Mongolia to Trial Natural Air Con The capital city of Mongolia, Ulan Bator, is planning to stay cool in the hot and humid summer months by ignoring air conditioning in favour of creating an enormous artificial urban glacier. An interesting plan indeed, if somewhat a little strange! It has been reported that the capital city of the country will try to capture some of the very cool winter temperatures in enormous ice blocks that will slowly melt over the summer, and then cool the city. The aim is to build artificial ice shields, known as “naleds”, that will occur naturally in climates in far northern areas of the globe. Naleds can also grow to be over seven metres thick. That sure is one giant block of ice! Furthermore, they grow when the river water pushes through cracks in the surface of the ice during the day, and then freezes at night time, and thus creates an extra layer of ice. ECOS & EMI, a Mongolian engineering consortium, is set to attempt to replicate this process by drilling several bore holes into the ice that is currently forming over the Tuul River. This process will be repeated again and again throughout the winter months in order to thicken the ice considerably. It is interesting to note that the North Korean military used naleds to build river crossings for tanks during the winter, and Russia has also previously used them as drilling platforms. However, engineers normally see them as a threat to railways and bridges. So it is not all positive news surrounding naleds. The Anglo-Mongolian firm believes that their proposed use in Ulan Bator may set a positive example that will allow northern cities around the world to save on summer air conditioning costs, regulate drinking supplies, and create cool microclimates. A Mongolian based geologist, Robin Grayson, has stated: “Everyone is panicking about melting glaciers and icecaps, but nobody has yet found a cheap, environmentally friendly alternative. If you know how to manipulate them, naled ice shields can repair permafrost and build cool parks in cities.” A naled is thought to work in a climate where the winter months dip to as low as somewhere between -5˚C and -20˚C and where the summer months are unbearably hot. However, there is yet to be any proof that such a plan could work, and, evidently they will not be possible in a climate such as the one we have here in Great Britain, and it is therefore expected that sales of air conditioning units will likely remain the same, if not increase, in the UK next year.