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Modeling and assessing impact of artificially enhancing the Arctic Sea Ice Albedo
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  • Subarna Bhattacharyya,
  • Detelina Ivanova,
  • Velimir Mlaker,
  • Leslie Field
Subarna Bhattacharyya
Climformatics, Inc.

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Detelina Ivanova
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
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Velimir Mlaker
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Leslie Field
Ice911 Research Corporation
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Summer ice in the Arctic is diminishing at an alarming rate. Increase in radiative forcing due to the loss of sea ice is contributing to global warming. Artificially enhancing the sea ice albedo could be a possible lever to restoring and rebuilding the Arctic sea ice. Using reflective hollow glass spheres with low environmental impact, Field et al (2018) reported that such a technology could be promising towards restoring Arctic Sea Ice. Here we present the preliminary climate modeling and impact assessment of such a technology both regionally and globally. We seek to answer the scientific question of whether an enhanced sea ice albedo over the whole of Arctic sea ice provides a large enough perturbation to the climate in the Arctic and if so what is its likely impact over the rest of the globe. The study shows that the climate impact of such a method results in more than 1.5°C cooler temperatures over a large part of the Arctic and about 3°C reduction over regions north of Barents and Kara Seas. We also see notable increases in sea ice thickness (20–50 cm Arctic wide) and (>15–20%) increases in sea ice concentration across large parts of the central Arctic. These preliminary results suggest that such a technology may be a viable instrument for restoring Arctic ice. However, practicality dictates that a localized targeted deployment of the technology may be more desirable. We are extending this work to evaluate targeted deployment of materials in key areas and will present the climate modeling results on efficiency of targeted deployment for at least one such targeted area. Reference: Field, L., Ivanova, D., Bhattacharyya, S., Mlaker, V., Sholtz, A., Decca, R., et al.(2018). Increasing Arctic sea ice albedo using localized reversible geoengineering. Earth’s Future, 6. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EF000820