Five Trillion Dollar Plan to Save the Arctic Ice


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t JoNova – just in case you thought the climate community had run out of absurd ideas to waste taxpayer’s money, here is an academic plan to rebuild Arctic ice, by deploying 100 million wind turbines into the Arctic Ocean.

Save the Arctic with $5 trillion of floating, wind-powered ice machines, researchers recommend

Tristin Hopper | February 16, 2017 | Last Updated: Feb 17 9:34 AM ET

With the Arctic warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, a new scientific paper is proposing a radical scheme to thicken the ice cap: millions upon millions of autonomous ice machines.

Specifically, between 10 and 100 million floating, wind-powered pumps designed to spray water over sea ice during the winter.

“These are expensive propositions, but within the means of governments to carry out on a scale comparable to the Manhattan Project,” reads the paper published in the Jan. 24 edition of Earth’s Future, a journal published by the American Geophysical Union.

The plan would be one of the most expensive single projects in world history, an endeavour on the scale of the International Space Station, the entire U.S. auto industry or a major world conflict such as the Iraq War.

In the most ambitious version of the plan, 100 million devices would be deployed across the Arctic.

Nevertheless, given the end goal, the researchers from Arizona State University call the cost “economically achievable” and the environmental impact “negligible.”

However, they also costed a scaled-down, $500-billion plan that would deploy ice machines to only 10 per cent of the Arctic.

“The need is urgent, as the normal cooling effects of summer sea ice are already lessened and may disappear in less than two decades,” reads the paper.

The fleet of ice machines would be designed to add an extra metre of sea ice to the Arctic every winter.

The report contains no specific designs on the water pump, but described it as wind turbine and tank assembly mounted atop a buoy.

Read more:

The abstract of the referenced study;

Earth’s Future Arctic ice management

Steven J. Desch, Nathan Smith, Christopher Groppi, Perry Vargas, Rebecca Jackson,Anusha Kalyaan, Peter Nguyen, Luke Probst, Mark E. Rubin, Heather Singleton, Alexander Spacek, Amanda Truitt,PyePyeZaw, and Hilairy E. Hartnett

As the Earth’s climate has changed, Arctic sea ice extent has decreased drastically. It is likely that the late-summer Arctic will be ice-free as soon as the 2030s. This loss of sea ice represents one of the most severe positive feedbacks in the climate system, as sunlight that would otherwise be reflected bysea ice is absorbed by open ocean. It is unlikely that CO2 levels and mean temperatures can be decreased in time to prevent this loss, so restoring sea ice artificially is an imperative. Here we investigate a means for enhancing Arctic sea ice production by using wind power during the Arctic winter to pump water to the surface, where it will freeze more rapidly. We show that where appropriate devices are employed, it is possible to increase ice thickness above natural levels, by about 1m over the course of the winter. We examine the effects this has in the Arctic climate, concluding that deployment over 10% of the Arctic, especially where ice survival is marginal, could more than reverse current trends of ice loss in the Arctic, using existing industrial capacity. We propose that winter ice thickening by wind-powered pumps be considered and assessed as part of a multipronged strategy for restoring sea ice and arresting the strongest feedbacks in the climate system.

Read more:

The whole idea is absurd, but even if we accept that for whatever reason it one day becomes necessary to pump water on to sea ice on that scale, it would be much easier to use nuclear power than wind power.

The energy budget mentioned in sections 1.3 of the study is 1300GW of power, 7% of the current global energy budget. The largest nuclear reactors currently in use produce around 8GW of power. If you assume $5 billion per reactor construction cost (think mass production), the total construction bill would be $800 billion – well short of the $5 trillion estimated by the study.

In addition, nuclear plants would be less likely to ice up, like the turbine in the picture above.

I’m not even going to consider the prohibitive cost of maintaining all those wind turbines in the harsh, unforgiving arctic environment.


191 thoughts on “Five Trillion Dollar Plan to Save the Arctic Ice

  1. These people are nuts! , sorry I just can’t believe anyone in their right mind would even think past the first suggestion.
    ” Let’s build a 100 millions ice machines”. Who pays these people? I am not even sure how to rate the article , no stars because it is so absurd or 5 stars because I got a (sad) laugh out of it!

    • I am beginning to wonder if we ought to have something like two years service in a practical field of studies for a BS, 3 years for an MS, and 5 years for a PhD. The fields of studies would be selected by a small committee of practitioners in the students’ chosen field and that same committee would decide if the results the students’ practical studies would qualify them to continue with the degree. This would for technical fields, i.e. engineering.
      For liberal arts, the soft sciences, the process would be the same except that the student’s would have to their service in a field unrelated to their studies.
      This may be far from what would work, but society has little or negative returns for their investment in “professionals” such as those who conducted and reported this paper study. As a taxpayer, I would like to have my share of the taxes who supported these people refunded to me and to all taxpayers who voluntarily/un-voluntarily contributed to the education of these people. And, to fostall spurious arguments, all education in this country are supported by taxpayers to some extent.

      • Another good suggestion might be to include a requirement that any earth saving scheme must require a proof of concept trial and that the one suggesting the scheme must run the trial at the trial site.

      • Marvellous suggestion. But with the grant-leeches in position of university administration, there is a small issue….having truly practicable graduates in the work stream is not part of their agenda. Too much critical thought. Ideas like the geoengineering of the arctic would never come to be, for obvious reasons.

      • Cambridge university in the UK awards an MA after you have been out in the real world doing something real and useful.

        I am proud to have am MA (eng)

      • Leonard, I don’t think we should ever stop bright people from “thinking outside the box”. Your proposal would probably have prevented Einstein from getting a degree. However, we do want to influence the spheres of contemporary study. Many people have suggested that climate research should have its funding vastly reduced; if that happens then suddenly those bright people may have to find different boxes inside and outside of which to perform research.


