Thursday, November 17, 2011

Geoengineering: A different approach to summer cooling - artificial glaciers (WIRED)

Artificial Urban Glacier to Cool Mongolian Capital

By Olivia Solon, Wired UK
Mongolia’s capital city, Ulan Bator, is planning to keep itself cool during the hot summer months by shunning air conditioning in favor of creating an enormous artificial urban glacier.
In a somewhat bonkers plan — first reported in the Guardian — the city of Ulan Bator will attempt to capture some of the cool winter temperatures in huge ice blocks that will slowly melt over the summer and cool down the city. The aim is to build artificial ice shields — or “naleds” — that occur naturally in far northern climates and can grow to be more than seven meters thick. They grow when river water pushes through cracks in the surface of the ice during the day and then freezes to add an extra layer of ice when night falls.
Engineering consortium EMI-ECOS will try to replicate this process by creating holes in the ice that is forming over the Tuul river. This will be repeated over and over again until the ice is much thicker than it would be if left alone.

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