this is my first time posting in Earth Science, please be gentle to me.

I am Science Enthusiast, though numbers are my enemies for now so I can't come up with formulas or any form of calculations. However, I do understand some of the facts and some laws became my common sense, that leads to this question.

With our current technology, I believe we have the power to make devices that sends water into glaciers or ice. In my opinion, those water will become ice, rebuilding cracks of glaciers (if any?), and reducing sea level at the same time.

My question is, is this a good idea? will it helps global warming/climate change? or will it worsen the situation?

I also thought of creating artificial rain via artificial clouds but I don't think it is a good idea.


I don't know much of this stuff, but I'm kinda desperate since Australia (and other countries) might be uninhabitable completely within this century.

  • $\begingroup$ One of the issues with using salty water is that salt melts ice. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Jun 18 at 5:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Fred That's a good point you have there, maybe we can tweak this devices to filter salt water. $\endgroup$
    – Shiz
    Jun 18 at 5:16
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    $\begingroup$ So, you're pumping relatively warm (4°C and above) water into already melting glaciers, thus heating them up even more. Plus, you have to install and power all the machinery, thus releasing even more GHG into the atmosphere... I don't know... seems not that great idea to me. And don't forget you'd need to pump a lot of water. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Jun 18 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Erik we will use the same water in the north/south pole. The highest temperature in south pole as of today is -56 °F, which is far from melting point. About the machinery, installing it onsite directly is a bad idea, yes. I'm thinking of remote vacuum or dropping water from above, any excess heat in the atmosphere will generate clouds. But overall it's all rough ideas, I'm still planning on it, just wanted to consult to you guys first before anything else. Thank you for your comment $\endgroup$
    – Shiz
    Jun 18 at 8:22

The problem faced by so many geo-engineering approaches is that the scale of the problem is so great. We are losing approximately 300 cubic kilometers of ice just in the Artic each year (trends in Artic ice volume).

300 cubic kilometres of ice is 3 x 10$^{11}$ metric tons of water. Lets imagine a series of pumps that are placed at the North pole and raise sea water from under the ice. We will raise the water 10 metres to spread it over the ice. It takes 100 Mega Joules to raise a metric ton of water that height. So we need 3 x 10$^{13}$ Mega Joules of energy to raise enough water to compensate for global warming induced ice loss.

Allowing for pump efficiencies etc. we would need about 1.5 x 10$^{13}$ Kilowatt Hours of electricity. This is 1.5 x 10$^{10}$ Megawatt Hours. Current global annual electricity generation is about 2 x 10$^{10}$ Megawatt Hours! So we would need to more or less double our current global energy production to address just a part of the problem, and this ignores both the engineering practicalities and the issues of whether pumped sea water would actually freeze and 'restore' the polar ice.

And of course adding to sea ice wouldn't affect sea level rise - so actually pumping would have to be to much greater heights and use much more energy to build ice caps on land.

  • $\begingroup$ This is just an example, but if we have unlimited supply of electricity, is this possible? $\endgroup$
    – Shiz
    Jun 22 at 5:06

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