While changing human behavior and reducing carbon emissions offer long-term solutions to human contributions to climate change, American architect Derek Pirozzi wants to see an immediate solution for saving the polar ice caps. He's proposed the Polar Umbrella, a buoyant super-structure that would both protect and replenish Arctic ice.
Pirozzi's Polar Umbrella just took first prize in eVolo Magazine's 2013 Skyscraper Competition, which recognizes "outstanding ideas for vertical living." He envisions the Polar Umbrella as a mixed-use structure, one that will not only rebuild the polar ice caps, but also provide a venue for research and eco-tourism.
The Umbrella's massive canopies, made from a lightweight, permeable, zinc-coated steel, would cool the surface below by three degrees Celsius, helping to prevent the ice below from melting and creating conditions that would allow new ice to form. Meanwhile, the Umbrella's harvest chambers would collect and freeze ocean water. Each Umbrella would be self-sustaining energy-wise, collecting solar energy as well as harnessing salinity gradient power. The Umbrellas would also include research facilities and a helipad so that researchers and tourists can access them directly by air. Pirozzi hopes that by harvesting and processing salt water, the Umbrellas could rejuvenate the ice shelves.
You can read more about Pirozzi's proposal, and see his cross-section diagram of the Polar Umbrella at eVolo Magazine.
Polar Umbrella Buoyant Skyscraper Protects and Regenerates the Polar Ice Caps [eVolo Magazine via Dezeen]