Simulation shows it’s possible to tow an iceberg to drought areas

Aug 09, 2011 by Bob Yirka report
Image credit: Trevor Williams.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Way back in the 70’s Georges Mougin, then an engineering graduate, had a big idea. He suggested that icebergs floating around in the North Atlantic could be tethered and dragged south to places that were experiencing a severe drought, such as the Sahel of West Africa. Mougin received some backing funds from a Saudi prince but most “experts” at the time scoffed at his idea and the whole scheme was eventually shelved.

Cut to 2009 and French software firm Dassault Systemes, who thought maybe Mougin was on to something after all and contacted him to suggest modeling the whole idea on a computer. After applying 15 engineers to the problem, the team concluded that towing an from the waters around Newfoundland to the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa, could be done, and would take under five months, though it would cost nearly ten million dollars.

In the simulation, as in a real world attempt, the selected iceberg would first be fitted with an insulating skirt to stave off melting; it would then be connected to a tugboat (and a kite sail) that would travel at about one knot (assuming assistance from ocean currents). In the simulated test, the iceberg arrived intact having lost only 38 percent of its seven ton mass.

A real world project would of course require hauling a much bigger berg; experts estimate a 30 million ton iceberg could provide fresh water for half a million people for up to a year. There would also be the problem of transporting the water from the berg in the ocean to the drought stricken people. The extraordinary costs for such a project would, it is assumed, come from the price tag for the skirt, five months of diesel fuel for the tugboat, the man hours involved and then finally, distribution of the fresh water at the destination.

Scientists estimate that some 40,000 icebergs break away from the polar ice caps each year, though only a fraction of them would be large enough to be worth the time and expense of dragging them to a place experiencing a drought, such as the devastating one currently going on in the Horn of Africa.

Mougin, newly reinvigorated by the results of the recent study, at age 86, is now trying to raise money for a real-world test of the idea.

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WhiteJim
4 / 5 (14) Aug 09, 2011
It would be much cheaper to simply desalinate ocean water.
Techno1
3.7 / 5 (7) Aug 09, 2011
Yup.

Solar desalination.

Problem is, many of the most hard-hit areas are also in nations which are completely lawless and run by competing gangs of ruthless thugs, such as Somalia.

The biggest problems here are these nations have little or no infrastructure to mitigate drought problems (by storing and preserving river water, etc). Look at Somalia and Tanzania, and you'll find very little of dams, reservoirs, or any other government scale water management systems. In many cases, the people are so uneducated and so far behind in technology that they don't even have any idea these things are physically possible.

Yes, both Somalia and Tanzania need desalination on a collosal scale, immediately.

Neither of them has the funds, resources, skill, or technology to do this.

I should add Texas, California, and China need desalination desperately as well, but not as bad as THOSE guys.

Somalians are in danger of going extinct if they don't get it immediately.
ECOnservative
3.7 / 5 (7) Aug 09, 2011
What about ship-based desalination plants? Refit a supertanker for the job and pipe the water onshore much like oil. Then you could move it from one drought area to another as needed. Makes much more sense than shipping icebergs.
CarolinaScotsman
2.1 / 5 (11) Aug 09, 2011
Park an iceberg off Africa. Cool the ocean in that vicinity and cut evaporation thereby reducing rain fall even more. Great result.
paumorac
5 / 5 (1) Aug 09, 2011
There are simpler solutions, but cheap and effective interest of large corporations fail to occur.
If you do a Google search for VAZQUEZ FIGUEROA writer and inventor will see a natural pressure desalination by reverse osmosis, which succeeded in giving "water almost free."
aeolius
not rated yet Aug 09, 2011
Cheaper is to make the skirt out of printable solar cell material and let it be self powered.
Parsec
not rated yet Aug 09, 2011
There are simpler solutions, but cheap and effective interest of large corporations fail to occur.
If you do a Google search for VAZQUEZ FIGUEROA writer and inventor will see a natural pressure desalination by reverse osmosis, which succeeded in giving "water almost free."

