JUN 07, 2017 9:33 AM PDT

Why does the United Arab Emirates Want to Tow an Iceberg to the Middle East?


Towing an iceberg to the Middle Eastern heat and deserts as a tourist attraction and to provide the UAE citizens with fresh water sounds like a crazy plan, does it not? Well, it is. But is it even plausible? Let's look at the science behind the idea.

The process of towing an iceberg, a ginormous heaping mass of extremely heavy, melt-able ice, halfway around the world proves difficult. After carefully selecting an iceberg for shape and size, it would need to be fitted with an insulated "skirt" around the water line and pulled through the water by a huge tugboat. However, with such a large load, the tugboat could only travel about 1 knot per hour, meaning it would take 283 straight days of towing to reach the UAE. Furthermore, the iceberg would also lose up to 30% of its mass along the way due to warming water temperatures. But that's not the only downfall; the cost of a vessel that is strong enough to tow an iceberg, plus all the fuel that it would require would cost roughly $75,000 per day, totaling over $21,225,000 to reach the UAE. Sounds like an obstacle.

So while this plan is unlikely to play out, moving icebergs shorter distances actually does happen already today by oil companies when icebergs shift in storms and threaten to collide with oil rigs. Seem like a protest from Mother Nature? Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
NOV 06, 2020
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
Researchers have found that there could be at least 300 million habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. This could mea ...
DEC 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
3M Helps Solve Polar Bear Tracking Problem
DEC 10, 2020
3M Helps Solve Polar Bear Tracking Problem
As climate change continues to alter the Arctic landscape, polar bear research becomes more urgent. Observing animals in ...
JAN 21, 2021
Plants & Animals
Western Monarch Migration Near Extinction
JAN 21, 2021
Western Monarch Migration Near Extinction
Earlier this week, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation reported that the western monarch butterfly populati ...
APR 21, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Earth-like Planet Discovered Orbiting Red Dwarf Star
APR 21, 2021
Earth-like Planet Discovered Orbiting Red Dwarf Star
Researchers from Spain have discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting the star, GJ-740, a red dwarf star located 36 light ...
MAY 02, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Average Day on Venus Lasts 243 Earth Days
MAY 02, 2021
Average Day on Venus Lasts 243 Earth Days
Although Venus is our planet’s closest neighbour, its fundamental properties have remained largely unknown. Now th ...
MAY 28, 2021
Plants & Animals
Wild Gorillas Adopt Orphaned Babies
MAY 28, 2021
Wild Gorillas Adopt Orphaned Babies
An analysis of over 50 years of data reveals that with the help of their social group, orphaned mountain gorillas do jus ...
Loading Comments...