University of Oulu

Karimidastenaei, Z.; Klöve, B.; Sadegh, M.; Haghighi, A.T. Polar Ice as an Unconventional Water Resource: Opportunities and Challenges. Water 2021, 13, 3220.

Polar ice as an unconventional water resource : opportunities and challenges

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Author: Karimidastenaei, Zahra1; Klöve, Björn1; Sadegh, Mojtaba2;
Organizations: 1Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, FIN-90014 Oulu, Finland
2Department of Civil Engineering, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725, USA
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-12-01


Global water resources are under pressure due to increasing population and diminishing conventional water resources caused by global warming. Water scarcity is a daunting global problem which has prompted efforts to find unconventional resources as an appealing substitute for conventional water, particularly in arid and semiarid regions. Ice is one such unconventional water resource, which is available mainly in the Arctic and Antarctic. In this study, opportunities and challenges in iceberg utilization as a source of freshwater were investigated on the basis of a systematic literature review (SLR). A search in three databases (Scopus, Web of Science, and ProQuest) yielded 47 separate studies from 1974 to 2019. The SLR indicated that harvesting iceberg water, one of the purest sources of water, offers benefits ranging from supplying freshwater and creating new jobs to avoiding iceberg damage to offshore structures. Economic considerations and risks associated with iceberg towing were identified as the main limitations to iceberg harvesting, while environmental impacts were identified as the main challenge to exploiting this resource. Assessment of trends in ice sheets in Arctic and Antarctic across different spatiotemporal scales indicated that the main sources of icebergs showed a statistically significant (p < 0.01) decreasing trend for all months and seasons during 2005–2019.

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Series: Water
ISSN: 2073-4441
ISSN-E: 2073-4441
ISSN-L: 2073-4441
Volume: 13
Issue: 22
Article number: 3220
DOI: 10.3390/w13223220
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki r.y. (MVTT), with project number 42563, to which the authors would like to express their deep gratitude.
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (