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Mad Scientist Wants To Spend £400bn To Refreeze The Arctic

August 20, 2018

By Paul Homewood


Feeding time for the fruitloops who read the Guardian!



Physicist Steven Desch has come up with a novel solution to the problems that now beset the Arctic. He and a team of colleagues from Arizona State University want to replenish the region’s shrinking sea ice – by building 10 million wind-powered pumps over the Arctic ice cap. In winter, these would be used to pump water to the surface of the ice where it would freeze, thickening the cap.

The pumps could add an extra metre of sea ice to the Arctic’s current layer, Desch argues. The current cap rarely exceeds 2-3 metres in thickness and is being eroded constantly as the planet succumbs to climate change.

“Thicker ice would mean longer-lasting ice. In turn, that would mean the danger of all sea ice disappearing from the Arctic in summer would be reduced significantly,” Desch told the Observer.

Desch and his team have put forward the scheme in a paper that has just been published in Earth’s Future, the journal of the American Geophysical Union, and have worked out a price tag for the project: $500bn (£400bn).

It is an astonishing sum. However, it is the kind of outlay that may become necessary if we want to halt the calamity that faces the Arctic, says Desch, who, like many other scientists, has become alarmed at temperature change in the region. They say that it is now warming twice as fast as their climate models predicted only a few years ago and argue that the 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming will be insufficient to prevent the region’s sea ice disappearing completely in summer, possibly by 2030.

“Our only strategy at present seems to be to tell people to stop burning fossil fuels,” says Desch. “It’s a good idea but it is going to need a lot more than that to stop the Arctic’s sea ice from disappearing.”


All of the usual myths are there:

1) Temperatures are now so high at the north pole that scientists are contemplating radical schemes to avoid catastrophe

No they’re not. Temperatures across the Arctic were just as high in the 1930s and 40s:

70-90N MonthlyAnomaly Since1920


2) This paucity of sea ice bodes ill for the Arctic’s summer months when cover traditionally drops to its lower annual level, and could plunge to a record minimum this year. Most scientists expect that, at current emission rates, the Arctic will be reliably free of sea ice in summer by 2030

Summer sea ice extent has been stable now since 2006. There is no evidence at all that it will all disappear by 2030.



3)  Last November, when sea ice should have begun thickening and spreading over the Arctic as winter set in, the region warmed up. Temperatures should have plummeted to -25C but reached several degrees above freezing instead. “It’s been about 20C warmer than normal over most of the Arctic Ocean. This is unprecedented,” research professor Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University told the Guardian in November. “These temperatures are literally off the charts for where they should be at this time of year. It is pretty shocking.

There was nothing “unprecedented” about last November’s spike in temperatures, which were in any event still well below freezing, contrary to Francis’ fake claim.



For instance, there were also large warm anomalies during the winter of 1972, when Arctic ice was expanding rapidly:



4)  With less ice to reflect solar radiation back into space, the dark ocean waters of the high latitudes will warm and the Arctic will heat up even further.

While this may be true for a short spell during summer months, for most of the year the opposite is the case. Ice free oceans will lose heat to the atmosphere, and thus into space.




This whole potty scheme is a classic case of what happens when you hand out billions of pounds in grants to research anything to do with climate. But Steven Desch ought to be more careful what he wishes for.

Messing around with natural climate forces might have cataclysmic effects, by creating too much ice. After all, why does he assume that the amount of ice we had in 1979 is “normal” or “desirable”. Countries like Iceland certainly did not think so, as it nearly wrecked their economy.

Before he wastes any more taxpayers’ money, maybe he ought to study Arctic climate history and the role of cycles. I suggest he reads HH Lamb, who had this to say in 1995:




In other words, Arctic climate revolves around an interdecadal cycle, and we are currently in the warm phase, just as we were in earlier decades.

One of the major drivers is that when the Arctic is warmer, it is also wetter. Rivers running south to north in Canada and Siberia drain this extra fresh water into the Arctic Ocean. Fresh water of course freezes more easily, thus eventually leading to increasing sea ice, and reversing the warm part of the cycle.

It has happened many times in the past, and will happen again in the next few years. If mad scientists like Desch get their way, we may end up with more ice than we know what to do with.

  1. Richard Bell permalink
    August 20, 2018 2:50 pm

    Someone escaped from the Funny Farm again !!!

    • August 20, 2018 3:00 pm

      He is an embarrassment to physics. We need a system to be able to strike idiots off.

      • Bitter@twisted permalink
        August 20, 2018 6:01 pm

        This physics prof is barking.

  2. Mack permalink
    August 20, 2018 3:00 pm

    Oh Paul, you’re such a killjoy. Ruining a perfectly good sciencey pitch with boring old pesky facts. Bah humbug! The next thing these half wits will be thinking of is to manufacture giant spoon like bars to stir up the oceans so that they can absorb more man made Co2. Oh, hang on a minute….