      • Mao’s Cultural Revolution sent scholars and bureaucrats out into the countryside for a year or two to get acquainted with the real world.

      • There’s a thing called a job market.

        People who have work they need doing, advertise a job for somebody who knows how to do that.

        Other people see a need for something out there that people want. So they figure out how to provide that and learn how to do that, then go and do it.

        We don’t need some factotum telling people what they should learn in order to get a job.

        With the present system, too many people with no useful skills, get pseudo jobs in institutions charging money for the institution; to teach others about stuff that nobody had any use for, when they studied it, and they still have no use for it today.

        65% of ALL USA university PhD Physics doctors, never ever get a full time paying job using the specialty they were awarded their doctorate for knowing.

        They often become post doc fellows looking for new victims to fleece.


      • I hear that ALL of the $132B Berkeley receives and spends for research goes to the liberal arts. The bind moggles.

      • I don’t know about having the proposer run the site. Too much opportunity for data finagling.
        However, he/she should be on site and be required to work outside as much as possible.
        Unless it’s in a location with pleasant weather. Then be required to work inside with only a small window so that they can see everyone else having fun.

    • They are mad – unless they fork up the money themselves, in which case I admire them for the strength of their convictions.

      • AndyE, no, I would just admire them for their madness even more if they were going to put their own money into it…


    • How does this BS pass any sort of meaningful peer review?? I work in the human physiology research space and anything that even approached the fanciful detached from reality fiction of this “paper” would be rejected by any journal I know of….even the $1000 per article pay to plays…

      • yes, I saw this BS covered on the Guardian a couple of days ago. There solution to the destruction of this “pristine wilderness” is to totally destroy it by building man made structures all over it.

        This total contradiction between the objective and the proposed solution just underlines the irrational, obsessive nature of their mentality.

    • If they are free-floating stations then in 5 years time they will be complaining about all these turbines clogging up the Caribbean, cos that is where they will end up.

    • Great! Round up 30 million, or 300 million, greenies to work non-stop eight hour shifts doing maintenance on the 10 million or 100 million turbines! I’m sure there’ll be more volunteers than are needed!

    • I’m with Griff on this one (btw where is Griff anyway?), it might be a fake news written by a sceptic The idea is so ridiculous that no sane person would consider it reasonable, but on the other hand many of the CAGW promoters have migrated to insanity years ago.
      Number of web articles on the subject quote original source, I looked for link to and searched for “paper published in the Jan. 24 edition of Earth’s Future, a journal published by the American Geophysical Union.” but couldn’t find one.
      Can anyone verify existence of such paper?

      • Only 14 authors? That’s nothing. Neil deFraud Tyson lists in his CV a paper with 43 authors — in alphabetical order, so his name was near dead last.

        He only has 14 papers listed in all, and some don’t even mention his name, he’s just part of et al.

    • There seems to be an important mistake in the list of those who are pushing this idiotic plan. Where are the names of Moonbeam Jerry Brown and Al Gore. They couldn’t possibly be left off something so absurd and expensive and pointless

    • Yeah, but the 100 million ice machines need to be powered by wood pellets from clear cut forests because we can pretend that CO2 produced from these harebrained scams do not exist.

    • Another obvious example that possession of a PhD does not necessarily mean possession of common sense.

  2. When the wind dies during the long winter night and power is needed to keep the turbines warm and able to turn when the wind resumes, where is all the maintenance power going to come from? In the UK, during such cold, windless spells, their wind turbines such power from the grid to keep themselves warm. Yeah, that’s going to work.

  3. What was ice coverage in the Arctic in the 1930′ warm period, let alone the Medieval Warm? Beaucoup money to deal with what is probably not a problem.

    • With all the climate changes that have taken place through the centuries why oh why is it now the perfect temperature that must be maintained. What arrogance, stupidity, etc of those who think they can change what is continually changing anyway.

  4. Acadumbia ….perpetuating stupid …..we need to put an end to this cr@p .
    What a waste of resources .

  5. How should these wind turbines be fixed, on the ice? or on the sea ground? when it’s fixed on the ice it floats around. When it is fixed on the ground then it will be destroyed be the floating ice. I think the whole idea is trash.

    • Ships lots and lots of ships. To consider the details is to give some level of credence to insanity. How about first principles like .. and the advantage to having a whole lot of ice and snow is?

      Makes for very expensive polar bears.

      • With 14 authors, several of them female, it’s likely this article was the result of a particularly mirthful TGIF get-together that went on and on, each participant trying to outdo the others in contributing ridiculous ideas. With a little more refinement, it might qualify for the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

  6. is the story of King Canute not in common knowledge these days?
    trying to stop planetary climate changes is ridiculous

  7. Apart from the impossible practical considerations, consider the specific heat content of all that water, it would result in warming the Arctic atmosphere, with unforeseen consequences in weather and climate.

  8. This is flat out incompetent. A certain air temperature will maintain a certain thickness of ice. If they thicken the ice from the top, it will merely melt up from the bottom, to achieve the necessary thickness.

    • Commie -it actually works and is widely used in northern Canada to make drill pads on lakes, and ice roads to otherwise inaccessible communities. First, the snow is cleared off, which allows the cold to penetrate better, and if that’s not enough, water is sprayed over the ice surface to make additional ice. It takes a long time to melt the thickened ice and you can still see it when the spring thaw is under way.

      It’s also been proposed for offshore oil rig platforms in the Arctic. In fact I seem to remember a couple of attempts off the coast near Inuvik, in the 1970s, so it ought to work with salt water too.

      Of course, just because it’s practical on a small scale, doesn’t mean it will work with 100 million wind turbines. Spraying water over ice is quite labour intensive. It works best if the water is sprayed in a wide pattern, so it has a chance to get more chilled before it hits the ice surface. And the hoses need to be moved continually to maintain a semi-consistent ice thickness. Hoses can’t be too long or they will freeze up, so they will need to keep making fresh ice-auger holes. Hoses always freeze anyway and need to be thawed out regularly. No way you can automate it.

