energy alternatives and long-term solutions. Ice911 founder, Dr. Leslie Field-Barth, and the NASA Ames Research Center are discussing a possible collaboration in an effort to create a federally acknowledged program to slow global warming. As one NASA scientist observed, “Ice911 is the best trick I’ve heard of yet.”
Jason Box, ”Persistent Warm Over Artic Ocean, Persistent Cold Over US and Continental Asia,” Dark Snow, February 6, 2014, http://darksnowproject.org.
Jeff Gillies, “Sensor System Tests Efforts to Artificially Boost Polar Ice Formation, Albedo,” Environmental Monitor, December 5, 2013, http://www.fondriest.com/news/ice911-boost-polar-ice-albedo.htm.
Sue Lubeck, “Ice911: Buying Time for Green Innovation” GreenBIz.com, January 24, 2014, http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/01/24/ice911-buying-time-green-innovation.
Student Researcher: Frank Leal (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)