1. PF Contest - Win "Conquering the Physics GRE" book! Click Here to Enter
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Iceberg melting rate

  1. Apr 4, 2015 #1
    So I'm trying to model the process of towing an iceberg from Antarctica to elsewhere to use for fresh water.

    I hit a dead end trying to find how much of the iceberg would be left. I know it takes 333 J/g to melt ice and the mass of the iceberg is 7 million tons so i know how much energy it would take in total to melt the iceberg. I have also come up with an equation T(x) that represents the temperature of water at a distance x from the equator. I however cannot find out how much heat energy the ocean provides the iceberg.

    A simpler way to think of this is if a cube of ice was in an open system of water where the water just keeps heating the ice without changing temperature. Any insight such as rate or anything would be really helpful.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2015 #2
    This has been attempted in the 1960s. There are way too many factors involved to make a good estimate that is any better than a guess. And the idea is not cost effective. A better way to get fresh water where it is needed would be to use solar energy to desalinate sea water. A will engineered solar system would provide all the fresh water humans would ever need at a very low cost.
  4. Apr 5, 2015 #3
    You need to get the "heat transfer coefficient" from the water to the ice. Treat the iceberg as a vertical cylinder that is being pulled through the water at a constant velocity. This is the same as a stationary cylinder with water flowing past it. Look up in a heat transfer book or online something like "external heat transfer to (or from) a cylinder." This will give you the equations you need to determine the heat transfer coefficient.

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook