ice911 research is at the forefront of Polar climate and cutting-edge climate technology.
Dr. Leslie Field has been dedicating her life to Polar ice restoration since 2006. An inventor with 57 US patents and a degree in chemical and electrical engineering she confronted climate change as a material issue. This lead her to the Arctic, focusing on the loss of reflective ice which is causing the ice-albedo feedback loop that is intensifying Arctic melt and seawater rise. In 2007 she founded ice911 to research which material could reverse this process.
After years of tireless testing on reflective ice, Field found a compelling solution: reflective silica microbeads (silica is a type of sand made of quartz rock and is safe for animals, ecosystems and aquatic life). When spread over young ice the beads act as a reflective shield against the sun, they’re buoyant so they can be strategically placed in areas prone to the albedo effect. ice911’s modelling in 2016 suggests that spreading the beads across the Beaufort Gyre and the Fram Strait could reverse melting in the Arctic:
“By using just a tiny amount of material, you end up making young ice seem more like multiyear ice, and that changes the radiative balance in the Arctic back to where it was,” Field said.
- Floatable: each silica microsphere is hollow inside and fills up with air. As the ice melts, our microspheres float to the top allowing for continued reflecting radiation.
- Chemically unreactive: not prone to chemical reaction
- Wettable: sticks to ice and water the second it hits the surface
- Hydrophilic: doesn’t attract oil-based pollutants
- Perfectly spherical: no jagged edges
Find out more about ice911 and Field’s wonderful research here.
“Ice911 is a very feasible and attractive approach to saving Arctic sea ice by changing its heat balance at critical times of the year. Their further field testing and full implementation of the technique should be given high priority, as it’s so important for our global climate that Arctic sea ice be restored.”
~ Dr. Peter Wadhams
Emeritus Professor of Polar Ocean Physics, University of Cambridge