  3. HotScot permalink
    August 20, 2018 3:03 pm

    Arctic sea ice. Only good for one thing, putting in a G&T.

    Scientists adore Greenland and Antarctic ice though. It gives them lots of reasons to go drilling for samples thereby gainfully employing themselves.

    • AZ1971 permalink
      August 20, 2018 5:32 pm

      HotScot, have you discovered Tanqueray Rangpur? I had to try it this weekend after scoring a good price at my local liquor shop. It makes a fabulously refreshing dry or extra-dry martini served with a lime twist. My girlfriend tried a G&T by subbing out the tonic with some lemon-lime sparkling water. That was even MORE refreshing. Went down waaay too easily, in fact. Definitely my new favorite!

      I wonder how some good ol’ “bergy bits” from Newfoundland would be in it—maybe one day I’ll find out.

      • Broadlands permalink
        August 20, 2018 10:30 pm

        Actually sea ice is filled with captured air and it releases the air when melted.

        HT Barnes, Monthly Weather Review, November, 1912…

        “In my observations of icebergs I was greatly struck with the large amount of air dissolved in the ice. The white color of the berg is due to innumerable air bubbles in the ice, and not to snow on the surface. An iceberg is very deceptive in this way. While it looks quite soft, the ice is so hard as to make it difficult to chop it with an axe. Ice water which I prepared for drinking on board ship with iceberg ice appeared to effervesce like soda water…”

        Or added to a dry martini or Gin and Tonic…

  4. A C Osborn permalink
    August 20, 2018 3:11 pm

    We were going to be “Ice free” by 2000, then 2012, then 2018, then 2020, now it is 2030.
    They have to keep moving the goal posts and no one evr calls them on it.
    Just one big Scam with complicite Governments, MSM & Scientists.

    • dave permalink
      August 20, 2018 3:38 pm

      I am sure I heard this exact same proposal from this exact same nut, many years ago! Usual suspects will be involved, of course

  5. August 20, 2018 3:37 pm

    It is an astonishing sum – indeed, but still a lot less than the annual US defence budget. Have a word with Trump 😉

    • dave permalink
      August 20, 2018 3:54 pm

      Oh, it can’t be done for $500 billion.

      Or any money.

      It is just bad science-fiction.

      Meanwhile, Nature is about to cool fevered brows, as usual:

    • Jon Scott permalink
      August 20, 2018 4:49 pm

      And your comparative point is?

    • August 21, 2018 1:19 pm

      Trump ain’t gonna listen. Newt Gingrich analyzes Donald Trump thus: Imagine a table top with 4 legs. One leg is profoundly “anti-left,” another is profoundly “anti-STUPID,” a third is profoundly “anti-political correctness” and the last is profoundly “pro-American.” He rapidly moves around on the table top with these 4 principles. Prior to the election, Melania was asked in an interview what annoyed Donald the most. Her reply was “people being stupid.” He can instinctively spot “stupid” in situations and people. I would say it is “common sense” on steroids.

      I would point out that most of the people on this post instinctively posses the common sense, anti-stupid approach. Paul, Booker and others, including many of the replies give us the ammunition.

      • dave permalink
        August 22, 2018 11:08 am

        I judge him, also, to be an almost extreme pacifist. Not because he is especially nice, but because of an automatic revulsion from anything which upsets the plans of reasonable people.

        There was supposed to have been an old Lady in England in 1900 who was asked her views on some new ways people were behaving, and answered:

        “I do not care what anybody does – so long as they do not do in the streets and upset the horses!”

  6. August 20, 2018 3:37 pm

    There is reasonable evidence that the Arctic undergoes a freeze/thaw cycle of about 70 years in extent, and a warm peak occurred around the 2010-2015 time frame. Certainly the North-West Passage was navigable in the 1940s, since the RCMP schooner St Roch (a wooden ship of just over 300 tons) travelled both ways across the Arctic ocean in the period 1942-1944. However, nobody took much notice at the time because World War II was in progress.

    The depth of the freeze/thaw cycle would have occurred during the 1960-1990 time frame when most of today’s senior Arctic scientists were learning their trade. In their formative years the Arctic was an unbroken mass of ice for most of the year, and so they imagine that this is the normal state of affairs for the Arctic.

    The concept of cyclic behaviour for the Arctic is of course totally unacceptable for the CAGW lobby because it implies that the recent melting had nothing to do with CO2, but is merely part of a recurring climatic process.

  7. August 20, 2018 3:43 pm

    Except that there is no evidence that observed changes in Arctic sea ice extent are driven by global warming and that they can be stopped by taking climate action.

  8. NeverReady permalink
    August 20, 2018 3:50 pm

    Haha…you can see how this will pan out. In a few years, when the Arctic is still refusing to melt away and raise sea levels and flood cities and drown people, these numptees will tell us they saved the world…

    • Stonyground permalink
      August 20, 2018 6:12 pm

      Melting sea ice doesn’t cause sea levels to rise, only ice on land melting and running into the sea does that. The Antarctic and Greenland might be an issue but the arctic melting isn’t.

