California-based non-profit organization Arctic Ice Project has proposed to slow down the melting of glaciers in the Arctic with reflective glass, writes the BBC.
Mark Serrez, a climate scientist who runs the National Center for the United States at the University of Colorado at Boulder, wonders if the solution will work as intended.
The proposal also raises financial questions, such as who will pay the roughly $ 1–5 billion annual bill to manufacture, deliver, test, and distribute the required silica beads in the Fram Strait?
This figure may sound overwhelming, but it is small compared to the roughly $ 460 billion that the United States lost to extreme weather and climate disasters between 2017 and 2019 alone.
What if you could put reflective material on top of young ice to protect it during the summer months? If it had this extra protection, would it be able to turn into durable multi-year ice and start a local ice pre-renewal process?
For this, it is suggested to use silicon dioxide, which is naturally found in most sand and is often used to make glass. In this way, the substance can be turned into tiny, brightly reflecting balls, every 65 micrometers in diameter, thinner than a human hair. The beads will be hollow on the inside, so they will float in the water and continue to reflect sunlight.
The authors point out that geoengineering is in no way a substitute for reducing carbon emissions. Rather, it buys the time that global economies need to decarbonize and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.