A new study in Geophysical Research Letters (subs. req’d) led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory finds:
… the ice sheet was losing 110 ± 70 Gt/yr [billion tons/year] in the 1960s, 30 ± 50 Gt/yr or near balance in the 1970s–1980s, and 97 ± 47 Gt/yr in 1996 increasing rapidly to 267 ± 38 Gt/yr in 2007.
How much is 267 billion metric tons of water? It’s enough to supply the city of Los Angeles with fresh water for more than 50 years. Hmm. That gives me — or at least the Greenland Home Rule government — an idea.
Yes, why should all that water only go to submerging the great coastal cities of the world when (a tiny fraction of) it could go to slaking the thirst of all the people who live in the great cities of the world that don’t get submerged.
… in Greenland, a consultant named Dorthe Lund Kaack told the Danish Berlinske Tidende newspaper that next spring Greenland Home Rule government would begin bottling water from an island spring, and thereafter drilling it out of icebergs floating near the coast, for export to fancy water markets (Los Angeles, Tokyo said the article). The government stressed that production of this 3 to 10,000-year old water was “sustainable.”
Well it’s certainly “sustainable” over the several hundred years it will take the ice sheet to melt. And with global warming poised to spread disease throughout our water supply and melt the inland glaciers that supply water to a billion people and desertify one third the planet, well, that’s even better than sustainable for the would-be Greenland bottlers. That’s a growth market.
Still, Treehugger notes “Iceberg water is not entirely new”:
Berg (ha ha), a company in Newfoundland, bottles Arctic water from icebers off the coast and sells it for a very pretty penny – nearly $100 for 24 half-liter bottles. And 10 Thousand BC “luxury glacier water” comes from (the company says) 10,000-year-old ice from glaciers (for fewer pollutants). Watch this Forbes slide show of the world’s most expensive waters to see how ridiculous it can get.
Zaproot’s hip and zippy video take on this is here.
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