      So I would assume a crew of six hardy souls per turbine to work in three shifts. Two operators per shift is a bit skimpy in hazardous Arctic winter conditions, better make it three per shift. That will employ 900 million people, plus the (helicopters? nuclear submarines?…..) to keep them supplied with food and stuff. And the portable buildings to house them. So with another, say 100 million to work on the supply and maintenance, that’s a round billion people. A good place to put those climate refugees.

      BTW I’ve done ice-making so I have an idea what’s involved, and I don’t think that I’m overestimating the practical difficulties at all. Quite the reverse. It’s not too bad if you have a pickup truck idling to keep you comfortable between moving the hoses and fueling the pumps, but to do it in the middle of a 20-hour Arctic night with whiteout conditions, no thanks – I don’t care how much they pay.

      • It works because the lakes are freshwater. Ice has no salt in it. Pumping sea water (saline) onto arctic ice would dissolve the ice. Brilliant idea.

      • Yes, salt is the killer element as pointed out by sophocles. Pure water is eutectic but it has limited strength at freezing point. Salt water isn’t eutectic and phase separation happens on freezing making for much lower strength ice until the brine drains out AND regelation consolidates the mass. As such, the top layers become very weak in compression which will turn ice cap into a slush factory.

        Building from the surface does nothing to reduce melting from currents. With the added brine trickling down, it might even reduce ice.

      • Smart Rock,
        Thank you for your voice of experience.
        Greatly appreciated.

        Your final comment –
        “It’s not too bad if you have a pickup truck idling to keep you comfortable between moving the hoses and fueling the pumps, but to do it in the middle of a 20-hour Arctic night with whiteout conditions, no thanks – I don’t care how much they pay.”
        – almost cost a computer screen.

        Hugely appreciated – and much smiled over.

        And, if I may say, a billion or so mutagenic watermelons in the Artic will mean no reasonable chance of the native populations remaining distinguishable in any way.


      • Squirting so much warm water into the air will chill the water, but it will also dramatically warm the air.

  9. They forgot about the other 100 million they will have to build to offset the CO2 produced when building the first 100 million ….

    • Thank goodness Obama, Lurch and Holdren aren’t still there.

      This would be right up there on their bucket list !

  10. Um, not meaning to be difficult, but Einstein was wrong about the universe being infinite so maybe there is hope that we’re not quite that stupid. Just sayin’!

  11. Freezing of sea water ejects all of the CO2 dissolved in the water as CO2 gas and Carbonates. This is why the polar regions have the highest concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. See or Google “Oceans, Ice & Snow and CO2”
    If CO2 heats the atmosphere via greenhouse effect, isn’t this freezing solution counter-productive. Or maybe these climate scientists don’t believe that CO2 has a warming effect.

    • These entire paragraphs from the SUMMARY you quote from at the end of that fascinating 51-page paper bear repeating in full.

      Plots of sea temperature changes with CO2 concentrations showed that there was a very high inverse correlation. That is, as the temperature went up, the short term concentration went down and vice versa. This inverse relationship negates sea temperatures as the direct cause. However, it could be acting as a proxy. The types of proxy relationships include marine biology, i.e. as sea temperatures rise, phytoplankton activity increases, which causes the CO2 concentration to decline. Another proxy relationship may be rain. Rain increases with increasing temperature & humidity. The more rain, the more CO2 is scrubbed from the atmosphere, causing the CO2 concentration to drop. In addition to a proxy explanation, a six month delay between sea temperature and CO2 changes could make the two consistent. This study did not find nor investigate observational evidence to support either a proxy or a six month delay time. Based on all of these factors, a connection between changing sea temperatures and CO2 seasonal fluctuations remains uncertain.

      Graphical analysis between CO2 and US fossil fuel emissions from observation stations north, south and to the west of the United States did not show a detectible [sic] connection. The Troposphere Effect coupled with actual observations negates a relationship. The fact that the NH changed at the same percentage as the SH, does not support a connection. And the lack of scientific studies connecting CO2 emissions to the seasonal fluctuations supports the conclusion that fossil fuel emissions do not cause or contribute, in any measurable way, to seasonal fluctuations. None of the potential causes discussed above provided any explanation as to why the Polar Regions have the highest CO2 concentrations.

      When sea ice freezes, it ejects all of the CO2 that is contained in the water. Mathematical computations confirm that the CO2 ejected from the changes in sea ice volume was sufficient to cause a 20 degree fluctuation in the CO2 concentration in the Polar Circles. Graphical analysis at several different latitudes in the polar and near Polar Regions, for multiple years, showed a 90% correlation. Sea ice also provides a reasonable explanation as to why the highest concentration of CO2 occurs in the Polar Area. The remainder of the world (below 50 degrees in the north and below 40 degrees in the south) the fluctuations are believed to be controlled primarily by biological actions

      Nelson, M.D. and Nelson, D.B. (2016) Oceans, Ice & Snow and CO2 Rise, Swing and Seasonal Fluctuation. International Journal of Geosciences, 7, 1232-1282. Published: October 27, 2016.

  12. Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer learns that he can sell grease, so he buys up all the bacon he can find, fries it, eats the bacon, and keeps the remain grease to sell for a profit. (That is, until he learns that the cafeteria at Bart’s school holds the motherlode.)

    • Hi Max! Finally found you.

      I’ve been straining my brain to come up with a comment pertaining to this article. Can’t. Too insane.

  13. Five Trillion Dollar Plan to Save the Arctic Ice. Back in the 1970s they were talking about spreading soot on the snow to melt the arctic. No one holds these people accountable. They spend fortunes of other people’s money on their own nonsensical personal agendas.

