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A Few Good Men

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Pykrete a Glacier

Lets post this again, hopefully with some comments.

If you have ever seen the show Mythbusters, you would know of a material called Pykrete. It is 10-15% sawdust mixed 85-90% water. When frozen this material takes a far longer time to melt than regular ice, it is also much tougher than ice too. What I saw was a possible short term solution to a long-term problem. Melting glaciers. What if you could stop a large glacier from melting, using this same idea? You would have to disperse the material (sand, sawdust) on the glacier in winter, preferably before a large snow storm.

America’s fastest growing glacier, Crater glacier in Mount St. Helen’s crater, is well on its way to being the lower 48’s largest glacier, and even though none of the ice pre-dates 1980, at its thickest point its over 600 feet deep. It is advancing at a rate of 50 ft a year and thickening 15 feet per year. Most of the glacier is below the average height for glaciers in Washington State, so why is it growing? Rock slides and ash. They are acting just like sawdust in Pykrete, insulating the ice and keeping it from melting. Many rock glaciers can also form below the normal height of glaciers because of this property. So, could this work, does any one have better solutions or ideas?

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Closing Statement from A Few Good Men

At least there were a few more comments. I still believe that a study should be done on this, and while this would not be the perfect or permanent solution to glaciers melting due to climate change it still merits some research. Thanks for commenting. Oh, and maybe a substitute for sawdust should be found, one that may not harm the sub-alpine/glacial ecosystem.

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    Nov 17 2012: First I have ask what is the perceived "problem" with the melt-off of the glaciers? In other words why do we need to do anything about it?
    • Nov 17 2012: Well, it depends. Here in Washington most of our rivers are fed by glacial melt and snow melt. Many species of fish and salmonids depend on this for survival during the summer months. So yes glacial melt is natural and very good. But along with ablation, during the winter a healthy glacier should be accumulating as much ice as had melted off. This is not occurring anymore. With few exceptions like Crater Glacier. Salmon are already in trouble here and lack of water in the summer months could kill off entire runs in some rivers. This would not only hurt the ecosystem but the economy based on salmon here in Washington and Alaska.

      Water. Glaciers store about 75% of Earths fresh water. With glaciers diminishing across the planet, less and less of this water source will be left. In India, many fear that with the Himalayan Glaciers melting away, water for one of the worlds biggest populace will become scarce. Whether you believe climate change is occurring or not or whether man has anything to do with it. The temperature is rising worldwide. I just thought that for areas facing water shortages from melting glaciers, this might be a way to stabilize and possibly even reverse the ablation process.

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