As temperatures across the globe have increased, the rate of melting glaciers has also increased. An ice glacier melting is normal, right? Right. Ice glaciers either break off into smaller icebergs and melt directly into the sea, or melt on land and form rivers that will empty into the sea. However, the glacier ice is melting faster today than it was ever expected to and as a result, it is taking a serious toll on the Earth.
A few teensy problems the Earth is currently facing/will face:
· Global warming
o Ice glaciers are able to deflect almost 80% of the heat from the sun, absorbing the remaining 20%. This figure gets reversed when sunlight falls on earth, 80% being absorbed and 20% being deflected. This in turn helps in increasing global temperatures, thus leading to an increase in the temperature of sea water, which leads to icebergs melting faster. Adding to this is the expansion of sea water, leading to a rise in sea water levels.
· Fresh water shortage
o Of the Earth’s water supply, just over 2% is freshwater that is fit for human use. Over 70% of this freshwater comes from glaciers, and the subsequent melting supplies living things through lakes and rives.
· Reduced agricultural output
o Some areas of agriculture depend on water emanating from ice glaciers. During the dry seasons there will be a shortage of fresh water from ice glaciers, making the land dry and unsuitable for agriculture. Total agricultural output will reduce, leading to food shortages.
· Shortage of electricity
o There are many regions on Earth that rely solely on the constant flow of water from melting glaciers for the production of electricity and once this flow of water is reduced or stops, the production of electricity will stop too.
· Excessive flooding/Rise in sea-level
o In areas where the sea glaciers are on higher altitudes, flooding is destined to occur. When the glaciers melt too rapidly, it causes the flooding of rivers and creation of new lakes which could cause serious devastation for the ecological environment surrounding them. In addition to this, as the sea-level rises coastal regions across the globe will have to relocate due to flooding, soil erosion, et cetera. One city that would be at risk is British Columbia’s own Richmond.
· Coral reefs will vanish
o Corals require sunlight for photosynthesis to survive. As the sea level rises, not enough sunlight will reach these corals, deteriorating their quality and possibly even killing them with time
· Earth will get recontaminated
o Many people today have never heard of DDT and other pesticides that were banned worldwide years ago. Most of these pesticides became airborne and were finally deposited in cool areas containing glaciers and up to a few years ago, these harmful chemicals remained trapped within the ice layers. The rapid melting of these glaciers release chemicals back into the environment, and into many lakes and rivers formed by these melting glaciers.
So folks, forget about 2012. If global warming trends continue, we can kiss everything we’ve ever known goodbye as we slide down our long, painful, slippery slope to our demise.