Piling billions of tons of human-made Snow on top of the West Antarctic ice sheet could prevent it from melting and thus collapsing into the sea, a new examine suggests. Such a “Hail-Mary” attempt could then stop an eventual global sea-level increase of 10 feet, which would overpower coastal cities around the world, according to the study authors.
Johannes Feldmann, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said that Snow can indeed push the ice sheet back toward a stable regime and stop the instability (of the ice sheet). In practice, he said it could be done by pumping seawater out of the ocean and “snowing it” onto the ice sheet at a rate of several hundred billion tons per year over a few decades.
West Antarctica is “ground zero” for global sea-level rise, according to Gizmodo. The eventual collapse of the region’s ice sheets might happen even if the world meets the Paris Agreement goals of putting the brakes on temperature rises, and if that happens, it would completely reshape the shorelines of the world.
So would the snow-making plan be worth it? Examine co-author Anders Levermann, also of the Potsdam Institute, told Reuters that “we are already at a point of no return if we don’t do anything. We can bring it back to the steady point by a small interference now – or by larger and larger interference later,” he stated.
The amount of Snow needed to stabilize the glaciers is staggering: At least 7.4 trillion tons of Snow, which is equal in a mass of about 500 billion large tractor-trailers.
An expert on Antarctic ice, who was not involved in the research, was sceptical of the proposal.