    • We humans feel a need to “do Something — Anything!” in response to an immediately-present problem (real or perceived). It makes us feel as if we have some power, in situations where we generally don’t. That the “anything” might sometimes be worse than “nothing” doesn’t relieve our current feelings of helplessness. This is why we admire “cool heads” — at least, we admire them after the fact, when their restraint has proved its value. In the (anxious) moment, however, we cry for Strong Leaders who will Take Decisive Action Before It’s Too Late.

      There is a reason why the ancients invoked a very particular code for physicians: FIRST, do no harm.

  14. I posted that to my facebook page a while ago. It’s pure insanity. How the hell did the word ‘science’ become so corrupted to allow fairy tales about things that will not be experimentally tested? Who is so insane to propose experiments so expensive and on top of that, that can turn out very dangerous if, absurdly, would be tried? What the hell is wrong with them?

    • “How the hell did the word ‘science’ become so corrupted to allow fairy tales about things that will not be experimentally tested?”

      Taxpayer funding. As Eisenhower warned in his Farewell Address.

  15. I have to know, is that picture real?! If so, does anyone have an educated estimate of what the net energy gain/loss would have been for the amount of fossil fuels burned by the helicopter vs the amount of energy it enabled the windmill to produce? Green energy at any cost…

  16. This is a paragraph from a Guardian article on the ‘weather bomb’ that has just hit California!
    No…it really is. I quote.

    “It’s crazy,” said Robin Johnson, an academic adviser at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s just pouring down rain. The wind is just going nuts.”

    Crazy man!

    • Smoking all that weed must have completely destroyed his memory.

      That, or he graduated from 6th grade recently.

  17. And where are they going to produce the 100 million rare earth magnets (@2.5 kg per) required to power those wind turbines? Currently, only China can create them, knows the four-stage extraction, separation, and production processes, except for small vertical market suppliers dotted here and there around the world. But China owns 95-97% of the world’s rare earth supply, and rations all exports. It takes 40 tons of extracted ore to produce one 2.5 kg rare earth magnet.

    So they water the ice. What’s melting the sea ice now? Won’t that trigger melt the new ice as well? What’s next? Are they going to propose a wall across the upper Atlantic to prevent warm tropical waters from traveling north? And machines to turn the northward-moving tropical air back to the equator?

    And who is going to produce all the aluminum required to build 100 million wind turbines? The largest solar field or wind farm in the world today CANNOT create enough electricity to run ONE aluminum foundry. Only coal and oil can do that (and nuclear). Australia’s main aluminum foundry uses 3% of the nation’s energy. It’s powered by a dam.

  18. We all need to get together and form The Arctic Engineering Consulting Company.
    Then we get behind this idea and push hard. Use any fear factor we can come up with, dying poley bears, starving penguins, cute baby seals.
    We stand to make a fortune in consulting fees before it all blows over, and we do not have to actually produce anything. Perfect!
    I can see it now:

    Arctic Engineering – We put the Con in Consulting!

  19. Would the salt water flowing over the floating Arctic ice freeze before or after it melts the fresh water accumulated snow on the top of the ice? If it transforms the entire ice mass into salt water ice, it would melt at a much lower temperature than fresh water ice. This might just accelerate the ice loss rate (if it’s actually a loss once el Nino effects dissipate.)

    • The water kicks out a concentrated brine as it freezes. The brine will partially melt the existing ice. Also, remember, you are bringing up relatively *warm* water and spreading it around. Essentially, everything gets turned into a salty slush.

      It is the world’s largest Snow Cone maker.

    • Tom

      Ocean water freezes just like freshwater, but at lower temperatures. Fresh water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit but seawater freezes at about 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit, because of the salt in it. When seawater freezes, however, the ice contains very little salt because only the water part freezes. It can be melted down to use as drinking water.

      At least 15 percent of the ocean is covered by sea ice some part of the year. On average, sea ice covers almost about 10 million square miles of the Earth.

      Sea water becomes more and more dense as it becomes colder, right down to its freezing point. Fresh water, on the other hand, is most dense while still at 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit, well above the freezing point. The average temperature of all ocean water is about 38.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

      • For those who might not know, 0 degrees Fahrenheit is the freezing point of a saturated (50/50) salt solution. So I like to say that at 0F or below, water ice is “seriously frozen”.

  20. “A scientific paper” the abuse of science just doesn’t end. The Iraq war did not cost the US a trillion dollars folks. That is a false political talking point. Although the tab is still running.

  21. “Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity.” — and the cardinality of the infinite human set of stupidity is greater than that of the universe’s.

  22. The mere fact that they think it is necessary to maintain a certain amount of ice up there seems absurd. Wasn’t there a time when Greenland was without much ice/snow? Seems like the world kept on going despite that. The only positive thing you can say about it is it will keep a lot of people employed especially for maintenance. At what cost and who will be paying for it all?

    • And it took 14 authors to refine the plan. What else do you do with the plethora of grad students, post-docs and young profs – gotta keep em employed. Must have been one helluva grant to keep 14 “professionals” alive.

      • We all need some of whatever these folks are smoking. . . will it make sense then? As an engineer, the problems with the concept and everyday operation of such a boondogle make Rube Goldburg like like an amateur circus curiosity. Are these really professors or is somebody just pranking us all??

  23. With all the climate changes that have taken place through the centuries why oh why is it now the perfect temperature that must be maintained. What arrogance, stupidity, etc of those who think they can change what is continually changing anyway.

  24. There is a hardly talked program mostly funded by the USA that works to replace sources of particulate carbon, mostly from old Soviet era diesel engines. Most of the sea ice lost has been off the coast of Northern Russia. Been going for at least 10 years and is generally considered a success.

    In my view, the main cause of Arctic sea reductions is particulate carbon and increased insolation from reduced clouds.