      • NeverReady permalink
        August 21, 2018 3:37 pm

        I know, but do they?

        …my comment was supposed to be a little humorous…seems I missed!

  9. Tim Spence permalink
    August 20, 2018 4:11 pm

    Does the technology exist that could pump a vertical column of water 2km

    Would the pumped water heat up as it ascended.

    Would the compression heat up the water

    If it did not heat up would it not just sink again, being colder and denser?

  10. Anthony permalink
    August 20, 2018 4:20 pm

    No. I see no need for escapees. The Funny Farm (Aka The Grauniad actively encourages such unscientific and absurd dream factories. A wee bit weird, that.

  11. August 20, 2018 5:15 pm

    There have been several ideas to melt ice in arctic:
    The idea of melting the Arctic ice cap dates at least to the 1870s, when Harvard geologist Nathaniel Shaler suggested channeling more of the warm Kuroshio Current through the Bering Strait—soviet-russias-cold-war-war-on-cold
    All you do with pumping water on ice covered with snow is create slush. To make ice thicker you need to remove the snow just like they do to make ice roads. The reason is because of thermodynamic equilibrium.

  12. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 20, 2018 9:13 pm

    As sort of mentioned, at the height of the last ice age scare in the 70s (now all but erased by climate revisionists) scientists proposed melting the ice by spreading carbon black or something of that ilk.

    If we had listened to their crackpot schemes then, what sort of mess would we be in now?

    I’m sure there are physical problems with the idea anyway. When the sea freezes naturally it freezes from the top down and salt is ‘expelled’. If you flood the surface, the salt will get trapped as pockets of super-salty brine. When the sun comes up in Spring it would probably surface melt quicker, creating widespread dark pools that absorbed more sun, and melted the underlying ice even quicker. Regardless, there is bound to be some unintended consequence of their insane idea.

  13. Tony Budd permalink
    August 21, 2018 10:12 am

    Since salt water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water, it’s quite likely that it won’t freeze when pumped up onto the existing ice but will simply run back off, carrying some ice with it. Admittedly the water immediately under the ice may be both fresher than the lower ocean and colder, but pumping from immediately below the ice will simply cause the ice to break up, so water would need to be pumped from further down where it is probably warmer. In any case putting several million tons of water onto already thin ice doesn’t seem a very good idea!

    • dave permalink
      August 21, 2018 10:52 am

      “…putting several million tons of water onto already thin ice…”

      And the rest!

      Adding a meter thickness to an area of five million square kilometers would require FIVE MILLION MILLION TONS of water, or 5 x 10^15 kg. Simply pumping this weight up, at the right times of the year, I calculate, would take most of England’s electricity grid (I am not quite sure how the cables would run)!

  14. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 21, 2018 12:38 pm

    Oh no, ‘the last bit of Arctic ice ever expected to melt’ has ‘gone’ from the North coast of Greenland. Of course the BBC news just inserted a gratuitous doom-laden breathless interview with Matt McGrath (environment correspondent) complete with BS factoids.

    It’s blown off-shore, it hasn’t broken up/melted/gone!

    ‘Never happened before.’ Really? I’m sure if you trawled through all the satellite imagery since the 1970s you’d find examples. Of course the BBC/Guardian are pretty safe, I don’t expect anyone has got the images or the time to look.

    • dave permalink
      August 21, 2018 1:18 pm

      ‘,,,the last bit of Arctic ice ever expected to melt…’

      They don’t even know the difference between sea-ice and land-ice! The last bit of Arctic ice that I expect to melt still has 4,458 meters of ice above it.

      • dave permalink
        August 21, 2018 1:38 pm

        Every year in late August – some tripe designed to implant the general impression in feeble minds that there is a ‘death spiral’ in Arctic sea-ice.

        We have a principle in Litigation that “best evidence is the only evidence admitted.” For example, where there is a human witness to testify what was written in a document he must be ignored if the document itself is present.
        After all if his memory confirms the document, he is redundant; and if it does not he is wrong.

        On the principle of best evidence, therefore:


        – for sea-ice:



        – for land-ice

        The melt seasons have a couple of weeks still to run, of course.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        August 21, 2018 2:03 pm

        That was the fault of my paraphrase, yes obviously sea ice, not land ice kms deep!

      • dave permalink
        August 21, 2018 2:21 pm

        “…fault of my paraphrase…”

        OK then, BBC not quite so bad. However still a meaningless fact – that a bit of fast-ice is blown away from a stretch of coast. How much coast is there in the Arctic Regions where this may happen in any given year? Got to be tens of thousands of kilometers.

      • dave permalink
        August 21, 2018 2:27 pm

        “…blown away…”

        It reminds me of how entire beaches can lose their sand overnight due to freak combinations of wind and tide. Plemont Bay in Jersey was an example: a storm in 1966 – beauty gone for decades.

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