Cost of pressurization, membrane life cycle costs, ecological damage from dumping concentrated brine, etc. The costs are not 'almost free' even if one of the factors drop very low.
Temple
5 / 5 (3) Aug 09, 2011
ecological damage from dumping concentrated brine, etc. The costs are not 'almost free' even if one of the factors drop very low.


There is a bustling industry of removing water from brine, producing sea salt.

There is a budding industry of removing brine from sea water, producing potable water.

The idea that hyper-salinated brine would be a pollutant from this process is rather near-sighted. Salt produced would be a highly salable byproduct of desalination efforts. Desalination and sea-salt production would be natural symbiotes.
emsquared
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 09, 2011
Do all these icebergs that break off melt, or do they in fact re-join the mass at some point during the winter?

If you just start hauling off pieces of the polar caps, you're going to do great damage to the albedo of the two regions of earth that need it most...

These geo-engineering schemes blow my mind in their short-sightedness and unadulterated idiocy.
Eric_B
5 / 5 (1) Aug 09, 2011
"Salt produced would be a highly salable byproduct of desalination efforts."

ummm...i drink a lot more water than I eat the equivalent amount of salt.
coryatjohn
3 / 5 (10) Aug 09, 2011
The problem with bringing water to drought stricken and extremely poor areas in Africa is it would only result in more human breeding, more hunger, poverty and misery. The best policy is to let nature take its course.
Techno1
1 / 5 (1) Aug 09, 2011
Emsquared:

Eventually they do melt, though it may take a few years in some cases.

In general, breaking ice into more pieces will always make it melt faster, since you increase the surface area exposed to the warmer water and air around it by about 1/3rd for every one clean break all the way through (assuming a cube as initial shape anyway).

Since most of an iceberg is below the surface, and since only the "top" face of any ice cap is facing the sun anyway, this "increase" in surface area does not increase albedo.

However, melting giant icebergs as in this scheme would decrease albedo, because you would be transporting the ice to a warmer latitude much faster than nature normally transports hot or cold air or water.

In Somalia, you would need a gargantuan amount of water both for human direct consumption, and for farming...they need huge amounts just to replenish ground waters and soil waters before farming will ever even be remotely possible...3 years without rain...
Techno1
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 09, 2011
If there are 5 million Somalians currently malnurished, then we need lots and lots of water.

Drinking:
If a human being is supposed to drink 8 glasses of water per day, then that's 32oz times population, times time.

912.5 million gallons per year for drinking for the 5 million who are endangers.

Farming:
to make a kilogram of wheat you need 1000kg of water, according to Wiki anyway.

there are around 3140 calories in 1kg of wheat, and 1300 calories would be an extreme weight loss diet, so you probably need at least 2/3rds of a kg of wheat per person per day to gain weight...

That means they need 1.22 billion wheat kg equivalents of food per year to be "healthy". this means they need at least another 1.22 TRILLION kg equivalents of water to grow the food (under ideal irrigation)...

Since drinking water is actually small compared to what's needed for farming, we'll just round that up to 1.23E12 liters of water per year to be safe...
Techno1
3 / 5 (4) Aug 09, 2011
Unfortunately, as I mentioned, much of that would actually immediately get absorbed by the ground, so you'd needa lot more than that really.

But I'll continue to play along.

So, 1.23E12 liters water per year for the 5 million Somalis who are starving and dying of thirst, to get them the bare minimum food and drinking water. (without considering the fact most of it would evaporate quite quickly...)

1.23E12 liters
1.23E9 cubic meters
1.23 cubic kilometers (or 1km by 1km by 1.23km)

Again, this is how much water you need to deliver ON LAND, actually drank by humans or absorbed by food crops, per year, AFTER considering any losses from melting of the ice berg, evaporation, and soaking into the ground system below the top soil (where it would be useless...)

Note,a bove the number is 64 oz, which I used correctly in my figures. I accidentally typed the wrong thing.
that_guy
3 / 5 (4) Aug 09, 2011
I'm going to make an assumption here - and honestly from this article, I'm not positive - That these guys are not utterly high on something, and that it would cost 10 million dollars to tow the 30 million ton iceberg - which would be about half the cost of desalination, about 33 cents a ton versus about 75 cents a ton.

