“Men are born ignorant, not stupid.
They are made stupid by education.”
– Bertrand Russell
Via (U.N) World Economic Forum :
Every summer for the last eight years, people who live in the Swiss Alps have been wrapping a beloved glacier in blankets.
The white canvas blankets are intended to reflect sunlight off the Rhone Glacier, to try to reduce how much of it disappears each year. And Swiss glaciologist David Volken says it’s probably working; he told Agence France-Presse the blankets may reduce seasonal melting by as much as 70%.
The Rhone Glacier is a popular tourist destination that has been shrinking rapidly over the last decade; of the roughly 1,148 feet (350 meters) in ice thickness lost since 1856, 131 ft has disappeared in the last 10 years alone, according to AFP. Thus the blankets.
It’s a rare approach, but not unprecedented, notes E&E News: People swaddle glaciers with reflective material in places in Italy and Germany, and Jason Box, a glaciologist with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, began advocating for covering sections of the Greenland ice sheet with reflective material as early as 2009.
Polar geoengineering ideas aren’t limited to blankets. At the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union last spring, a research group from Utrecht University proposed blowing artificial snow across Switzerland’s Morteratsch Glacier, to help reflect sunlight, according to E&E News.
Others have suggested even larger-scale interventions, like using wind-powered pumps to squirt sea water over Arctic sea ice in winter, prompting thicker (and, they hope, more stable) ice to form, Oceans Deeply reports. Scientists have also floated the idea of building artificial platform-like mounds underwater to prop up particularly vulnerable ice sheets from below.
NOT sure whether to put this down to nostalgia, tourism, hubristic madness or simply an act of climate derangement syndrome?
BUT, one thing is a given – this almost ‘artistic’ yearly ritual, in defiance of Mother Nature is, no doubt, brought on by fear and anxiety over the perceived ill effect that mankind’s excesses and emissions are having on glaciers and the climate.
IT’S a shame that the good residents of the Rhone Glacier weren’t around in 1857 to spare a few blankets for Washington’s most famous glacier, Nisqually, that retreated 3,200 feet and lost 200 feet of thickness between 1857 and 1918…
COINCIDENTALLY, the Swiss Rhone Glacier began its retreat in 1856, a year before Nisqually in Washington began its melt…
“The Rhone Glacier is a popular tourist destination that has been shrinking rapidly over the last decade; of the roughly 1,148 feet (350 meters) in ice thickness lost since 1856…”
TONNES more blankets would have come in handy in 1902 when the Rhone Glacier was disappearing at alarming rates during NASA’s coldest years on record…