On September 9th a 9-10 ton ice cube, with 80 inch (6.7 ft) sides, is going to be placed in Occidental Park in downtown Seattle. The temporary ‘art’ installation is designed by Seattle architecture firm Olson Kundig (OK), and will ‘showcase the stages of the natural water cycle as the ice shifts from opaque to translucent’. I see weather blogger Cliff Mass has issued a challenge to his readers : to estimate the amount of time it will take for the cube to melt. Hmm. Some of the calculation will involve very well known parameters, such as the Specific Heat Capacity* of Ice (2.108 kJ/kgK) and the Latent Heat of Melting** (334 kJ/kg). What one would have to estimate: what the starting temperature of the block of ice will be (it could be well below freezing), and what the surrounding temperature will be.
*The energy required to raise the temperature of one unit of mass of a given substance by a given amount (usually one degree).
**The energy it takes to melt ice and make it into water, with no temperature change.