Looking for ways to stop glaciers melting? How about a giant windshield?
Geography professor Hans-Joachim Fuchs, a geography professor at Johannes Guternberg University in Mainz, Germany, and 27 students marched out onto a Swiss glacier Monday and drilled post-holes, the first part of a project that will build a solid screen 10 feet tall and 50 feet wide.
Fuchs hopes the screen will trap cold winds that blow down off the mountains and keep them over the Rhone Glacier, the source of the Rhone River which flows west and then south through France into the Mediterranean.
Climate experts think the effort's pointless, however.
"Even if you built a wind screen big enough, it's doubtful whether you could meaningfully alter the wind patterns," Andreas Bauder, a glaciologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, told Der Spiegel.
Fuchs, whose specialty is the climate of the Indian subcontinent, is undeterred.
"One German university is trying out something daring," he says. "We've got lots of sponsors who see that something's going on here, and they support us."