Reef cooling towers
The rapid bleaching of coral reefs on Earth is another in a long list of modern ecological catastrophes. A major contributor to coral bleaching is an average rise in oceanic temperature. Theoretically, to counteract this rise in temperature, self-powered refrigeration towers can be set up in grids within and surrounding reefs to bring local temperatures to optimal conditions for reef health and regeneration.
Above-water portions of the towers will house solar and wind generation devices, as well as service and monitoring panels. Below-water portions will include tidal generators and reinforced shrouding to prevent refrigerant leakage. Each tower will emit a temperature colder than target water temperature, and the cumulative radiating effect of the network of towers will theoretically bring localized water temperature to optimal conditions for coral health. The network of refrigeration nodes will remain in constant communication in order to monitor flux in natural conditions, weather events, and to compensate for towers in need of repair or calibration.
Small platforms and storage capacity above water provide surveyors and field scientists with access to work surfaces, and stored equipment for ongoing experiments and maintenance. Periodic cooling towers (perhaps 1 in 20) within a network of cooling towers, will be equipped with subaquatic observation capsules. These capsules will allow human beings to enter an oxygenated and climate controlled pod to conduct observatory experiments, and as emergency shelter to endure storms.
The experimental technology can be tested in a very small grid, and extended only if positive result is yielded within the climate controlled area of reef. This is a possible local solution to protect critical reef habitats as the overall oceanic temperature continues to rise. This will not necessarily reduce overall oceanic temperatures, but will shield these diverse living areas from the increasingly harsh natural conditions on Earth.
An optional warming ability would aid in combatting any but the most extreme conditional variances. Should some unforeseen cooling event occur in reef restoration areas, the towers would be able to warm the surrounding water in order to maintain stable ambient temperatures and protect the local biome. Coral reefs will still have a myriad of adversities to overcome, like water PH variation due to industrial spills, leaks, and runoff, constant and rampant pollution, the possibility of fallout from nearby warfare, and gross diminishing air quality on Earth. These units would simply be a gentle shield in an effort to guard the biodiversity within and among coral reefs.
The concept is simple, and the towers can be designed in innumerable forms. The more important factors are reliability of onboard systems, durability, and most importantly a positive proof of concept. This is simply a concept generated from personal contemplation. I am not a manufacturer, and have no access to oceanic regeneration labs. This is speculation on a possible solution to a pertinent, contemporary catastrophe.
I encourage those of means and with access to resources to test the concept, and even begin development of such devices. I would love to see more steps taken to protect Earth’s fragile coral reefs.