It all began with a movie:
After seeing An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 and realizing that the effects of climate change were already here, Dr. Leslie Field, a M.I.T. and UC Berkeley Chemical and Electrical engineer and inventor with 54 patents, decided to dedicate her life to ensuring her two children would have a habitable planet. Drawing on her experience in chemical engineering, materials science, and microelectronics, she wondered how to approach climate change as a materials issue.
While leading her engineering consulting company, she began voraciously reading, speaking with experts, and attending seminars to determine what the single most important levers on climate change were. One that kept reappearing, but that nobody seemed to be addressing, was the loss of reflective multi-year ice in the Arctic. The Arctic ice albedo feedback effect is a feedback system in which reflective ice melts due to higher temperatures, dark and absorbent open ocean is exposed and begins to warm, and then more ice melts from both the top and bottom because of both higher temperatures and warmer ocean water.
While bright, multi-year ice can reflect up to 70-95% of solar radiation, open ocean only reflects 5% of solar radiation and absorbs the rest. This massive and recent change in reflectivity has resulted in the loss of 75% of ice volume in the Arctic, which has contributed to approximately 1/4 to 1/2 of global temperature rise (Wadhams). To Leslie, this drastic change in reflectivity was the key lever to mitigating climate change, and one that could be solved with reflective materials.
Starting in 2007, she performed extensive testing in small tanks on decks and local areas to test different materials that might best reflect the sun. Fast forward to today and, after 10 years of testing, refining, and testing again, Ice911 has the material, the team, and the experience needed to significantly reduce the impacts of climate change and make a difference in the global climate before it’s too late.