If there’s one thing the UAE could do with as summer approaches, it’s an iceberg.
Plans have been unveiled to tow an iceberg from Antarctica all the way over to the Fujairah coastline; as part of an environmental sustainability and biodiversity drive in the region.
The National Advisor Bureau announced the plans and sees the opportunity to move an iceberg, which on average contains 20 billion gallons of fresh water, as the ideal way of pumping more fresh water into the region. It’s also intended to bring a more exotic clime to the Rub’ El Amer projects (Filling the Empty Quarter) which intends on turning the desert into gardens after cold air pumping out from the iceberg brings thunderstorms and downpours throughout the year.
Of course, icebergs off the UAE coast will be a tourist attraction as much as a benefit to the region, and it’s not the first time the country has manipulated the geography of the area to encourage more convenient climates. It has been reported that cloud seeding has risen 30 percent in the past year with more than 100 missions having been carried out in the first quarter of 2017.
There are also questions over the longevity of bringing an iceberg to the 40⁰C heat of the UAE. While roughly seven eighths of an iceberg is under the water line, which is less exposed to heat, the warmer water temperature will still cause the iceberg to crack up and disintegrate more quickly than it usually would. The National Advisor Bureau claims the highly reflective surface of an iceberg will largely protect it from the sunlight and heat of the Middle East, but didn’t go so far as to give expected lifespan of each iceberg it plans to tow. Work is expected to begin at the start of 2018, following route plotting and mitigation for route conditions through high seas.
Reactions remain to be seen from environmental groups on the ecological implications and the sustainability of maintaining an iceberg in one of the hottest regions in the world.