IF my assumption about which cost goes with which amount of water, and that the 30 million tons is the arrival amount, AND their calculations are completely spot on AND it doesn't cost substantially to melt and/or transport the ice/water, THEN, this idea might have some utility.

But based on the statement i just made, I believe that these guys are absolutely high and should be forced to work as tellers at mcdonalds for absolutely wasting our time, and asking to waste money as well.

Wouldn't it be easier and commission a tanker ship to transport water across the ocean, or build the aforementioned USS Desalinator?
Techno1
1 / 5 (2) Aug 09, 2011
Above, they are only talking about DRINKING WATER, which is only about 3/4ths of ONE PERCENT up to 2 percent, of the amount of water you actually need to keep people alive at a bare minimum by the time you count farming actual food.

I guess depends on how they are calculating how much people drink, but their estimate...odd, and far more than 64oz per person per day, though far less than would be needed for both drinking and farming, even for just 500k people.

Somalia is ten times more people threatened, and the drought is far beyond people lacking water.

The land is dead.

There is almost no food or water remaining at all.

And yes, it would be easier to use tanker ships, because then you don't care about insulation.

Paying an energy cost to move something when 38% of it will melt before it arrives...that is a complete waste of resources.

A 40Mwatt desal plant should be able to do around 140,000 gallons per HOUR. continued...
Techno1
1 / 5 (2) Aug 09, 2011
That comes to around 1.68 million gallons in a 12 hour solar day.

That's 6.35E6 liter per day.

2.31E9 liter per year

So to make up for the above water shortages to make their farming viable (who knows how long the drought will last...) you would need around:

1.23E12 / 2.31E9 = 533 of 40MW desal plants

This is 21.3 gigawatts...

thje cost to manufacture this is probably at least several tens of billions of dollars, even if contractors did things "at cost"...and not counting the actual irrigation system to transport the water to where it is needed for drinking and farming...

The GDP of Somalia is only 5.7 billion per year...

they could never maintain and protect the infrastructure of this system on their own, even if the U.S. and U.N. just flat out gave them this stuff and went over there and built and installed it all for free...
Techno1
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 09, 2011
Ok, so moving an iceberg is probably cheaper initially than Desal, but over the lifetime of the plant, desal would be much, much cheaper and more reliable.
xznofile
not rated yet Aug 09, 2011
how about using the thermal shield as a big holding tank to catch glacier melt in the artic. when it's full pump it all at once into one big tanker to deliver it quickly to a similar holding tank offshore at the destination. two or three people managing each end of the process, less time & fuel for the tanker (10 to 15x as fast and $40k-$60k/ day).
antonima
not rated yet Aug 09, 2011
a problem I see is that the iceberg will not be consumed all at once- a water storage area is required as well, else the iceberg will melt and more water will be wasted. I wonder where they will store 30 million tons of fresh water

if the thing is in the ocean for 5 months, they could grow stuff on top of it on the way there, or maybe set up a ski resort. How cool would that be? The ski resort would be a charity event, an airstrip could be built on top of it, and it would pay for itself
Techno1
1 / 5 (1) Aug 09, 2011
I just thought of a way to desalinate water, theoretically anyway, for an amount of input energy equal to around 1/10th of the actual energy cost of desalination...

Of course, this is not actually possible yet with existing materials, but what you could theoretically do is build a ridiculously tall tower, and pump water mechanically to the top of the tower and let it freeze there at naturally occuring temperatures, which would precipitate out the salts.

The energy cost of pumping the water would only be around 1/10th that of refrigerating the water on the surface, or around 1/70th that of boiling the water on the surface...

Of course, the tower would need to be several kilometers tall, which is beyond existing technologies. Though office buildings are starting to aproach 800 meters now, so a tower built lighter and stronger, and without human accomodations might be able to get higher.

Build and designe cost would be enormous, but it "should" work, at least in theory...
Techno1
1 / 5 (2) Aug 09, 2011
Cost of pressurization, membrane life cycle costs, ecological damage from dumping concentrated brine, etc. The costs are not 'almost free' even if one of the factors drop very low.


