When we think about a problem as daunting as glacier melt, it’s tempting to throw up our hands and say that there’s nothing to be done. But researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany disagree. 27 students from the school recently set up a large structure in the Swiss Alps in an attempt to trap cold air over the Rhone glacier.
The giant windshield measures 49 feet by 10 feet (15 metres long and 10 meters high). The university says the shield has already been successfully tested in a laboratory.
But the experiment doesn’t have the support of the whole scientific community. According to glaciologist Andreas Bauder, the shield probably couldn’t alter wind patterns enough to make a difference. And even if it could, results wouldn’t be visible for years.
While there is reason to be skeptical of the new experiment, we shouldn’t dismiss it quite yet. If it is successful, we might just buy ourselves a little more time to become a sustainable society.
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