China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest

China's leaders are concerned about their newly acquired Tibetan city of Nagqu. It seems that the Chinese troops stationed there, and the Han Chinese settlers who will take over from the Tibetans who have lived there for millennia, are disturbed by the lack of trees. Nagqu is 4,500 meters above sea level, you see.


(China melts Tibet's permafrost, plants trees)

The absence of trees ranked along with the area’s lack of oxygen, extreme cold and geographic isolation as top reasons for the mental breakdown of Chinese military personnel in this city 4,500 metres above sea level. Soldiers from Nagqu who would go to Lhasa on leave were known to leap off their buses to hug a tree, in tears, according to the People’s Liberation Army Daily.

Now China is taking the unprecedented – and expensive – step of harnessing solar power to melt permafrost to allow trees to grow in Nagqu. The project’s aim is to make the landscape more welcoming for Han settlers and soldiers struggling to cope emotionally with the treeless setting.

Workers have set up grassland solar panels in the area to convert sunlight to electricity for an enormous copper-wire grid buried in the ground. The generated heat melts the subsurface layer of frozen soil to save tree roots from “frostbite”, according to scientists who have visited the experimental site.

Workers have set up grassland solar panels in the area to convert sunlight to electricity for an enormous copper-wire grid buried in the ground. The generated heat melts the subsurface layer of frozen soil to save tree roots from “frostbite”, according to scientists who have visited the experimental site.

Robert Silverberg, in his 1970 novel Tower of Glass, describes the opposite idea - how to build a great tower in an unstable tundra:

From the tower's huge octagonal base radiate wide silvery strips of refrigeration tape, embedded fifty centimeters deep in the frozen carpet of soil, roots, moss, and lichens that is the tundra. The tapes stretch several kilometers in each direction. Their helium-II diffusion cells soak up the heat generated by the androids and vehicles used in building the tower. If the tapes were not there, the tundra would soon be transformed by the energy-output of construction into a lake of mud; the colossal tower's foundation-caissons would lose their grip, and the great building would tilt and tumble like a felled titan...

In their fan-favorite tongue-in-cheek 1991 novel Fallen Angels, sf writers Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn describe a spotlight of heat using orbital microwaves to keep some fallen astronauts warm on the tundra:

"Big Momma, it's cold here. We're going to freeze, all of us. We need heat. Can you give us a microwave spotlight? Have SUNSAT lock one of its projectors onto our transponder frequency and track us across the ice."

Via South China Morning Post.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/16/2017)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Biology ")

DNA May Contain Malware
'You were told to embed the logical pathogen.' - A. Reynolds and S. Baxter, 2016.

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.' - Hal Clement, 1950.

Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'

Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'

China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'

China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'

Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '

Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'

Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'

Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.'

Deepfakes From OpenAI GPT-2 Algorithm
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'

John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'

North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'

Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.'

Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...'

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.