Is it possible that human can built under the poles a controlled system to create again artificial icebergs? In order keep tight the melting ice and reduce the sea level? Can this system impact the quality of life and climate?

  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "under the poles"? The North pole has about 3 meters of ice, and water under that where I guess you could go "under". The South Pole has rock under the ice. How would you go about creating "icebergs" under the northern ice cap? Ice is formed at the surface for a reason. Latent heat is released during the process, and it would need to release the salt somehow. It's good to think of different ideas to keep quality of life, but this one would need a whole lot of other engineering problems solved before it could be even considered. $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2019 at 1:59
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Any sort of artificial refrigeration system would create more heat. Refrigerators just move heat around: that's why they have fans and cooling fins. (Usually on the back, or underneath.) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jan 1, 2019 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ one good thing with your question is you understand the need for action against the heating of our planet,the easiest way to do this is to stop burning oil and coal. $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2019 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ Only by releasing a lot of heat into the environment, which just makes the problem worse. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jan 2, 2019 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ Creating ice in the ocean won't reduce sea level. You need to create ice on land to reduce sea level and the volume required to have an effect would be gigantic. There are, however, some proposals to keep land ice (usually called glaciers) from melting. I've never heard of a proposal to create more ice and it's probably not feasible. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Jan 2, 2019 at 7:34

1 Answer 1


It depends on which pole. The south pole is in the middle of Antarctica, with mean temperatures of -57°C, liquid water doesn't exist there and the air is extremely dry. Therefore, I would say that it is not possible to create more ice due to the lack of liquid water. And if there were any liquid water it would freeze naturally. This will make sense if we have a look at the antarctic geography. This map will help

enter image description here

[image from geology.com]

One possible action following your line of thought, would be to bring liquid water to the south pole from the coast and let it freeze there. However, the more than 500 km that separates the South pole to the nearest ocean shore (that is actually under hundreds of meters of ice) or 1,300 km to open water, makes this idea very impractical. A similar approach but more efficient would be to pump water from the coast to a nearby antarctic basin, and that would indeed help reducing sea level. This idea have been proposed by scientists. However, to make this effect significant you would need to pump incredible amounts of water, something that makes this geoengineering idea very costly and not very appealing.

Other scientist have proposed that dumping piles of rock in the ocean floor at specific points could be the most cost-effective way to slowdown sea level rise. The idea is to redirect warm ocean currents away from glaciers, something that could significantly reduce the rate at which they are melting down. This approach would have a much lower (but still very high) cost.

This paper explain this idea and the following figure summarizes it:

enter image description here

The North pole in contrast is just in the middle of the Arctic ocean. You could indeed take ocean water there and turn it into icebergs. However, as others have said in the comments, using any kind of cooling system would produce a lot of heat so it would not be a good idea. But you can just enhance the heat transfer with the atmosphere as ski resorts do to make artificial snow. Their approach is to wait for a cold day and spray water into the air. If it is cold enough, the water droplets will turn into ice before falling back to the ground.

However, even if you succeed in making icebergs, that would not make any change in sea level, because they are floating. It would be equivalent of melting of ice cubes in a glass, something that doesn't change the level of the liquid in the glass. Here a graphical example of that

enter image description here

Nevertheless, your feat of engineering would have a positive effect in slowing global warming by covering the ocean with a layer of highly reflective ice. That ice would reflect back to space a lot of sunlight that would have been absorbed by the ocean otherwise. However, when you freeze sea water, most of the salt is expelled, so you would also put a lot of salt into the water, that would make sea water more dense and it would sink. That could have a undesired effect on ocean circulation, so you have to be very careful in studying the side effects of such approach.

Similar to the antarctic approach. You might get better results if you pump water from the Arctic ocean and let it freeze on top of a desolate arctic island. However, it still doesn't seem to be the most cost effective approach.

Said that, there is a long list of geoengineering ideas to battle against climate change and sea level rise. However, the most cost-effective way to slowdown sea level rise, is to reduce the rate at which we are consuming stuff. So just buy less and reduce/repair more. Also very important is reducing the use of fossil fuels (something that would also be a side effect of consuming less). Having less children or adopting instead of having your own is also a way to make big contributions to slow down sea level rise.

  • $\begingroup$ It is sure a great explanation +1. About adoption I don't have contact with power but I heard chemistry Nobel Mario Molina on my city and he said there is an agreement not to let grow population a lot more. it is gonna be restricted. we should react and try new energies indeed $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    Jan 2, 2019 at 22:53

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.