The capital of Mongolia is undertaking a bold initiative to regulate temperature and water supply.

Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, swings between winter lows of -20C and summer highs of 23C. Bordering a semi-arctic climate of patchy permafrost, it is on average the coldest national capital in the world and experiences only 8.5 inches of precipitation a year. In such a naturally cold and dry environment, variances in rainfall because of climate change could be catastrophic, resulting in floods and washouts or devastating droughts.

In order to ensure steady public water access during the summer months and to reduce the demand for air conditioning, Ulan Bator is undertaking a unique experiment that uses the bitterly cold winters to its advantage. The city will create a huge block of ice during the colder months that will melt slowly over the summer, providing fresh water and local cooling to counteract the urban heat island effect.

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