Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Water?

For the past 10 years or so a huge iceberg that split from the Ross ice shelf has been drifting in the sea - more or less toward SW Australia.  This berg is reported to be 87 square miles in size, and looks from the pictures to be about 100 feet high   (this picture is NOT the iceberg we're speaking of).

Anyway, if my calculations are right, this berg contains about 261,106,187,294 (261.1 billion) gallons of fresh water.  Since its drifting northward anyway, I'm thinking Australia should latch onto it, tow it to port, insert a melting device and start producing its water.  At the very least someone could mine the water into tankers in-situ and sail the tankers somewhere. 

I have no idea how fast an 87 square mile chunk of ice that is likely 900 feet thick can be towed - if at all, and no idea how much of it would melt on its way to Australia, but I'm certain some engineer has worked this all out because towing icebergs has been contemplated many times before.  This one, however, seems virtually "shovel-ready" and half way home!  I also have to wonder if anyone owns this berg and its valuable supply of fresh water?  Being a groundwater manager in Kansas, I'm not really up on all these technical issues!

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