Come up with the most viable engineering schemes to develop a system to regulate temperature gradient in oceans and the shores.
There is no doubt that climate change is real, and that it has caused the warming of the earth. Climate scientists have a consensus that on a larger timescale, the ocean temperature is a better measure of global warming because the oceanic temperature is not prone to fluctuations due to natural weather cycles, unlike the air. As explained in this article and many resources elsewhere, the greenhouse gas accumulation has caused the sea-level rise, loss of animal habitats and biodiversity, and abrupt, unpredictable weather patterns. According to the world economic forum’s report, the ocean temperatures have been rising steadily, and 2021 recorded the highest ocean temperature on record. Warmer oceans have fueled intense tropical storms and led to extreme weather events in the form of heavy rainfall and tornadoes .
Why regulate temperature?
This article in Science explains why rising oceanic temperatures are extremely harmful to marine life and how they can affect humanity.
Further, more recently, there was a news report about what seemed to me a very tragic and direct effect of global temperature rise. In Florida, ecologists and zoologists have found that almost every turtle hatched in the last four years turned out to be female . This could mean a serious disbalance in the ecosystem!
Why did this happen? Well, the molecular biological processes of sex determination in the zygote forming process for turtles are extremely sensitive to the temperature gradient. Researchers have suggested that the rise in sand temperature on the Florida shores has resulted in such phenomena. Similar possibilities can be extended to other amphibians and reptiles as well.
This is a clear and visible indication of the direct impact of global warming on biodiversity. While the world progresses to tackle climate change from political and economic fronts, it seems that we would need to employ more direct, localized solutions in some special geographical regions to minimize the biodiversity loss due to global temperature rise.
For this, I propose a large-scale thermostat or temperature regulating system that can keep a check on the temperature gradient of the shores as well as specialized locations of the oceans to keep it in an optimal range.
While it might not be feasible to entirely regulate the whole ocean temperature, it should be feasible in some specialized ‘pocket’ locations.
Some points/ideas for consideration while designing such a thermal regulating system:
a) Choice of location: The locations for installing these systems need to be chosen based on solid ecological and scientific data. The places/geographic locations that are frequently used by different species as breeding and nesting grounds can be targeted. Similarly, the oceanic regions with high coral biomass can be another special location.
b) Design components of the thermal system: This is the toughest part of this solution.
What could be the engineering principles for such a large-scale thermal regulating system?
How can we distribute the heat (or contain it) with the highest efficiency?
How the energy dissipation through tides can be controlled?
What kind of sensors can we use for most accurate temperature gradient sensing?
Should we imagine isolating these specialised locations with barriers for easier regulation of temperature?