Pumping meltwater back on Antarctica would need 850,000 wind turbines

Posted: March 13, 2016 by oldbrew in alarmism, Ocean dynamics, propaganda
Tags: ,

Antarctica [credit: Wikipedia]

Antarctica [credit: Wikipedia]

Indulging in climate fantasy can lead to some strange ideas, like this one. The idea of articles like this is presumably to infect the minds of the gullible with thoughts of impending crisis, where none should exist.

With sea levels rising and Antarctica’s temperatures well below freezing, some people [i.e. the authors?] have raised the question: What would happen if we took water out of the oceans and pumped it onto the icy continent to freeze?

A group of scientists put that question to the test in a new study that explores the physical possibility and economic feasibility of geoengineering climate solutions in the future.

The results offer a warning about the costs that today’s greenhouse gas emissions may be creating for future generations. The Antarctic ice sheet is constantly flowing toward the ocean, so the scientists used an ice dynamics simulation to calculate how far inland the water would have to be sent to prevent it from re-entering the ocean for 1,000 years. The result: about 700 kilometers, and it would have to be on East Antarctica—the West Antarctic Ice Sheet would be too unstable.

What would it take to actually do that? Pumping enough water to prevent 3 mm of sea level rise per year—close to the current rate—would require 90 of the largest pump stations currently under construction in New Orleans, each pumping about 360 cubic meters of water per second, the authors write. The energy required just to pump that much ocean water 700 km inland would exceed 7 percent of the current global primary energy supply, the scientists found. It would take an estimated 850,000 wind turbines of 1.5 MW running on full capacity to meet that need.

There also many questions about the impact this kind of geoengineering project would have on the continent. The water would be saltwater, and it would have to be turned to snow before being returned to the surface to avoid increasing surface melting. The effects of such a “salt-ice” layer within an ice sheet are currently unknown, as are the effects of the heat from pumping all that water, the authors write. The measures would certainly put the ecosystems of Antarctica and of the surrounding ocean at risk, the authors write.

“The magnitude of sea-level rise is so enormous, it turns out it is unlikely that any engineering approach imaginable can mitigate it,” said co-author Anders Levermann, a scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, which led the study. “Even if this was feasible, it would only buy time—when we stop the pumping one day, additional discharge from Antarctica will increase the rate of sea-level rise even beyond the warming-induced rate. This would mean putting another sea-level debt onto future generations,” Levermann said.

A separate study released last month explored the likely effects of climate change looking out 10,000 years and highlighted the challenges ahead. Even if emissions are stopped today, sea level will continue to slowly rise an estimated 2 meters for every 1°C that global temperatures warm over pre-industrial times. If governments follow through on their current promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, much of Bangladesh and several megacities—including Shanghai and New York—would still be at least partially submerged over time.

The other authors of the new study, appearing in the EGU journal Earth System Dynamics, were lead author Katja Frieler and Matthias Mengel of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Phys.org report: Pump meltwater back on Antarctica? Do you have 850,000 wind turbines?

Of course the Potsdam Institute is well-known for promoting climate alarm.
Greenhouse gas theories are presumed to be 100% correct, even when real-world evidence strongly suggests otherwise.

  1. oldbrew says:

    ‘The magnitude of sea-level rise is so enormous’

    Anyone know where this can be observed?

  2. catweazle666 says:

    Well, I’ve heard some crackpot theories in my time, but really…

    Honestly, I wouldn’t know where to start!

  3. oldbrew says:

    If it’s just an attempt to grab a headline, it worked. But it’s probably part of another agenda: to get people so used to barmy climate ideas, they eventually fail to notice that’s exactly what they are.

  4. Mjw says:

    Whatever happened to the environmental guidelines when Greenies want to pollute the Antarctic with salt?

  5. erl happ says:

    Too much public money going to people to indulge their fantasies.

  6. […] Source: Pumping meltwater back on Antarctica would need 850,000 wind turbines | Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  7. 850,000 wind turbines operating at full capacity.
    i.e. more than 5 million required.

    Typical effluent from Potsdams Illusion Klapsmühle; damaging science since 1992

  8. FTOP says:

    Or we could stop altering the data — problem solved.

  9. oldbrew says:

    Try multiplying these figures by 850,000:

    ‘A 1.5 MW wind turbine of a type frequently seen in the United States has a tower 80 meters (260 ft) high. The rotor assembly (blades and hub) weighs 22,000 kilograms (48,000 lb). The nacelle, which contains the generator component, weighs 52,000 kilograms (115,000 lb). The concrete base for the tower is constructed using 26,000 kilograms (58,000 lb) of reinforcing steel and contains 190 cubic meters (250 cu yd) of concrete.’

    Then imagine where all that would be sited and how it would be connected to an electricity system functioning in the Antarctic.

  10. michael hart says:

    “I’m just going outside to de-ice the windmill, and may be some time.”

  11. AlecM says:

    This certainly is the Age of Effing Stupid.

  12. jim says:

    I believe it’s been noted before, just because your educated, does not mean you are smart. More and it appears as such.

  13. p.g.sharrow says:

    Those that can, will learn. Those that can not, must be taught.
    Unfortunately that leads to people that have been educated beyond their intelligence…pg

  14. oldmanK says:

    Pumping is a problem, but taking the heat out of that water to freeze it (to change its phase) might be a bigger one.


  15. oldbrew says:

    The whole barmy idea has been kicked into the long grass it seems.

    ‘Sea level rise is likely to be a problem too big to handle. Geoengineers will not be able to magic away the rising tides, according to new research.

    In particular, they will not be able to pump water from the sea and store it as ice on the continent of Antarctica. That is because, unless they pump it enormous distances, that will only accelerate the flow of the glaciers and it will all end up back in the sea again, a study in the journal Earth System Dynamics says.’ [bold added]