The Ice cover of Earth is melting in many places and at increased rates than any other time since record keeping started.
Reports from throughout the world compiled by the World Watch Institute shows that global ice melting increased during the 1990s-which was the warmest decade on record.
Scientists and space researchers suspect that the increased ice melting is among the first observable signs of human-induced global warming which is caused by an unprecedented release of carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gases over the last century.
Glaciers and other ice features are specifically sensitive to slight temperature changes globally. In fact, new scientific studies give a further warning of the rising vulnerability of Antarctic glaciers to accelerate melting as temperatures increase in the Southern Ocean.
European researchers have also warned that the reduction of the Antarctic ice shelf means that the glaciers’ flow on the frozen continent could rise, with a consequent increase in sea levels!
The Arctic sea ice has also reduced in size dramatically since the 1960s and 70s.Between this particular period and mid-1990s, the average thickness of sea ice dropped from 3.1-1.8 meters. A decline of almost 40% in a span of less than 30 years.
The Arctic’s Greenland Ice Sheet- the biggest mass of land-based ice outside of Antarctica, with 8% of the world’s ice has also thinned over one meter annually on average since 1993 along parts of its eastern and southern edges.
We often do not think about ice melting too much, not unless there is none in the freezer and unwillingly, we have to drink a warm can of Coke! Artificial refrigeration has existed for almost a century now, and it is safe to mention that we take ice melting for granted. However, the hard, cold, slippery truth is that ice melting deserves significant consideration that- and not just type you put in your drink. The IceCaps can be compared to a canary in the gold mine since it will tell you exactly when it is time to begin worrying about Global warming! In the past 100 years, the global temperature increased by ½ degree Celsius. What is the huge deal? Based on a world scale, it is not easy to make the temperature fall or rise. It is not the same as a given country or a smaller geo facing many changes in temperatures. Degrees are essential when we are talking about the entire planet.
Below are some Ice melting facts which you might find interesting and to some extent alarming:
- Antarctica at the South Pole of our planet has nearly 90% of the world’s ice. The ice covering is almost 7000 feet wide. It extends to approximately 14 million square kilometers. If all this ice is melted, the sea will significantly rise by 200 feet!
- The North Pole is usually covered by a free pack of ice, situated just over the Arctic Ocean. This ice freezes and melts depending on the changing seasons. The ice which does not melt can reach up to 3-4 meters thick. If it melts, our sea levels will not be affected.
- In the past 100 years, the Environmental Protection Agency did report that the sea level has just risen by 6-8 inches.
- The Greenland ice sheet measures about 650,000 square miles. If all this ice melts, the sea level will rise by about 20 feet.
- Many major cities are situated in low-lying coastal areas. They will be inundated in case the sea levels rise over 6 feet.
- The IPCC predicts that the sea levels could rise by 10-23inches by 2100.
- According to NASA, the polar ice caps are melting at a dangerous rate of 9% in every decade.