Nov. 17 – Mongolia is to launch one of the world’s biggest ice-making experiments later this month in an attempt to combat the adverse affects of global warming and the urban heat island effect. The geo-engineering trial, that is being funded by the Ulaanbaatar city government, aims to “store” freezing winter temperatures in a giant block of ice that will help to cool and water the city as it slowly melts during the summer.
The scientists behind the 1 billion tugrik (US$700,000) project hope the process will reduce energy demand from air conditioners and regulate drinking water and irrigation supplies. If successful, the model could be applied to other cities in the far north. The project aims to artificially create “naleds” – ultra-thick slabs of ice that occur naturally in far northern climates when rivers or springs push through cracks in the surface to seep outwards during the day and then add an extra layer of ice during the night. Unlike regular ice formation on lakes – which only gets to a meter in thickness before it insulates the water below – naleds continue expanding for as long as there is enough water pressure to penetrate the surface. Many are more than seven meters thick, which means they melt much later than regular ice. Continue reading