Polar Ice Cover in Short Supply

by Pool Builders on 09-26-2012 in Articles

Both Canada and the United States have an Ice Service. Who would have thought! And they have both deservedly been in the news recently. On Sunday, September 16th 2012, the Arctic ice cap hit an all-time low. It covered only 24% of the Arctic, down from the previous low of 29%.

Walt Meier of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center was interviewed on PBS and reported that the Earth is losing its 'Air Conditioner'. The polar ice caps balance the heat at the equator. They affect the jet streams, prevailing winds, ocean currents and much of our weather patterns.

Chris Derksen and Ross Brown of Environment Canada reported the same frightening trend this spring. Environment Canada has a division that studies sea ice from the perspective of navigation safety. As climate change causes the loss of sea ice, it also reduces the amount of white (snow and ice) coating the polar region. This whiteness reflects solar energy back into space. With less ice and snow, there is less reflection. The uncovered tundra, water and rock absorb the sun's energy, heating the region and causing more melting. It's a vicious circle that is becoming impossible to reverse.

You may have heard of the US government's program to employ young people to paint roofs white. This has slipped out of the news, but the science is still solid. The more dark colors we have on the earth (think roofs and roads), the more heat our communities will absorb.

A couple of years ago the snow loss situation in the Alps was becoming so severe that local governments experimented with laying gigantic sheets of reflective material on the mountains to protect what snow there was for the ski business. The idea is simply to reflect heat back into space and hope that it not be trapped in our atmosphere. That is where reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere becomes particularly important.

So what does this have to do with solar energy? Solar PV electric generation does not create greenhouse gasses once the construction of the panels and generating stations is completed. Solar is a green and clean energy source. The more we swap out solar electric for traditionally generated power, the less we contribute to climate change.

... and what does this have to do with swimming pools? A typical residential swimming pool has the carbon footprint of an SUV if the electricity needed to run the pump and cleaner is generated by coal.

Solar Pool Technologies has the mission of introducing products to remove swimming pools from the grid. Our first product is an autonomous solar-powered robot that removes debris from the surface before it sinks and decays. It is called the Solar-Breeze and it allows the homeowner to reduce their pool pump's runtime by up to two-thirds.

Cleaning your pool with solar energy instead of carbon fuels is not going to reverse the melting of the polar ice caps all by itself, but, with 16 million residential pools worldwide, every one of them that goes off-grid is a step in the right direction.

Visit our website and click on "Help the Environment" to calculate your swimming pool's carbon footprint and to figure how much you could save by switching to a solar robot.

These are links to news articles referenced in the first three paragraphs if you would like to read more from the scientists.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/july-dec12/icemelt_09-20.html

http://www.npr.org/2012/09/24/161701420/as-arctic-ice-melts-so-does-the-snow-and-quickly

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