Can Arid Areas Adapt to Climate Change? Artificial Glaciers Might Help

June 12, 2018


Sonam Wangchuk is an engineer who has come up with an innovative way to provide fresh water to villages in Ladakh, one of the high-altitude deserts in the world located in the Himalayas. Wangchuk sources water from streams and uses it to create artificial glaciers, which store fresh water until it’s needed in springtime.

A certain amount of global warming is baked unavoidably into the climate cake. It is coming. We will need to adapt.
One of the most critical needs will be for communities that depend on mountain glaciers as a year round water supply – who will be in deep trouble as glaciers melt and disappear.
This might be a small scale solution. Not sure how it works at macro-scale.


This is an updated version of the short film ‘The Monk, The Engineer and The Artificial Glacier’. It has upadates about the work on the pilot project carried out in Jan- Feb 2015, appended to the original film. Through the Ice Stupa Artificial Glacier Project, Ladakh attempts to solve its water crisis caused by melting glaciers/climate change. To support this project go to

Below, Glacier experts describe the possible impacts of disappearing glaciers.


5 Responses to “Can Arid Areas Adapt to Climate Change? Artificial Glaciers Might Help”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    So, can the ice stupa projects work in Peru?

  2. grindupbaker Says:

    Ironically, the ice stupa explanation is absent only the climate science part: why is the atmospheric lapse rate there negative. It works only where there’s a stream running down hill and its water can be frozen in the colder air at lower altitude. My immediate assumption is that it’s deep ground water rather a negative atmospheric lapse. I’m going to search for details aimed at a person older than kindergarten level because entropy interests me.

    I have a socio-politico prediction: 2055 AD “Russian scientist Vladimir Nabovsky says ice stupas responsible for up to 85% of atmospheric warming !”.

  3. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Interesting, but why spend an enormous amount of energy freezing water to store it when it could be held in a lake?

    I suppose if energy was limitless and free to freeze and keep frozen then you wouldn’t need to make a dam so perhaps it could be useful.

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