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German Researchers Attempt to Slow Glacier Melt with Giant Windshield

glacier

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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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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