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Aaron Davis

Feb 16, 2016


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Apparatus and method for the prevention of polar ice mass depletion
US 20060018719 A1


Paul Klinkman

Feb 17, 2016


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Well, it's good that someone else recognized a need for restoring the polar albedo. 

On first glance, it looks like this 2006 invention would be simpler if the Arctic Ocean was ice on top of fresh water.  When a stream of salt water is sprayed into the air, where does the salt water's salinity go in the end?  Does the salt spray still become 100% snow in temperatures below zero Fahrenheit, where zero Fahrenheit is defined as the freezing temperature of salt water?  Does a salty snow layer lying on top of the freshwater ice tend to melt the ice below the salty layer when the air temperature warms to between zero and 32?  Or, does the freezing process manage to separate most of the salt in seawater from most of the water, so that the saline portion is still liquid and somehow it drains through the fresh ice layer to the seawater below?  It's worth an experiment.

An alternative for spraying seawater to create salt-snow is simply to pump the seawater up into a pan in winter, and then every ten minutes push the fresh ice layer on top of the pan aside .  I could also see a continuous loop icemaking system, a long, thin pan with slightly heated edges to keep the ice from hanging on to the pan edges, with a slow liquid flow down the pan, and with a conveyer belt at the end continuously lifting the freshwater ice layer out of the pan at the far end.  This method of mining freshwater ice from seawater would then lead to melted freshwater ice, which would be sprayed around to make snow.

Note that we want as few snowmaking machines as possible because we're on a budget.  Releasing the stream of fresh water high above ground level, in as strong a wind gust as possible, will maximize the distance that the snow will travel away from the snowmaking machine.

Will this wind-powered snowmaking invention work on a snowless tundra?  It would, although the tundra doesn't quite qualify as a "polar ice mass" per the invention's specification.  I'll assume that the water is melted out of the permafrost through wind power and stored until a seriously strong wind comes up, for coating a wider area of landscape with a more dispersed snow layer.  Instead of drilling each wind-powered snowmaker into place, why not melt it down into place in the mud on a relatively warm day?

Finally, will this invention work on a thick ice sheet?  I suspect that the drilling part of the operation through thousands of feet of ice sheet to reach water would be relatively costly.  If we simply wanted a white fresh snow albedo on top of the ice sheet, we probably don't need to drill down as much as a foot or too to hit an adequate supply of frozen water.  Then we melt the water.  Then we spray it into the air.

Paul Klinkman

Jan 12, 2017


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My experience with the climate colab process is that feedback for on-campus contributors is probably face-to-face and prompt.  However, feedback for over-the-transom contributors is nonexistent.  One of my previous idea submissions became a semifinalist proposal, then died.  I'll probably never know why.  In particular, I wonder whether the judges were hoping that I could explain my proposal's fuzzy areas to them. 

Annalyn Bachmann

Feb 20, 2017


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Hello Paul, 

We just wanted to reach out about your previous comment. The Climate CoLab Team encourages our Judges and Fellows to reach out with feedback about proposals during the contest periods. Hopefully, if you decide to resubmit your idea to a contest, you will get additional feedback that will enable you to further develop your proposal. 

We additionally encourage our community to reach out directly to our team if they encounter any problems, and we would love to hear more from you in the future. 

Thank you,