By Jenny Wilson
Posting in Cities
Mongolia aims to combat the urban heat island effect by capturing temperatures in the winter and using them in the summer.
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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Nov 15, 2011
In 13 years in Mongolia, I saw ice on the Tuul River thick enough to drill into only two winters. Most years, the river was victim to Central Mongolia's endemic drought (which Mongolians refer to as Tsgaan Dzud, white drought.) In order to cool the entire Ulaanbaatar (the correct spelling; it means "Red Hero") valley, much more river flow would be required. Winter temps -- down to minus 50 -- are cold enough. Summer, however, is mild by most standards, reaching no more than 22 degrees Celsius. One wonders whether the funding reserved for this project might better be spent on relief and education for the estimated 2,000 abandoned children who live in Ulaanbaatar's underground hot-water tunnels.