Maybe there's some sort of way to do this mechanically or chemically using some sort of nanotechnology or ion trap to sort out the salt molecules from the water.

The water elevator incredibly impractical, and probably impossible to build...still, it uses almost no energy by the time you could use a few more tricks I thought of to re-capture around 30% of the gravitational potential when lowering the trays of frozen water back to the ground.

You'd freeze the water in one tray, where you have a metal "stick" in the ice, just like a popsickle, pull it out of the tray after it freezes and put it in a clean tray for transport down. Dump the precipitates in a seperate container, and re-fill. The tray is loaded onto a bucket wheel and lowered to the surface, turning a generator to recapture energy.
Techno1
1 / 5 (2) Aug 09, 2011
So about 1/4th to 1/3rd of the pumping costs would be re-captured by the process of lowering on the other side turning the generator.

For the primary power for the pumps, you could use wind or Solar...

The only technical problem here is that "little" problem of building a tower several kilometers in height to obtain an altitude with temperatures guaranteed to be below freezing of water...yeah that's a big one...

=

anyway, back to the ion trap/nanotechnology idea.

Couldn't something like that be done to "suck" the salt out of the water using some nanotech trick?

Our bodies work on chemistry which seperates ions out of water, and transports them elsewhere as an energy carrier, building material, or waste product.

Our bodies do this all the time, and also with salts as well.

How the heck do salt water fish do this? Study those little buggers, and that'll give the answer...
Tyrant
2 / 5 (4) Aug 09, 2011
Why is it up to the West to invent ways to save Africa?
Sean_W
1 / 5 (2) Aug 09, 2011
The water elevator incredibly impractical, and probably impossible to build...


I think some of the modern blimps can lift a couple thousand pounds of water a few kilometers up. Have it lift sea water--rising while traveling inland, drop the fresh water ice in a safe spot and descend while going out to sea. Drop brine while still at a fair height over sea to aid in dispersal. Repeat. Would that be a bit more practical?
Sean_W
1 / 5 (2) Aug 09, 2011
It's not the West's "responsibility" to save Somalia but there may be practical benefits beyond compassion. Transitions to lower birthrates (yielding fewer refugees and older populations which engage in fewer conflicts) occur when there is enough wealth to meet certain societal conditions.
yep
2 / 5 (3) Aug 10, 2011
These guys solved the problem without icebergs. Solar powered desalinating green houses. They are awesome check it out
http://www.seawat...use.com/
maccaroo
not rated yet Aug 10, 2011
"Salt produced would be a highly salable byproduct of desalination efforts."

ummm...i drink a lot more water than I eat the equivalent amount of salt.


I assume the same people who benefit from the desal water aren't going to be forced to eat all the salt - idiot.
ROBTHEGOB
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2011
It would be easier to airlift all the Somalis to Las Vegas and put them to work in the casinos. Vegas has plenty of water, thanks to our publicly-funded water diversion from the Colorado River.
Urgelt
5 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2011
Assuming the 'berg can be isolated from salt water - not an easy engineering feat, for such a large object - and delivered, the hard part begins: turning the 'berg into delivered water. One imagines a system of pipes, pumps, filters, storage containers... a temporary infrastructure built around the 'berg and more permanent infrastructure ashore. Not cheap. I have a feeling that if this flies, we'll find 'bergs delivered to places that can afford them, like Southern CA or Saudi Arabia, not impoverished places like Somalia.
Pete_Peters
not rated yet Aug 10, 2011
I think lots of solar powered packaged water plants is where its at. A form of dasilination and recycling the wastewater.

Google PACKAGED WATER PLANTS
Isaacsname
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2011
Sounds like more trouble than it's worth, but, I have heard of this idea for years, what I have not heard is anybody propose sinking the bergs well below surface level to cut losses during transport. 1. from drag induced by wind friction. 2. from melting due to surface temps 3. increased salinity at lower depths would slow melt rates substantially.

Thank me later.
GSwift7
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2011
and would take under five months, though it would cost nearly ten million dollars


As said above, building a desal plant would be better.

