Wolfram|Alpha on Calculations Related to Lowering Sea Level

12 Water, Earth Intelligence
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Phi Beta Iota: We think very highly of Wolfram Alfa and its creator Stephen Wolfram.  Below is the beginning of a conversation about what it would take to lower sea levels and keep them constant so Singapore among other countries, need not worry, at the same time that we leverage solar power to desalinate water and create hydrogen energy.

WE ASKED:

What is the volume of sea water that would have to be desalinated and withdrawn for aquifer replenishment, deforestation, de-desertification, and general land use, to keep sea level at a constant?  Discussion:  the intersection of solar energy and water purification, desalination, and splitting to produce hydrogen power and oxygen is now reaching a tipping point.  We are very close to a price point where it makes sense to actually lower the ocean and restock our clean water, doing this on a world wide basis, a Manhattan Project to create 1000 massive water desalination and power plants world wide.

WOLFRAM ALFA RESPONDED:

Thank you for contacting Wolfram|Alpha. Unfortunately there are two issues with answering this question. The first issue is that it is unknown how fast temperatures will be rising over the next decades, and as a result how much ice will melt that will cause the oceans to rise.

The other issue, is that even if we did know how much water we would have to remove, once it is removed and desalinated and put somewhere out in the nature, it will at the end of the day still flow back into the oceans and cause a sea level rise. So, what fraction of the water do we assume to be kept on land?

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

WE FOLLOWED UP:

01  Water can be used to restock aquifers that have dropped substantially but not yet below sea level where they are subject to salination.  Hence, knowing the volume of the available space in existing aquifers that can be restocked is a partial answer to how much seawater can be desalinated and “stored” rather than returned.

02  Water is now subject to splitting by solar power into hydrogen for power and oxygen for other uses.  A series of calculations could be devised to project how much water might be consumed in this fashion, again not returning to the ocean.

03  The restoration of the Dead Sea and the Aral Sea, and the recovery of the deserts into agricultural heavens, will assuredly result in a great deal of evaporation and return to the oceans in the form of rain, but surely there must be a considerable amount that would be absobed by agriculture fro growth or by the ground in the process of restoring the fertility of those areas.