  25. I’ll solve it for free.
    Stop feeding the beast.

    They may bitch and whine at first, but ya gotta teach em.

  26. The “1-to-5 stars” article rating system is now officially overwhelmed. We need a “WTF” button somewhere to supplement the five stars.

  27. Climate change, in a sense, is man made: It is created by, and exists in, the minds of the climate obsessed. The absurd, near psychotic idea discussed by this blog post is so insane as to be beyond parody.

  28. There is absolutely nothing particularly unusual about present day sea ice extent in the Arctic, and the alarmism is because the modern presentation is cherry picked from the high of 1979.

    If one looks back further in time, one can see that today’s sea ice extent is not unusual and simply part of what appears to be cyclical changes. See

    In the 1940s and 1850s was around about 6 million sq.kilometres which compares favourably to that seen today.

    • Final paragraph should have read:

      In the 1940s and 1850s sea ice extent was around about 6 million sq.kilometres which compares favourably to that seen today.

  29. Outdated politically correct neo-Gillardian-Clinton-Obamist-Merkel-Cameron-Trudeau thinking. World, move on.

  30. It’s just a joke. Don’t get sucked in, they are not being serious. Unless it’s a ruse to distract attention from some other plot being hatched.

    • Climate scientists are similar to doctors: If you have one take out your gall bladder, it’s because he’s behind in his house payments or he just bought a big boat.

      Climate scientists write silly crowd-sourced (to spread the liability around) yellow papers to keep that cash rollin’ in.

  31. The brilliant minds which promulgated this “plan” should be assigned to a pilot project on the ice building and maintaining 3 or 4 of these things in the middle of the Arctic. Go get ’em boys and girls.

  32. This is not stupidity, it is the Greatest Robbery in the history of the World. Already-rich ‘Green Investors’ get to suck TRILLIONS out of the taxpayer for a problem that doesn’t exist. It is a brilliant robbery – but make no mistake, all the people pushing this are criminals as a consequence.

  33. I do not understand why anyone would want to do such a thing. Using sea water to increase sea ice will have no effect on sea levels. During the winter the albedo effect is minimal in the artic because of sun angle considerations and general weather conditions. At the very least if they want to consider such an idea they should start with a single windmill and see how the one performs. The construction and transport of all those windmills will add considerable amounts of CO2 to our atmosphere. How do they expect to pay for such a project? In accord with the Paris Climate Agreement only the rich nations should pay for such nonsense and the USA with its huge federal deficit and huge trade deficits is not a rich nation. Maybe China would like to supply the wind mills and with each windmill a floating Chinese base so they can claim the entire Artic for their own.

    The climate change we are experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which Mankind has no control. The Artic may turn much colder in the future as has happened many times in the past and then there would be too much ice. Ice is a hazard to navigation and they want to add more of it at great cost. How may people would be involved in the artic, transporting, installing, and maintaining the wind mills.? You may not find that many people who would want to work there under such harsh conditions.

  34. Hmmmm, I thought that the sea ice issue was mostly an indicator of global warming. And it would follow to ask what is the point of trying to reverse this process?

  35. They’ve got their climate feedbacks-regulation completely backwards.

    – Energy enter the climate system via SW solar at the tropics to about 65deg N/S.

    – The poles are Earth’s radiators, sending energy back into space, as their primary function. The north polar Arctic Sea receives very little insolation in the Arctic summer compared to the lower latitudes.

    During winter, if the Earth is warm and needs cooling, long winter darkness and open water means enhanced loss of OHC, thus cooling.
    In the summer, the polar north Arctic Sea is at t high a latitude for low incidence angle insolation to make much difference whether it is open water or ice. Making it all ice would decrease an already negligible insolation, but at a huge cost of preventing OHC heat release during the long dark winters. WHen Earth is in a cold climate period, the sea ice remains to provide a thin layer of insulation to limit further cooling.

    These guys are absolute, blithering morons who have no concept of how the Arctic Ocean radiates energy back to space to regulate Earth’s heat budget.

  36. On noes! Ice age = Melt Arctic
    Oh Noes! Global warming = Freeze Arctic

    A melting and advancing arctic is how all that good stuff gets to the deep ocean via deep water return.

    my faith in government funded science is destroyed at this stage

  37. Where’s Mosh and Nick to comment on this STUPIDITY.

    Their absence is noted.

    Surely not even those two can condone this rubbish !!!

  38. Their plan is to spray sea water on top of sea ice already present, increasing the ice thickness, but not increasing area covered by ice. The underside of the ice will warm by being further from the cold air above, and the air above will be warmed as the freezing sea water releases heat. Melting at the underside of the ice will cool the sea underneath. In essence, this plan is to move heat from below the sea ice to above it, where it can be lost to space. If successful, and done on a large enough scale, the result would be a colder world. They must think this is a cure for global warming. (What happened to climate change?)
    But if they think that CO2 released into the atmosphere warms the Earth, they should think the CO2 released by this project would negate their efforts in the long run.
    Makes me think they don’t think.


  39. Wow, what an idiotic plan.

    It would be cheaper – and more effective – to simply constrict/block the Bering Straight water currents.

    This would prevent a large part of the northerly energy transport and the ice would regrow naturally.

    Closing up the Davis Straight (between Greenland and Canada) would help even more, but would be a much more monumental undertaking.

  40. Wind turbines are unsightly ugly contraptions, that would be vandalising the pristine Arctic horizons. There is also the alternative win-win proposition, to be financed by silicon valley moguls.
    Hundreds of thousands of floating concrete platforms about a square mile each cowered with solar panels, equipped with electric heathers in order to stop the snow/ice build-up, backed up by the Elon Musk’s storage batteries would provide electricity to light up whole of polar region 24h/24h in the winter months and cool the Arctic ocean in the summer by anything up to 10C as the recently discussed study has shown. A definite win-win for both the climate warriors and the reindeer herders.

