Climate change is real and is shrinking a popular destination in the Swiss Alps. Reportedly, this glacier is losing approximately 115 feet per year for which a team of researchers from Switzerland and Netherlands have planned a solution- spraying artificial snow to halt glacier from melting.
They believe that fresh snow will help reflect away sunlight while insulating the glacier form heat. This method has apparently helped a smaller glacier, Diavolezzafirn, by 26 feet over 10 years. Glaciologists have sprayed artificial snow 8 ft deep over the 1,300-square foot Diavolezzafirn and plan on spraying more.
But covering the 6.2 square mile Morteratsch glacier with 13 feet of snow is not an easy task. A number of heavy snow machines would have to operate throughout winter and spring to eject enough snow to cover the glacier every summer. And the water required to make this snow will also be a gargantuan amount of about 6 to 8 million square metres per second. Luckily, this water will be recycled from the meltdown of another nearby shrinking glacier.
Felix Keller of of the Academia Engiadina in Switzerland and his team envision solar power cable cars spraying snow from above. They also suggest that new snow may even help regrow the glaciers.
The greater concern here is that tourism is the main reason for the development of this project. Keller however is not undertaking this task simply for tourists to be able to ski. A few years ago, he had helped build artificial glacier to hep the Himalayan region of Ladakh in India where total meltdown has caused severe draughts and failing crops.
Keller hopes that artificial snow will be able to protect the world’s water resources. However, this is only a temporary solution. Unless we combat climate change effectively by reducing carbon consumption, we won’t solve the issue at its heart.