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Author Topic: Boyan Slat's 'Ocean Cleanup Array' - application for sea ice?  (Read 2307 times)

jonthed

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A couple of years ago a TED Talk () by Boyan Slat went viral when he proposed a solution to clearing up the plastic in the ocean garbage patches.

A few experts dismissed his idea as folly but since then he has founded a company (http://www.theoceancleanup.com) and put together a team of experts including PhDs in the fields who have performed a feasibility study, adjusting the design a bit, and the feasibility study has apparently shown that the idea is indeed feasible. They even had the study peer-reviewed. They plan to deploy a small trial version next year.

Anyway. The ultimate idea is that they will deploy a 500km wide chevron of floating booms anchored to the sea bed (at about 3900m, using existing tried and tested technology). These booms will scoop up all the floating plastic and clear the ocean.

My point in this post is to suggest that such a system may have applications for trapping sea-ice in the Arctic and allow the sea-ice decline to slow or even recover.

If such booms could be stretched across the Fram and the Nares and elsewhere, to prevent the export and melt of huge quantities of sea ice, then less would be lost and year on year it may in fact help the volume recover.

You all should know the value of an Arctic sea-ice recovery; the recovery in albedo, the recovery of the temperature differential, the prevention of further clathrate thawing, a return to more usual weather patterns, etc. etc. It's no climate change fix but it may slow the sea ice decline.

Any method that can prevent the loss of Arctic ice should be considered. Is this method one that could do some good?

Perhaps the booms can be angled to deflect the flow rather than resist it? If the trapped ice can be directed and bound to land mass and fast ice, then there may be a chance to stop some of it exporting?



Any thoughts?


anotheramethyst

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Re: Boyan Slat's 'Ocean Cleanup Array' - application for sea ice?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2015, 08:17:50 AM »
i like this idea!!! well... i hate geoengineering, but this sounds more mechanical and less chemical, so theoretically it sounds like it wouldn't do as much harm as say, spraying aerosols into the atmosphere.  i'm sure there would be some drawbacks, but i would love to see this get implemented.  but i'm no phd, so my vote doesn't mean much.  you could actually use the things they use to trap oil spills too maybe.  actually i have no idea.  ice is a lot larger and heavier so it would require a much sturdier design.

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Boyan Slat's 'Ocean Cleanup Array' - application for sea ice?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2015, 02:40:48 PM »
A year or two back on some ASIF thread (or maybe the ASIB), someone explained the forces a boom across Fram Strait would experience with a functionally solid sheet of ice pressing against it, and concluded that nobody makes steel cables strong enough.  That may have been the same argument experts had against Boyan Slat's idea.  The mass of ice passing through The Fram, however, may dwarf that of plastic that is intended to be intercepted in the Pacific.
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

jonthed

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Re: Boyan Slat's 'Ocean Cleanup Array' - application for sea ice?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2015, 05:50:49 PM »
Thanks for commenting guys.

Tor Bejnar; I am not necessarily suggesting we use a barrier/steel cable to try to block the fram.

Firstly, the idea of having sea-bed anchor cables can help bear the load massively.
Secondly, the barriers are to be used more to direct the floes to land, and use the land and fast ice to try to trap the ice and bear the strain. Imagine the barrier oblique to the coast, funnelling the floe toward the land.

There could be several such barriers along the coastline, acting like groynes on a beach in a way. Even if some ice still gets through, if it slows down or reduces the overall export then it might have some benefit.

oren

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Re: Boyan Slat's 'Ocean Cleanup Array' - application for sea ice?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2015, 08:49:25 AM »
Interesting idea. However, I believe that something designed to hold plastic or oil spills is several orders of magnitudes removed from holding/steering ice in terms of mass.  I doubt it could work.
As with any geoengineering, the law of unintended consequences could be at play too. Just as an example, reducing ice export southwards could cause SSTs around Greenland to go higher, leading to increased melt of marine terminating glaciers and worse consequences than those prevented.

Shared Humanity

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Re: Boyan Slat's 'Ocean Cleanup Array' - application for sea ice?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2015, 03:26:31 PM »
It is certainly worth studying. I would think that booms strategically stationed in the CAA could serve to capture and grow MYI in the archipelago. This could at least have some impact on the last refuge of MYI north of the CAA. I would also be concerned about the local effects of such a strategy.