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 ")

Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...' - Aldous Huxley, 1932.

Bring Back Extinct Animals! Sort of.
'The worldwide network of genetic arks had a surfeit of pachyderms...' - David Brin, 1990

Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!

Is There Extraterrestrial Life Here In The Solar System
'How fast is it moving? ...one meter per minute.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1982.

 

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

I Want My 1928 Telestereo Hologram Now
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'

Memes Now Come From Neural Nets
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'

Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'

Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'

Sono Sion Electric Car Charges As You Drive
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'

MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'

AutoX Sets Up Asia's Largest Robotaxi Center
'The robot cab seemed to know where it was going and, no doubt, the master machine from which it received its signals knew.'

E - Ink's Automatic Self Styling Color-Changing Dress
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

Soft Robots Use Kirigami Piezoelectric Sensor Skin
'A worthy opponent was the golem.'

Bosch Smartglasses Laser Paints AR Image On Your Retina
'Soon we'll be testing a system that projects directly on the retina of the eye.'

Maybe We Could Hibernate Until The Covid-19 Pandemic's End
'Cold-rest was a common last resort therapy for functional psychoses.'

Workplace Monitoring Hell, I Mean, Tool For Safe Distancing
'And here is the weirdest part -- I never see another employee the entire day.'

Patent Office Says AIs Cannot Be Inventors
'The real smart ones are as smart as the Turing heat is willing to let 'em get.'

Starlink Orbital Network Like Coruscant Traffic Jam
Vermin of the Sky? Or Internet access for all?

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.