Even better idea? Move the people?
Skepticus_Rex
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2011
Moving the people isn't really an option considering the political climate of Africa. Refugees = target practice/genocidal elimination there at the present time.

Aside from that, desalination plants work best by the shoreline. Billions of dollars worth of infrastructure would also have to go in and cross these same always-changing political lines. Ever seen a war over water rights? It can get just as ugly as one over oil.
tjcoop3
5 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2011
Sounds like more trouble than it's worth, but, I have heard of this idea for years, what I have not heard is anybody propose sinking the bergs well below surface level to cut losses during transport. 1. from drag induced by wind friction. 2. from melting due to surface temps 3. increased salinity at lower depths would slow melt rates substantially.

Thank me later.


First tell us how you are going to take an iceberg and sink it any deeper than the two-thirds or so that is already below the surface?
Next time you are in the tub take your boats and push straight down on them-without an enormous amount of weight added it would be impossible. It seems to me that any added weight would increase the drag in the water so I am curious how this would be more efficient since costs would increase in fuel alone. Unless I am misunderstanding something in your idea?
hush1
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 10, 2011
Natural Draft Towers? Lined along the shallows of a shoreline?
http://www.nuclea...s/ct.htm

The 'up' 'air draft' evaporation saturated air condensing at the narrowest girth diameter of the tower?

Brain storming here. If you tug icebergs, everyone is allowed their idea.
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2011
Ah, just the towers - without the plants.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Aug 10, 2011

First tell us how you are going to take an iceberg and sink it any deeper than the two-thirds or so that is already below the surface?



Hhhmmmmm. Solution mine cavities ( like they do for salt cavity storage of petroleum products ) in calved glacial bergs, fill them with superdense degassed brine and plug with more ice ? Then add more weight on top as needed ? Idk....I see your point, but there are many types of ice, many sizes of bergs, etc. I thinks maybe you could sink small icebergs like this.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Aug 10, 2011
Also, Methane hydrates towed underneath, dissociated with ultrasound ( I'm bad with chemistry, but I think it does something to the ionic bonds ), it would lower the density of the water, so in theory, you can pull it off. There are oil rigs that have hit methane hydrate pockets and sank because they were no longer bouyant enough in the gas saturated water.
reggie2011
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2011
I geuss all of you talking about de-salination plants are alittle misguided im sorry to say,
what has always been the main consern with these types of plants is the fact no countrys can economically afford them just so you all know what kind of money it costs to build said plant its around the 3-6 BILLION US mark therefore is not economically viable for most countrys ..ok all countrys otherwise we would have the things comming out of our ears
now that brings me to my next point of RUNNING AND MAINTAINING IT, the costs of maintaning a de salination plant are very very high why dont u think we have them everywhere? are you sure you guys went to school ,somtimes i feel like people just talk without thinking :S
Skepticus_Rex
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2011
San Antonio, in Texas, has been discussing this very subject to provide more water via desalination.
The cost of water from such a plant would be more than 10 times that of aquifer water, Puente said.

That's finance science fiction today, he said.

SAWS' water plan includes a seawater desalination plant, but not until 2060. Construction estimates for a plant and miles of pipeline are as high as $1.2 billion.

http://www.mysana...0535.php


1.2 billions for a plant and pipeline for just one city! Imagine the cost for a country. Towing icebergs may be less expensive than this. I don't know as I do not work in the logistics sector. It would be worth looking into, though.

According to the article, it would cost 10 million.

No doubt about it. Desalination would be a more expensive option than shipping icebergs.
Poisson1
not rated yet Aug 11, 2011
Regie2011 and Skepticus Rex, city-scale desalination plants are nothing new. Perth (Western Australia) runs two reverse osmosis plants delivering a total of 95 gigalitres (95 million tonnes) per annum. The cost is high - the Binningup plant, complete with pump stations and pipelines cost about $1 billion. Power is supplied from wind farms, so the ongoing cost is manageable.

The alternative was to tap an aquifer which would provide much "cheaper" water but at an unacceptable environmental cost.

