Scientists think constructing a miles-long wall along an ice shelf in Antarctica could help protect the world's largest glacier from melting.
- Rising ocean levels are a serious threat to coastal regions around the globe.
- Scientists have proposed large-scale geoengineering projects that would prevent ice shelves from melting.
- The most successful solution proposed would be a miles-long, incredibly tall underwater wall at the edge of the ice shelves.
An "unthinkable" engineering project<p>"If [glacial geoengineering] works there then we would expect it to work on less challenging glaciers as well," the authors wrote in the study.<br></p><p> One approach involves using sand or gravel to build artificial mounds on the seafloor that would help support the glacier and hopefully allow it to regrow. In another strategy, an underwater wall would be built to prevent warm waters from eating away at the glacier's base.<span></span></p><p>The most effective design, according to the team's computer simulations, would be a miles-long and very tall wall, or "artificial sill," that serves as a "continuous barrier" across the length of the glacier, providing it both physical support and protection from warm waters. Although the study authors suggested this option is currently beyond any engineering feat humans have attempted, it was shown to be the most effective solution in preventing the glacier from collapsing.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODY0ODU3Ny9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1Mzk2MjQ0MX0.APMJW1NAExGY24zR7fRUWYr--qSkCIbhR5U9q5JFUAk/img.png?width=980" id="6957f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="be284ec12c471fd8a2a182a2e3075af8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
An example of the proposed geoengineering project. By blocking off the warm water that would otherwise eat away at the glacier's base, further sea level rise might be preventable.
Source: Wolovick et al.