Could Water Pumps “Refreeze” The Arctic?

guest post by Ian Craft

Whether you keep abreast of global issues or not, chances are you will be aware of global warming and the threat that it poses to our planet.  Polar ice caps are rapidly melting due to steadily increasing global temperatures, and if it doesn’t stop soon then we could be looking at nothing short of a global catastrophe.

So how do we combat this problem before it’s too late? The most effective solution is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but that of course is easier said than done. So as this is not happening, scientists are working hard thinking of alternative ways to try and reverse the situation.

A ground breaking technique

One study recently carried out by a team of researchers from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and led by Professor Steven J Desch, have considered a possible solution that would replace the lost ice by ‘refreezing’ the arctic.  Their proposal sounds ambitious to say the least.

The team estimate that 10 million wind-powered pumps could add an extra metre of sea ice onto the arctic region’s current layer, which would help protect it from the globe’s rapidly increasing temperatures.

The area of the Arctic Ocean is about 107 km2, so if the wind-powered pumps are to be distributed across 10 percent of that area, this would necessitate about 10 million wind-powered pumps; if distributed across the entire Arctic, about 100 million would be needed.

They add that to build a fleet of 10 million pumps, it would require roughly 10 million tons of steel per year. If you wanted to deploy pumps over the entire Arctic, you’d need 100 million tons of steel per year.

Desch believes that this groundbreaking technique could potentially add as much as an extra metre of sea ice to the current deposits. Although that might not sound like a lot for the effort required to input ten million pumps, given the current thickness rarely exceeds two or three metres, this change would have a measurable impact.

The refreezing proposal is just pure theory at this time. Desch and his team are trying to build a prototype and test it this year.

This form of ‘geoengineering’ the Arctic in response to human-caused warming isn’t the first time it’s happened. Researchers have previously suggested artificially whitening the Arctic by dispersing bring aerosol particles over the ice to help reflect solar radiation back into space, or creating artificial clouds above the region that would prevent the heat from getting to the surface in the first place. Sadly, none of these proposals have turned into a reality because of the huge costs associated with each.

(To find out more about how this process would work, click here)

Ian Craft is our guest blogger from He loves to write about all things concerning the environment. When he's not writing he likes to spend time with his wife, two kids and his dog, Patch.