Preventing a Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Civil Engineering on a Continental Scale (Abstract only)

D. R. MacAyeal
1983 Annals of Glaciology  
A collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet due to warming by atmospheric carbon dioxide is a potential threat to mankind because low-lying land would be flooded by rising sea-level. Intervention would be possible by creating one or several artifical ice rises on the floating ice shelves surrounding the West Antarctic ice sheet. Ice rises are places where the ice shelf has run aground locally on the sea bed. Existing ice rises obstruct ice flow and are responsible for maintaining the ice sheet
more » ... its present stable condition. An artificial ice rise could be created by (1) drilling a hole through the ice shelf in a choice position such as over a sea-bed ridge, (2) pumping large volumes of sea-water from beneath the ice shelf so as to flood the surface, and (3) continuing to pump until the frozen sea-water has thickened the ice shelf by 100 m over an area of 100 km2. Approximately 1.6 × 106 kW of power would be required to accomplish the task in ten years. This would cost approximately 20 × 109 US dollars.
doi:10.3189/s0260305500005747 fatcat:4g7jvkwofvc7xh7dflad44anym