The article stated it would cost 10 million to tow a seven ton iceberg, which would lose 38% of its mass on the way. This number just doesn't look right to me. 7 tons is less than my swimming pool holds. Taking the value as correct there is no way iceberg transport could compete with desalination.

The real problem for places such as Somalia is the lack of stable government to enable the necessary infrastructure (of whatever sort) to be constructed and maintained.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (2) Aug 11, 2011
Moving the people isn't really an option considering the political climate of Africa


Yeah, i know. My uncle works several months a year over there for the US Army as a civilian employee. He's been to all of those countries a time or two.

I heard on the radio yesterday that the US government changed policy to make it easier on the aid people. It's impossible to get aid to those places without having some or all of it stolen, or they might need to pay bribes and stuff. We changed our policy so that they can do those things without getting in trouble, basically. It's like we know that a good portion of the aid will end up funding the pirates and terrorists, but it's the only way to get food and stuff to the people. I guess that's for the best, but it's really hard to say in the long run. If we don't help, nobody else will. That's for sure. Not much anyway.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2011
Regie2011 and Skepticus Rex, city-scale desalination plants are nothing new. Perth (Western Australia) runs two reverse osmosis plants delivering a total of 95 gigalitres (95 million tonnes) per annum


Miami Florida also lives on desalinated sea water. Supplying water isn't a problem as long as you have money. In the Miami area, the bulk of the water goes to lucrative fruit farming, so it's a no-brainer to build a desal plant there. The farmers can easily afford it. In a place like Somalia, you'd have to build a whole infrastructure. But that's not how it works. They need to build their economy first, until it reaches a point that it can support public utilities. Right now, they're a million miles from the point where they are ready to build and maintain a water distribution system. Having viable currency and banking would be a better first step than running water. Think of it like an old west town.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Aug 11, 2011
@ tjcoop3

It only takes ~12% of the weight of a given mass of ice, extra to counteract buoyancy, below the thermocline roughly 1000', the temperature is ~ 37.5 and drops to 32f, usually only ~ 1/9 of an iceberg is above water normally, the core temps are between 5f to -4f, etc, etc. Really, something like towing an iceberg is only a matter of proper, well thought out engineering, imo :)
Arachnivore
5 / 5 (1) Aug 12, 2011
They got it all wrong! You don't need to tow the iceberg all the way to Africa. You just need to tow it to the nearest land mass, dig a big ditch, launch some big mirrors into space, melt the iceberg with the space mirrors, then build a giant crazy straw to the troubled region.

BAM! Problem solved!
Arachnivore
not rated yet Aug 12, 2011
To be fair though, if most of the cost is in the insulation skirt and you could build a skirt that could be reused then much of the cost of the operation could be amortized over many trips. Bonus if the skirt could hold the melt off and be used as storage at the relief site.
Arachnivore
not rated yet Aug 12, 2011
I actually kinda like the idea of sinking it too. The deep currents should be equator-bound so maybe all you need is a lead sail ;)
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Aug 12, 2011
It would be much cheaper to simply desalinate ocean water.

Not sure it would be cheaper. The cost for a desalination plant is pretty fierce and they are not very energy efficient (and don't produce a lot of output). Comparing the total energy used to water gained ratio this might be better.

The argument about distributing the water is also not merited (because you have the same problem with any other aproach like desalination plants)

Why is it up to the West to invent ways to save Africa?

Because we are the ones reponsible for the current situation there.

I think some of the modern blimps can lift a couple thousand pounds of water

So you use one blimp to carry the water needs of one person for one month? Gonna need a lot of blimps.
Arachnivore
not rated yet Aug 12, 2011
Gonna need a lot of blimps.

I see no problem there. Everyone loves blimps!
GSwift7
1 / 5 (3) Aug 12, 2011
I assume you could have sparrows cary the iceberg down to Africa. They fly much faster than a blimp.
Techno1
1 / 5 (2) Aug 12, 2011
reggie:

The real reason most U.S. cities don't have Desal is because we simply have no need for it in most locations (present Texas drought excluded).

The U.S. has more fresh water than probably any other country on earth, both in per capita and per land area comparisons.