  41. That ice rips open bodies of LAND at times. Large ice floes come in and utterly destroy entire beach heads.

    Those spinners wouldn’t last the FIRST summer

  42. Let’s presume for a moment that the increased amount of sunlight that falls into the arctic ocean rather than being reflected back to space is significant. I don’t think it is, given that it’s dark six months out of the year, and the ice melt doesn’t open up much of the arctic to sunlight until well into the summer season, and then it’s over and the ice comes back, and the sun falls low in the sky. But for the sake of argument, lets pretend it matters to the earth’s heat budget.

    Wouldn’t the better way to balance that heat budget be to increase cloud cover over the tropical oceans? That’s where the amount of sunlight energy being absorbed into the oceans is really huge, dwarfing anything that could possibly be coming in over the arctic. So the money would be better spent finding a way to increase cloud cover over the tropics, or decrease albedo in some fashion, using aerosols or some other gimmick. The cost would be much, much lower, and the result much more effective.

    I’m not exactly sure how to calculate the budget, but someone here probably does.

    • “given that it’s dark six months out of the year” Yes, and THAT is when temperatures there are going above average, not during summer. If there was any truth to the idea that less ice is allows more sunlight to heat the ocean in Arctic summer then we should see higher summer temperatures there then – but there is no evidence of that happening.

      • “difference in reflectivity of water and ice is not that great” I think it is more that the surface watts/m^2 at the poles is very weak both from the angle of incidence and from the greater distance the light traveled through air to get to the surface. Those and it is very foggy over open water in the Arctic in the summer.

  43. Of course we must Save the Arctic. Everyone knows that we must ban oil pipelines that destroy the pristine environment. Instead we will cover the Arctic with 100 million wind powered ice making machines. You know it makes sense!

  44. It would be cheaper to have Leonardo dI Caprio and Emma Thompson start wearing aluminum foil hats. This would create a new fashion trend, and increase earth albedo by 0.002 % at zero cost.

  45. This cannot be serious….
    Surely no one with knowledge of thermodynamics would suggest such a scheme.
    Have we forgotten that in a cooling system there is a condenser that releases heat and an evaporator that absorbs heat.
    This would be the equivalent of a pumping system circulating water in order to drain a sea.
    The condenser would have to be located in the tropics!

    • We are talking about climate scientists here. Not knowing thermodynamics is a requirement.
      Along with not knowing anything about statistics.

  46. Eric’s nuclear knowledge is, shall we say, limited. Current light water nuclear reactors produce between 1 and 1.5 GW of electricity, not 8GWs as stated. The cost is roughly $5 billion, but if hundreds or thousands are to be built, the cost goes down, both because
    the cost of building the actual plants goes down and the cost of siting and connecting goes down (which is why virtually every nuclear plant site contains at least two reactors, that share the connectivity, and lake water often (but not always) required for cooling.
    Now if you step ahead a few years, molten salt reactors will go into commercial use and eliminate the market for current reactor technology. Molten salt reactors do not need massive concrete foundations, etc and cost about 1/3rd that of light water reactors. Molten Energy claims they can build for under $2 per watt, or less than $2 billion per GW.
    That’s cheaper than clean coal power plants ($3.50 per watt).
    Built in factories and easily deployed and fueled by either nuclear wastes or low enriched uranium or Thorium. No need for close supervision – these plants are walk away safe and incapable of spewing radioactive debris to any extent. Can easily be mounted on coat platforms and towed to where needed (the Russians are already producing such floating power plants using light water reactor technology). Molten salt reactors would be far better.

  47. Perhaps the first thing would be to challenge these folks to prove why they think the Arctic
    is going to remain a “hotspot’ in a “global warming world.”

  48. It is always idle minds that come up with the very stupid, wind turbines ice up power stations need manpower, what is the point, just adapting to any changes that climate variability brings is the only sane way.
    Let’s make a pact to send all mad climate scientists to the moon, sorted.

  49. The greedy businessmen in the wind sector know that with Trump the writing is on the wall – so they’re desperate to find any reason to put up more bird/bat mincers.

    As for the lunatic academics – they have no idea why the Arctic cycles between melting and freezing so it stands to reason that they’re totally clueless what could be done even if you seriously wanted to interfere with the climate this way.

  50. On another front, in Boston some concerned types are proposing to spend billions and billions of dollars on a sea wall to protect the city against rising seas. Rising seas? The arctic scheme is sheer lunacy. But if Boston is worried, when will New Orleans and Miami get into the mix? How much is California willing to spend to save the state from climate change caused earthquakes? More importantly, how do you debate with people who have completely lost their minds?

  51. “At current rates of warming, by the 2030s the Arctic Ocean could see its entire ice cap disappear by late summer. With that ice gone, previously reflected sunlight will then be absorbed by the open ocean, speeding the rate of global warming.”
    Who writes this drivel? The Arctic Ocean doesn’t have an ice cap, the Arctic does. Hmmmm, and with all that Arctic sea ice melting, you would think the “rate of global warming” would be speeding up, but in the real world it has pretty much come to a halt, and may be reversing. Oops.

    • At current rates of warming summer ice will be gone in 2013 – Prof Peter Wadhams

      At current rates of warming arctic ice will be gone by September 2016

      At current rates of duff predictions yours is at least a way off

  52. Would someone care to either correct my analysis of the proposal or comment on the probable consequences of adding about 20 watts/meter^2 to the arctic atmosphere? At 334,000 joules/kg of water of latent heat to form ice and about 1,000 kg of water/meter^3, this is about 334 million joules/meter^2. With only 15.768 million seconds/.5 year, I see over 20 watts/meter^2 going into the atmosphere.

