Icebergs to Go: Delivering Freshwater Across the Seas

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“Towing icebergs to places desperate for water is something of a non-urban myth. The idea sounds good on the surface. The planet is running short of freshwater, and gloomy forecasts predict a 30 percent rainfall decrease around the globe. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of big, purely freshwater icebergs crack off Greenland and Antarctica every year, only to drift into warmer waters and melt.

The notion of harnessing these massive, glassy natural resources is hardly new. In 1773 Captain James Cook brought small icebergs aboard The Resolution to replenish fresh water supplies. Towing bergs north or south has been seriously talked about in this century since the 1950s.

Unfortunately, every time a visionary entrepreneur floats a plan for navigating all that solid freshwater to parched markets, the H2O innovator is stymied by 1) the high cost of the towing and 2) the unacceptable amount of ice lost along the route.

Still, new iceberg theorists pop up every few years. The latest proposal comes from a University of Cambridge professor of ocean physics named Peter Wadhams. Wadhams claims to have partners in Canada and France who want to use tugboats to lug bergs from Newfoundland to the Canary Islands.”

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