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Physics Colloquium - Andrew Pauling

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Physics Department

Andrew Pauling

Department of Atmospheric Sciences

University of Washington

"Arctic sea ice geoengineering: Can we save the ice?"

Arctic sea ice thickness and volume have declined rapidly in recent decades, and this decline is projected to continue into the future. A recently proposed method to mitigate this decline is to install wind-powered pumps in the Arctic ocean that would flood the sea ice surface with seawater, which could then freeze and thicken the sea ice. Such a proposal to deliberately alter the climate system through human intervention is known as a ``geoengineering" scheme. We use a hierarchy of models to show that this proposed geoengineering scheme may be effective if deployed at the right time of year. The flooding must begin in September each year, early in the sea ice growth season, and should not continue into the summer, when it increases sea ice loss. We also show that there is limited additional thickening of Arctic sea ice to be gained by increasing the amount of flooding, since the amount of ice to be gained is limited by the snow layer depth. This scheme would need to be deployed as soon as possible, while there is still enough sea ice in the Arctic ocean over which to flood, and is best used in combination with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

WHEN: Thursday 19 September 2019
WHERE: Room 314, Science 3 Building
TIME: 4.00 pm–5.00 pm

All interested are welcome to attend

Light refreshments to follow in Common Room