Is start-up turning Arctic sea ice preservation into reality?

This April, Arctic Reflections will conduct a field test, pumping Arctic sea water over the sea ice near Svalbard (Spitsbergen). The startup aims to prevent further summer ice shrinkage with this seemingly simple technique. Arctic Reflections (AR) is one of the bold protégés of CarbonFix, the Dutch catalyst for significant climate solutions who provides financial support to daring initiatives still in the very early stages of development. Together with established research institutes such as Delft University of Technology and UNIS, they are taking an important step in understanding and possibly mitigating the effects of climate change on the Arctic environment.

In the trial, they will pump ice-cold seawater over the surface of Arctic sea ice, flooding the snow cover and thickening the ice. The pumps used are proven technology, already effectively used for decades in constructing ice roads in Scandinavia and Canada.

Pump system Arctic Reflections sprays ice-cold seawater over the surface of Arctic sea ice

Data plays an important role. Thermistor chains will be used to accurately monitor thickness of ice and snow while radiation meters will measure the albedo of both thickened ice plots and reference plots. Through a combination of techniques including sampling of ice cores, continuous monitoring of ice thickness, local weather conditions and incoming and outgoing radiation, the experiment should provide insight into the feasibility and effectiveness of ice thickening as a strategy to extend the lifespan of Arctic sea ice during summer months.

The collected data will be made publicly available to the scientific community, and will be used as a basis for validating ice growth and thaw models. If successful, this could be the first step towards using Arctic Ice Thickening to preserve local natural habitats and sea ice as a reflective surface.

CarbonFix supports Arctic Reflections in this collaboration with Delft University of Technology and UNIS, aiming to foster innovation in addressing the challenges posed by climate change. This field test underlines our shared belief that science and public data should be the cornerstone of any initiative aimed at addressing these challenges.