Building walls on the seafloor may become the next frontier of climate science, as engineers seek novel ways to hold back the sea level rises predicted to result from global warming.
By erecting barriers of rock and sand, researchers believe they could halt the slide of undersea glaciers as they disintegrate into the deep. It would be a drastic endeavour but could buy some time if climate change takes hold, according to a new paper published on Thursday in the Cryosphere journal, from the European Geosciences Union.
Though the notion may sound far-fetched, the design would be relatively straightforward. “We are imagining very simple structures, simply piles of gravel or sand on the ocean floor,” said Michael Wolovick, a researcher at the department of geosciences at Princeton University in the US who described the plans as “within the order of magnitude of plausible human achievements”.
The structures would not just be aimed at holding back the melting glaciers, but at preventing warmer water from reaching the bases of the glaciers under the sea.
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