We aren’t suggesting we cover the entire Arctic with reflective sand. Rather, climate modeling helps us determine strategic areas where the sand would have an outsize impact. Even so, you're probably wondering how it's possible to produce enough sand and disperse it in the Arctic, here's one way:
Step 1: Produce the material
Our material needs the same raw material as glassmaking: silica sand and gravel with high silicon dioxide (SiO2) content. The United States Geological Survey Minerals Yearbook estimated total industrial silica sand and gravel production to be 27.9 million metric tonnes per year. This is to say that there is more than enough raw material to produce our microspheres in any part of the world.
Step 2: Acquire VLCC ships
Very Large Crude Carriers (“VLCCs”) can be used to take our nontoxic material from the point of production all the way to the Arctic for dispersal; and they already have the built-in pumping power necessary to bring the material from the holding tanks out on ice. At scale, we aim for 3-6 ships to deploy our solution.
Step 3: Wait for ice to begin forming
Because the Arctic freezes over with young sea ice in the winter, we would need to disperse reflective sand while waters are still navigable. Therefore, the best time to apply material is early in the season during the "grease ice" phase of ice formation, which is the beginning phase of ice formation when the top layer of the ocean is slushy. At this time of season, VLCCs are loaded with reflective sand, and sent to one of the strategic areas such as the Beaufort Gyre (a key Arctic Ocean current) or Fram Strait (the passage between Greenland and Svalbard).
Step 4: Disperse material from VLCC
We would work to take advantage of prevailing wind and water currents to ensure uniform dispersal so each VLCC could spread out material in just half a day. Once the carriers are empty, they would head back to the original port without needing to refuel.
Step 5: Monitor and improve
As the ship disperses its material, it will drop a buoy to monitor the local area's ice formation, reflectivity, weather, and currents. The designated areas will also be monitored with Sonic Aperture Radar (SAR), which can provide satellite imaging on reflectivity in any weather condition. The combination of monitoring global weather and continued climate modeling allows for an iterative process in which our solution can be fine-tuned for maximum effectiveness.