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Melting ice from the giant West Antarctic ice sheet could be saved from sliding into the ocean by covering it in trillions of tons of artificial snow.
Scientists say the collapse of the sheet would threaten many cities including New York, Calcutta, Shanghai, and Tokyo with catastrophic flooding.
Water - Edges - Regions - Sheet
This could be prevented by pumping ocean water onto the edges, or coastal regions, of the sheet and then converting it to snow which would prevent it from melting.
Using a 3-D Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM), the researchers artificially enhanced snowfall in these coastal regions on a computer.
Amount - Snow - Ice - Sheet - Regime
They found that this huge amount of snow can push the ice sheet back towards a stable regime because the increase in ice surface elevation near the point at which the glaciers meet the ocean effectively stabilises the shelf.
In simulations, this lead to a two to five-centimetre sea level drop, assuming water for the snowfall is taken from the ocean, according to the researchers.
Project - Feats - Engineering - Installation - Wind
The project would need 'unprecedented' feats of engineering - including the installation of several thousand wind turbines in the region to power the ambitious project.
The study claims this would impact the 'stress balance' that supports different forms of glacial ice, including frozen inland ice and fast-flowing ice streams.
Proposal - Hazard - World - Pristine - Regions
They say the proposal would create a 'substantial environmental hazard' in one of the world's last pristine regions - to prevent sea level rise for some of the world's most densely populated areas.
Study co-author Professor Anders Levermann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany, said: 'The fundamental trade-off is whether we as humanity want to sacrifice Antarctica to save the currently inhabited coastal regions and the cultural heritage that we have built and are building on our shores.
'It - Metropolises - New - York - Shanghai
'It is about global metropolises, from New York to Shanghai, which...
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