Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Slowing the Big Melt 2

PostedJanuary 31, 2016

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Anchor Lede: There is broad scientific agreement that the best approach to prevent global warming, melting glaciers, and rising sea levels is to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Randy Atkins: But that may take more time than we have, says Slawek Tulaczk, a University of California expert on glaciers. So he says we should brainstorm ways to stop melting at the source. 

Slawek Tulaczyk: I think we’re at a level of understanding of how ice moves and how it interacts with the ocean that potentially will allow us to think about practical solutions.

Randy Atkins: Tulaczyk says we could engineer countermeasures that slow flowing streams of ice in glaciers and erect barriers to warm currents of ocean water.

Slawek Tulaczyk: Maybe just floating structures in the mid-water that would be not necessarily stopping the flow, but impeding it, slowing it down so that the rate of heat transfer towards the ice sheet is slower.

Randy Atkins: Tulaczyk says by implementing such solutions in polar regions, we might diminish impacts closer to home. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.