The Solution to the Polar Icecap Melting
Scientists are reporting that the polar icecaps are melting. They are somewhat surprised just how fast the melt is progressing. Chunks of the icecap as large as Rhode Island are breaking off and falling into the sea, becoming huge icebergs, clogging sea-lanes and immediately raising the overall sea level.
The mechanism at work here starts with the overall global warming. When the average temperatures began to rise in the Polar Regions, melting began to increase during the polar seasons. Melting that doesn’t evaporate is water. Water goes to the lowest level it can reach, and it seems that melting pockets of water have reached the land below the cap and are lubricating its march to the sea. Picture this: Take an ice cube and push it along any smooth frozen surface and it will move. Now, wet the surface and watch how the cube skates at high speed across the very same surface. This is a major cause of the quickening of this ice falling off the land and into the sea. It is no longer cold enough to keep this below a certain temperature, a tipping point.
Above all, is sunlight. The more sunlight that reaches the region and stays, the warmer the region grows. So when ice melts and either reveals water or land underneath, the sunlight stops being reflected by white ice and is absorbed (as heat) by the underlying darker colors. Which in turn melts more ice, reflecting less sunlight back out, absorbing more heat and so on and on.
As mentioned above, the rate of this melting is increasing beyond prior scientific expectations. This makes this problem more imminent in its effects on our lives. Even so, there is little on the table in the way of solutions. It would seem that we have run out of answers in the face of what appears to be a global disaster. Yes, I realize that we must cut our carbon footprint etc. in order to stop the overall process, but I have not seen anyone yet say that will work quickly or even in time! Frankly, we seem to have run out of time.
Well, maybe not. If technology got us into this, I see no reason why it can’t get us out.
Consider the polar ice cap problem: As stated above, we know that one large accelerating factor is the amount of sunlight reaching the regions. The more the icecap melts, the less white ice reflecting back the suns rays, the more temperature rises in the region. So why not just block the sunlight?
This is actually pretty easy to do. Imagine the Earth orbiting in space, above and surrounding the Earth are what are called geosynchronous satellites, that is they stay in the same position above the Earth, above the same spot of geography. My solution is to place large (really large) sheets of coated mylar in a pattern above the icecaps which shuts out some percentage of the sun, not all of it, just some, like a screen door only lets some of the air in.
Mylar is made in a way that huge sheets are easy to create, and fold into small spaces until you choose to open them, much like a painter’s plastic drop cloth. Send several hundred of them up with the shuttle, let the astronauts open them up at each chosen position above the icecaps and let them block the sun, causing the Earth below to get much colder, refreezing the icecaps!
Obviously this takes a bit more thought than I have given it, but not so much as to make the basic concept undoable. Actually, this may get me my first Nobel Prize!