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Climate change is causing drought conditions in the United States. That’s bad.

Climate change is causing giant killer icebergs to break free and eventually melt, thus raising ocean levels. That’s bad.

The crackpot in me wonders if there’s some way to float those icebergs (made of fresh water) over to where the droughts are.

You assume this idea is economically impractical. But keep in mind that your budget for getting it done is “trillions of dollars” because that’s how much the economy will lose if we do nothing. So if you think you need a million tugboats to move each giant iceberg, don’t assume that’s out of the budget.

Ideally, you’d want to get those icebergs near the head end of a giant (wait for it) canal system that snakes through the drought-riddled United States. That way much of the iceberg water can be directed to the water tables below parched land before it reaches the warmer sea and raises sea level.

What? You say that canal system would be too expensive? Remember you have trillions of dollars to work with now because the do-nothing alternative is more expensive.

Let’s see some creativity, people. How can we get the fresh water out of those icebergs and into our sinks without raising sea levels?

Ideas?

[Update: Thanks to HelloWorldo for this link to a plan for floating icebergs to Saudi Arabia.]
 

---

Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com

Imagine if everyone read this book except you. How sad would you be?

 


 
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May 15, 2014
C1-NRB

[There is no land mass supporting the ice at the North Pole, therefore it is already floating on (in) water. How does its melting raise ocean levels? Is it a fresh water v. salt water thing? I'm genuinely curious. ]

For this reason Im not worried about the ice melting in the north pole. But the ice melting in Antarctica is a problem since it was previously supported by land.
 
 
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2014
Was my elementary school science wrong when I learned that water has a constant mass? For instance- fill a glass to the top with ice and water. When the ice melts, does it overflow, drop, or does the level of the water stay the same?

There is no land mass supporting the ice at the North Pole, therefore it is already floating on (in) water. How does its melting raise ocean levels? Is it a fresh water v. salt water thing? I'm genuinely curious.
 
 
May 15, 2014
Perhaps instead of spending trillions of dollars relocating icebergs to "where the droughts are" we need to consider relocating ourselves to where the droughts AREN'T.

All throughout history, changing climate patterns have generally led to large-scale human migration, as areas where humans used to live became less desirable, and formerly useless areas became adaptable to living and agriculture.

Only now do we seem to have this sort of ridiculous attitude of "This is where we live and we will continue to live here regardless of how little sense it may make and we'll spend trillions of dollars fighting nature in order to continue to live in a place that's doomed."
 
 
May 15, 2014
You have stumbled onto the plot of 1988 Police drama COPS! http://www.funniermoments.com/watch.php?vid=2ea8d9ce5

Clearly their superior animation skills have given them a 26 year head start.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2014
There was an episode of Salvage One (old Andy Griffith show) about this.

http://www.amazon.com/Salvage-1-Water-Andy-Griffith/dp/B00GGMKS8U
 
 
May 15, 2014
Or heck...let it melt in the caps then use nuclear power to desalinate. No pipeline required.
 
 
May 15, 2014
Use the waste heat from floating nuclear reactors to melt the ice...then a pipeline. If they can do that with tar sands for oil...why not water?
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2014
Israel used to do this - they were very hard up for fresh water.
 
 
+19 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2014
Also not seeing how this is an improvement over existing ideas. I mean...do you really think tugging all that ice to the middle of California would be cheaper than desalinating an equivelant amount of sea water?
 
 
May 15, 2014
I may be a total crackpot, but it seems to me with desalination technology and some pipelines man-made lakes where they are most needed will be one of the infrastructure projects of the future.
 
 
May 15, 2014
OK, well assume for a moment that budget is not a problem with this idea. This still wont solve-just delay-the real problem with the ice sheets melting (ie, rising sea levels). It also wont solve-just delay-the drought problem; what do you do when the ice melts? Keep pouring on the ice? Long run that would make the rising sea level problem worse.
 
 
May 15, 2014
How about just capture it close to somewhere, then use a tanker to take the ice and allow it to melt while you ship it south. Maybe, even something as simple as a pipeline, and then move chunks of ice into a holding funnel and allow it to melt naturally and send water down the way.
 
 
May 15, 2014
Three words... very... long... straws.
 
 
May 15, 2014
- Floating pipe line (melt first)
- Gigantic Catapult (because that would be way cool)
- Gigantic Trebuchet (because they are much cooler than catapults)

You might also consider the cost effectiveness of letting the icebergs melt naturally, then offset the rise in ocean levels with desalination. (we have a big budget)
 
 
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2014
It's like that canal has become a bad punch-line.
 
 
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2014
Water flows downhill, and also likes to do things like evaporate. You can't stick extra on a random piece of land without it ending up in the ocean anyways.
 
 
-5 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2014
Greenland is losing its ice....the Great Lakes have the worst case of ice seen in over 30 years. That is global warming in a nutshell. No need for ocean tugs....use the fresh water that is in the middle of the country.
 
 
May 15, 2014
Of topic:
http://eandt.theiet.org/magazine/2011/05/moving-ice.cfm
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2014
Helicopters or planes - carry them high enough where the air is below freezing and then drop them strategically in drought ridden areas.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2014
Scott, I think we would be better off if we focused on how to create artificial rain. I would love to hear the problems artificial rain would create.... "Not on my wedding day"...."not on weekends"...."only on Wednesday between 9-11 am".

P.S. We have and always will have climate change! Everyday is a climate change. Tired of the panic.
 
 
 
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