So, let's be honest the global climate is warmer and is going to be even much warmer no matter what. This causes glaciers to melt and more water to move to the oceans, and rising sea levels. This also cause the water in the ocean to be warmer, and as such when above 4°C it takes up more space due to dilatation. (Even though in the 0°C-4°C range it's the other way around).

Many people live at low altitude, and relocating all those people somewhere else would be an incredibly huge human population movement that is not really foreseeable. Also the sea level is used for measuring altitude, and if it rises more than 1m it will be very annoying to measure altitude, because we would have to know against which time period's sea level the altitude is measured.

Instead it seems like a better idea to somehow prevent the sea level from moving, even though the climate is warm. So far, warming has already been very observable, but sea levels doesn't seems to have risen much yet, so I have good hopes it's going to be possible. There is several ways this could be accomplished

  • Use Netherlands-style dams to protect populations in low-altitude sea coasts
  • Use evaporation so that water is in vapor form as opposed to liquid form (but this causes even more greenhouse effect!)
  • Create artificial lakes everywhere possible to stock more water outside the sea. Also refill Aral Sea and Dead Sea who had been drying up.
  • To some extent we can use dams, but it does depends on how much the sea-level will rise. If it's 5 meters as some projections say then dams don't work anymore and parts of the Netherlands and many other countries need to be abandoned.
    – THelper
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 6:48
  • Actually sea levels have risen 130 meters in the last 20,000 years. That is pretty noticeable. Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


I'm afraid the answer is no.

Greenland alone has enough ice to raise sea-level by 7m. That is, 7m of water spread over the oceans which cover 71% of the Earth's surface. The flow of Alpine glaciers could be dammed, but this is not going to make a significant difference.

Greenland is slowly melting now, and it is unclear whether this can be stopped. There is a far greater volume of ice in Antarctica, which could raise sea-level by 100m.

The only geo-engineering options are those which reduce the global mean temperatures as fast as possible. There are still plenty of opportunities to keep the temperature rise well bellow 4K.


It sounds like what you're talking about is geoengineering:

the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system.

An interesting paper was published just last month that addresses this very question -- geoengineering strategies to limit sea level rise, specifically by reducing glacial flow: "Glacier geoengineering to address sea-level rise: A geotechnical approach". From the abstract:

[T]he high-end sea level rise threat over the next few hundred years comes almost entirely from only a handful of ice streams and large glaciers. [...] This study summarises novel and extant geotechnical techniques for glacier restraint, identifying candidates for further research. These include draining or freezing the bed; altering surface albedo; creating obstacles: retaining snow; stiffening shear margins with ice; blocking warm sea water entry; thickening ice shelves (increasing buttressing, and strengthening fractured shelves against disintegration); as well as using regional climate engineering or local cloud seeding to cool the glacier or add snow. Not all of these ideas are judged reasonable or feasible, and even fewer are likely to be found to be advisable after further consideration. By describing and evaluating the potential and risks of a large menu of responses – even apparently hopeless ones – we can increase the chances of finding one that works in times of need.

The study includes this graphic demonstrating a number of these ideas:

Glacial geoengineering ideas

The conclusion includes a quick summary of each of the more promising ideas:

  • Increasing albedo of glaciers by removing or burying dust, or by adding artificial or induced snow;
  • Drying the glacier bed by draining sediments or freezing in situ – using closed-loop thermosyphons, open-loop CO2 injection, or bedrock fracking;
  • Thickening and thus strengthening ice shelves – by adding water in winter, anchoring emerging tabular icebergs, raising pinning points, adding artificial or induced snow, or by using windbreaks to retain natural snow;
  • Jamming glacier flow – using cold shear margin water injection, ice shelf thickening & buttressing, and by creating marine pinning points;
  • Altering glaciers' wider environment, using climate engineering technologies.

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