A government-funded experiment in Mongolia aims to mitigate global warming by capturing winter temperatures and then making use of them in the summer. Ulan Bator, the capitol city, will host and finance the project in an effort to counteract the urban heat island effect, which occurs when areas of high urban development are hotter than their surrounding rural areas.
Such technology, if successful, could provide a solution for other cities with similar climates. According to Mongolian-based geologist, Robin Grayson, the process “will work in cities where the summer is intolerably hot and winters have at least a couple of months with temperatures of -5C to -20C.”
Scientists will create these ice shield by mimicking the process that forms naleds (also known as aufeis), which are sheets of ice that form in cold climates when groundwater seeps through pre-existing ice formations. This creates thick and expanding blocks of ice, which would allow scientists to capture freezing temperature in the winter and then use it to cool the city in the summer months.
Mongolian engineers will spur formation of the naleds for this trial by drilling holes into ice formations already formed on the Tuul river. They plan to drill repeatedly throughout the winter in order to add layers and keep expanding the ice block. The Guardian reports that this would allow the city to, “save on summer air conditioning costs, regulate drinking supplies, and create cool microclimates.”
[via The Guardian]
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