In our case, infrastructure is pretty easy, as it usually involves just drilling a well, or running a pipe to a nearby lake or river.

What you need to realize is it's not possible for the Somalis to develop infrastructure, because there is no water to work wth anyway.

You imagine that they would somehow prosper like the American midwest with successful agriculture, and then cities and water systems would somehow spring up, but that is NOT POSSIBLE in Somolia because there isn't enough water to work with, even on a good day. There, every day is a struggle just to stay alive, and it's been like that all my life.

you can't just pull some modern civilization out of your ass. It takes generations...
Techno1
1 / 5 (1) Aug 12, 2011
Without outside help, they'll all starve to death, and then whoever survives won't be any better off for it. They're so far behind in technology that they don't have the capacity to manufacture anything of value to anyone, so when agriculture fails, they are dead meat.

It's gone on so long that they have no capacity to help themselves any more in many cases.

They need generations worth of education and modernization, and SECURITY from the gangs of thugs fighting one another over land, and there is no way to fix this over night for anyone.

We have like 500 universities with an ag department
A constitutional democracy
More water probably flows down the Mississippi in a day than Somalia sees in a year.

Ordinarily, nations develop their resources and infrastructure over generations through education, R&D, alliances, and trade. Who the hell trades with Somalia? They have nothing worth buying, and no way to get it...
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 12, 2011
I assume you could have sparrows cary the iceberg down to Africa.

Or African swallows (unless they are already carrying coconuts, of course)
Husky
not rated yet Aug 13, 2011
what would be the cost of just scrape that ice like ore and pump the slush in supertankers, sure it can melt but the melt stays in the tankers, i propse the tankers be powered by electricity generated from the ionic difference between salt and sweet water (part of the cargo is used as fuel) as well augmented with wind kites, i am talking slo boats but higly energy efficient
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2011
i propse the tankers be powered by electricity generated from the ionic difference between salt and sweet water

Try doing the math on that one. No dice.

The Tofte reverse osmosis power plant does 5kW per at 20 liters per second.
The largest tanker holds about 500 million liters and has an engine rated at about 50MW.

...so to get a similar output we're talking about 200000 liters per second...which would mean such a ship could run for all of 40 minutes before all the fresh water is used up.

Nah...I don't think going slow is gonna extend that by enough to get from the antactic to the equator and have anything left over.
Skepticus_Rex
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 13, 2011
It would be simpler to mine ice from western Antarctica and to ship the water/ice mix to foreign countries. They could pay for it and create at least few jobs by doing it.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (3) Aug 14, 2011
Somalians are in danger of going extinct if they don't get it immediately.


What? Their population is the highest ever and growing quite rapidly. They have many problems, but extinction is not one of them.
Jeddy_Mctedder
1 / 5 (4) Aug 14, 2011
during the next nuclear war, the best way to take over the entire world is to drill deep bore holes into all the major ice shelves of the arctic and antarctic,

perhaps in concentric circles beginning center at the areas farrest from the edges, going outward toward the edges of where the ice sheets meet the ocean.

throw in fusion based nukes of 50 megatons each. and let the entire artic and antarctic fracture which will be the fastest way toward accelerating the breakup of the ice sheet. , focussing as much of the blast energy toward the edges of the ice sheet to ensure they slough off directly into the ocean.

if enough ice can be exploded and melted toward slipping into the ocean, you might have a chance to raise the ocean level by over 20 feet globally, devastating at least 50% of all human beings living in developing countries' focussed on the coasts.

without question this will create a global famine.
russia and canada/northern u.s. are the beneficiaries.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (2) Aug 15, 2011
Or African swallows (unless they are already carrying coconuts, of course)


Some people laugh and the rest don't have a clue.

As for towing an iceberg, the article above is just saying that it's physically possible. They say right at the start of the article that it's too expensive. They're just saying that you could do it. In reality, it's really expensive and dangerous to try to move an iceberg. The oil companies don't even do it when one is headed towards an oil platform. In stead, they move the oil platform, which isn't simple or cheap either. If somebody could find a way to efficiently and safely tow an iceberg, then they would be doing it already to protect oil platforms.