Snow cannons: the plan to stop the rise in sea level

Snow cannons: the plan to stop the rise in sea level


Looking for solutions to stop the catastrophic rise in sea level due to the melting in Antarctica, scientists from Germany provide a new alternative that involves generating billions of tons of snow artificially.

In a recent article published in the journal Science Advances, researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research modeled the possible solution: using snow-producing canyons to shoot water from the ocean over the Antarctic ice sheet to return to freeze.

However, the necessary amount of snow to achieve the objectives would be at least 7.4 trillion tons, the equivalent of 150,000 Jumbo Jets. In addition, the operation would involve hundreds of cannons powered by 12,000 wind turbines to spray seawater over an area the size of Costa Rica.

The project would need unprecedented engineering feats and could represent a significant environmental hazard for one of the last pristine areas of the planet. For his part, Anders Levermann, lead author of the study, admits that if the project is carried out, it would have “terrible effects” in the Antarctic, but insists that stopping the global increase in sea level is a “desirable compensation.”

Levermann also points out that the plan is only a hypothesis and that to have any chance of success, it should be accompanied by radical cuts in gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

The giant icecap at the south pole has enough freezing water to raise the sea level by six meters, while an increase of only three meters would threaten coastal cities around the world such as London, New York, Tokyo, and Shanghai.