A group of scientists from Arizona State University led by astrophysicist Steve Desch has published an article in the journal Sea Ice Management in which they propose a possible solution to the problem of reducing ice cover in the Arctic.
According to the article, the low sea ice extent in the Arctic may have strong consequences for Earth's ecosystems in a very short period of time, and therefore it may be necessary to artificially increase sea ice thickness in the Arctic.
The scientists point out that the water on the surface of the Arctic Ocean freezes more rapidly because of its closeness to the air above it. This forms a sheet of ice on the surface, which later thickens because new ice forms on its bottom.
To enhance the ice thickening process, the authors of the study propose using wind power to pump water to the surface from the depths so it can freeze more quickly. One metre of ice can be added to sea ice thickness each year this way. The scientists determined that if these wind turbines were to be placed in well-chosen locations across 10% of the Arctic, it may be enough to counter the downward trend in sea ice extent.
However, the costs of the turbines may be significant: for 10% of the Arctic to be covered, around $50 billion would be needed each year to run the program.