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Towing Icebergs

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  1. Geoengineering
  2. Polar Ice Caps
  1. Fresh Water from Icebergs (Awesome Library)
      "Our greatest challenge today is to move the fresh, melting water in our polar caps and Greenland to safe land basins and water tables." 05-11

  2. Fresh Water from Icebergs (
      "Already 40% of the world’s population lives in areas subject to severe water shortages."

      "Nearly 70% of all fresh water is locked in the polar ice caps. Just the new icebergs that form every year around Antarctica hold enough water to meet the needs of every person on Earth for several months. Longstanding proposals to tow icebergs to lower latitudes where their valuable water can be harvested have been met with both skepticism and interest. To date, no successful attempts have been made."

      Describes challenges to moving icebergs to shores where fresh water is needed. Also notes that it is now practical to do so.

      "In this activity, you will investigate some of the logistical problems involved in moving enormous chunks of ice long distances through often turbulent seas." 05-11

  3. Project to Gain Fresh Water from Icebergs (
      "Mougin hopes to launch the pilot test next year and advance to a full-scale trial a year or two later. He's also confident of the gambit's commercial potential and has formed a company called WPI (Water and Power from Icebergs) to exploit it. After nearly 40 years of effort, Mougin anticipates serving frozen drinks en masse soon." 05-11

  4. The Science of Towing Icebergs (
      "Sponsored by Prince Mohammed al Faisal, a nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Khalid, the conference demonstrated that there is no shortage of ideas for using icebergs to slake the world's growing thirst. Prince Faisal's own company, Iceberg Transport International, is considering a plan to find a 100 million-ton iceberg off Antarctica,* wrap it in sailcloth and plastic to slow its melting, and then use powerful tugboats to tow it to the Arabian peninsula, where it would supply enormous quantities of drinking water. The journey would take about eight months and the project would cost around $100 million, according to estimates."

      "But it very well might be worth it. Even if the mile-long iceberg lost as much as 20% of its mass en route, it could be melted down and its water made available at a cost of 500 to 600 a cubic meter (about 35 cu. ft.), well under the 80˘ it now costs to desalinate a cubic meter of water."

      "*Antarctic bergs are broad, flat and better suited for towing than Arctic ones, which are mountain-shaped and irregular." 05-11


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