  53. Only 100 million units?

    The new big idea as featured in the Guardian is to utilise the woolly mammoth to avert global warming…

    There are plans to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction, as near as dammit. A team at Harvard is attempting to genetically engineer mammoth traits and combine them with those of Asian elephants to form a shaggy-haired, small-eared, cold-adapted hybrid playfully described as a “mammophant”.

    The scientists say this would not only preserve the Asian elephant in an altered form, but the mammoth could also help combat global warming by preventing tundra permafrost from melting, by punching through snow and allowing cold air to get in.

    If only we’d thought of that 5000 years ago, eh.

  54. As I recall many years ago there were predictions of a new Ice Age nearly upon us, even with magazine covers and television programs about it. We were assured this by “leading experts” and “scientific studies”. It seems to me one suggested course of action at that time was to promote the melting of the Artic Icecap by covering it with a dark substance, maybe soot or ashes, spread via airplane overflights. Of course this was just a rumor.

  55. Eric and all,
    1. Sorry for getting somewhat of track in this thread, except for the ‘stupidity’ label. But woke up on early Sunday morning turned on the ABC channel 20 and what do I see ? an interview by a Ozzie reporter in the ABC Sydney studio of none other but Mike Mann and two other alarmists indicating 100 % renewables should be the way to go. Unfortunately I didn’t see the entire interview. Oz taxpayers paying no doubt for his plane trip (first class?) to OZ?.
    I see there is also a 5 part interview of the Mann on you tube via alarmist and biased ABC.

    2. In addition we have a alarmist letter writer in the Australian newspaper a couple of days ago pointing to Portugal having run 100% renewables for straight 4 days. So how accurate is that comment coming apparently from the Gaurdian? Apart from it representing only 1% of the the time over one year.

    WUWT should investigate and/or cover these two items.

    • So what? Norway does it all the time. And so can any country with enough hydropower. The only form of renewable that actually works.

      Provided, of course, you don’t need anything that won’t run on electricity, like ships or aircraft.

  56. The positive albedo feedback from reduced Arctic sea is is muted by increased cloud cover and a higher ocean albedo at the lower solar angles of incidence at high latitudes. Furthermore the ice cover is an insulator, the open oceans are able to vent more heat well into the Arctic fall and winter night. Less ice and more open ocean in the Arctic may well be a net negative feedback, if more heat is released overall than is absorbed by the ocean in summer. My following paste may be repetitive but it has links to references.

    things apparently might be more complex at Arctic latitudes with a lower angle of incidence of solar radiation reducing the net positive albedo feedback because the albedo of open ocean is higher at low angles of incidence at high latitudes, so the decrease in albedo from the ice will be less:

    In addition there are complex cloud interactions with the sea ice resulting in increased spring cloud cover: “This leads to the counter-intuitive effect: for years with little sea ice in September, the downwelling short-wave radiation at the surface is smaller than usual.”

    Open ocean persists into the long Arctic night venting its heat and raciating it into space. See figures 2a and 2b, detailing the short and longwave radiative fluxes. When the open ocean in October and November is factored in, the net feedback from the Arctic ice cap melting may be close to neutral or even negative.

  57. More clowns at work. Seawater is incredibly corrosive! Arctic ice comes and goes! Free-floating wind turbines would not even turn, the wind would just push them out of the Arctic!

    Appreciate this article for the fine comedy, but for no other reason…

  58. Maybe this would be a good scifi flick – a gritty tech outpost suddening plunged into crisis by inexplicable ice movements caused by solar storms. Secondary hazards would be little girs with arcane devices backed by thinking malevolent bears… the cast would be quirky and attractive.

  59. Better yet, we could make the ice with power from the hydroelectric stations that put warmed water out onto the ocean. Not as elegant as digging a hole and filling it up, but close.

  60. Per the articles below, ice coverage starts by Milankovitch and precession cycles and is only ended when CO2 levels drop enough to cause plant die off/desertification with blowing dust covering the ice and causing warming/melting. This implies that extreme cold with mile thick glaciers in the northern hemisphere is the norm that is only broken by a lucky accident of nature. This would mean that some minor CO2 and other artificial WARMING may be needed to keep the earth from entering the next long term ice age.

  61. So, exactly what ecological effects will occur if environmental “experts” cover the arctic ice with salt water ice?

    How will arctic wildlife be affected if the ice surface becomes salty?

    If they claim ‘no effect’, then it needs to be proven through experimentation, not “models”, which can be tweaked to produce any output desired.

  62. Blow the wind Northerly……

    Blow the wind Northerly, Northerly, Northerly,
    Blow the wind North o’er the Arctic ice sea;
    Blow the wind Northerly, Northerly, Northerly,
    Blow and bloody freeze the warm Arctic sea.

    They told me there might be 10 million blowers in t’offing,
    Anthropogenic Global Warming you see;
    But my eye could not see it, whatever might be it,
    That’s another $500 billion between you and me.

    Blow the wind Northerly etc

    Oh, is it not sweet to hear settled science singing,
    As lightly it comes o’er the peeps trolling creed?
    But sweeter and dearer by far when ’tis bringing,
    Bankruptcy & indebtedness but no carbon energy for thee or me…
    Blow the wind Northerly etc

    With apols to Kathleen Ferrier

  63. “millions upon millions of autonomous ice machines.

    Specifically, between 10 and 100 million floating, wind-powered pumps designed to spray water over sea ice during the winter.”

    Sometimes it is quite difficult to remain reasonably polite when reading the dreams these fairies have.
    Eco-stupid? Incredibly eco-stupid? Eco-brainless gits!?

    All with public school diplomas and sanctuary university dream rooms?

    Millions upon millions?
    Wind machines? Machines conflating wind turbines, salt water pumps and water spray machines?

    Where do these snowflakes plan to find:
    A) Sufficient carbon composites for turbine blades?
    B) Sufficient salt water resistant alloys?
    C) Sufficient quantities of copper, brass and bronze alloys for valves, gates and controls. All alloys are lead free?
    D) Sufficient quantities of laborers needed to maintain all systems.
    • a) I don’t know who to pity more; the workers up on the turbine body or the workers chopping ice to work on the water intakes?
    E) Immense quantities of ice off wash to keep blades from becoming off balance with ice?

    The whole Arctic fanspray lollipop ocean dream is missing quite a few details:
    A) How do they plan to keep the waterworks from freezing solid?
    B) When the wind levels are low, or too high; what will power the pumps and sprayers?
    • a) As soon as power stops, anything kept warm, like humans, will be quickly freeze at Arctic wind chills.
    B) Since the Arctic is an ocean:
    • a) If they plan to float the dribbling wind machines, how will they protect the devices from toppling over?
    • b) How do they plan to protect the dribbling windy machines from getting crushed in ice?
    • c) If they plan to build on ice packs and ice bergs, how will they prevent ice berg rollovers, or ice pack splitting underneath the machines?

    I keep getting this mental image of a wind turbine spraying an ice skyscraper, because it can’t really change where the spray is aimed.

    I also wonder who will train the polar bears to live near these things?

    Once the sprayer plugs all of the seal air holes and the seals either suffocate or move to the Antarctic; what will the polar bears eat?
    Add to the job requirements; ability to run very fast and climb smooth towers.

  64. A good question would be why we should keep the sea ice in the arctic, or why we should keep it at at some specific extension.
    Regarding global warming it could be counterproductive. With more open water you would have more hot surface radiating heat to the space. Ice cover would somehow isolate the warmer water from releasing heat to the space. The open water would also give more moist in the air to fall as snow in Greenland and the Arctic in general.
    For some time ago scientists believed there were too much ice in the arctic and proposed to use nukes and soot to deminish it. I have not very much trust in those peoble that always believe they have the right answer to their self invented eminent catastrophs. It seems that if you wait twenty or fourty years it is the opposite you have to combat.

  65. Any student who has taken a class in thermodynamics will tell you that every ice machine produces more heat than cold.

  66. I find it hard to believe that anyone would take this proposal seriously. What kind of a bizarre reality are these people living in?

  67. ‘Steady state’ floating ice thickness is determined by cooling from above and water temperature below. Artificially added thickness would reduce heat flow resulting in increased melting below. End result, the ice thickness would change little and none permanently. Given that they would be spraying salt water, the ice might actually end up thinner.

  68. 1. To make ice, you need to remove energy that’s heat. Where will they put it? Convert to electricity?
    2. They’ll need vast amounts of electrical energy to power these ‘pumps’.
    Put 1 & 2 together and you have your magical perpetual energy machine (not) – that’s totally useless!

  69. I thought briefly about the thermodynamics of this suggestion. And coffee came out of my nose.

    Is it April 1st already?

  70. Why on earth should we care if sea ice decreases? Much less spend trillions to prevent a small drop in sea ice leves?

  71. Stupidity annoys me and there is plenty of it here to go around. The basic problem is that practically everyone speaking about the Arctic is ignorant about it. There is scientific literature that can explain it but no one seems to be interested in it. What they have heard is that the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the globe and they think they know just what to do about that: freeze it up. It is quite true that Arctic warming is twice as fast as the climate models predict and faster than what the Antarctic is doing. But this remains a puzzle to all the participants here. How did it get that way and what is the cause is what should be asked. If you then go to the literature with these questions in mind your chances of learning something useful about the Arctic will improve. These are questions of science of course and perhaps it is too much to ask this group to come up with them. First, let’s find out how it all started. Kaufman et al. studied the sediments in small circum-Arctic lakes and found that almost nothing had happened there for the last two millennia except for slow, linear cooling. At the turn of the twentieth century, however, things changed and a strong warming of unknown origin started. The warming seemed temporary, however, because it petered out in mid-century and an equally strong cooling took its place. Fortunately, it did not last, however, and by 1970 warming was back and is still active today. The source of the warming was still mysterious until it was realized that it had to be the Gulf Stream. Gulf Stream originates in the Gulf of Mexico as its name says. It then turns north, passes through Florida Straits and flows north parallel to the e4ast coast. Before it gets to Maine it turns east, enters the North Sea as Ben Franklin knew, and warms the climate in Europe. To account for the Arctic warming it is necessary to assume that circulatory changes in the North Atlantic Ocean caused the current system to change such that more of the warm Gulf Stream water was directed into the Arctic ocean. It had to happen during the abrupt temperature change at the turn of the twentieth century. The most likely explanation, I decided, was a change in the North Atlantic current system that redirected the warm Gulf Stream water into the Arctic Ocean where it began to cause the warming we know of now. Fortunately, just about that time Spielhagen et al. decided to take an Arctic cruise. They measured the water temperature directly and determined that the warm Atlantic water entering the Arctic Ocean was warmer than it ever had been in recorded history. This pretty much ties down the origin of warming to a rearrangement of the North Atlantic current system, not to anything related to carbon dioxide greenhouse effect. But so strong is the propaganda that people simply believe that carbon dioxide must be involved. This includes Kaufman himself who discovered the long millennial pause in Arctic warming history. At the present time, the Arctic is warming but the Antarctic is not. The answer to the question: “When will the North and South Pole warming become equal?” is very simple: anytime you can direct the Gulf Stream away from the North Atlantic. Not a very likely occurrence. To learn more, get hold of the journal “Energy and Environment” and read my article in volume 22, issue 8, pages 1069 to 1083 (2011).

    • How does your hypothesis account for the data showing that nearly all the warming in the Arctic is not at the peak melting season, but in the winter when temperatures seldom get above freezing. Check out the temperature record even for recent “record” years. CO2 seems the better explanation for warming when there is little else going on. I’m not sure why CO2 or black carbon don’t have much effect in the summer.

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