The world in 2018 was 1.5F (0.83C) warmer than the average set between 1951 and 1980, said Nasa and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). This means 2018’s average global temperatures were the fourth warmest since 1880, placing it behind 2016,
2017 and 2015.
What Are The Effects Of Melting Glaciers?
Shortage of Freshwater
About 75% of the freshwater is trapped in glaciers with 90% of this freshwater bearing glaciers being located in the Antarctic.
With an accelerated melting rate that outstrips the replacement of the ice, more of the freshwater is lost into oceans where they mix with saline waters.
Soon enough there will be no freshwater left for a growing human population.
The accelerated melting of the glaciers produces more water that rivers could handle, this water spills out and floods areas whose streams
source their waters from the glaciers. With no water harvesting plans in place, such floods end up displacing people and animals, as well as
destroying farms and residential areas.
Extinction of Animals
Polar bear and Penguins numbers have been declining over the years due to the disappearance of ice in North and South Pole.
This loss of habitat has also impacted their source of food, and as a result, they are now an endangered species.
Disappearance of Coral Reefs
With rising sea levels however coral reefs are dying out across the planet as they no longer receive
sufficient sunlight and this directly affects fish populations which in turn affects the people who depend on the sea to survive.
Therefore, food shortage crisis is looming ahead.
A Return of Lethal Diseases
As the ice continues to thaw some of these trapped viruses, bacteria, and
chemicals are at risk of being released back into circulation, if this were to occur humanity could be faced with diseases that could wipe life off the
The Release of Methane Gas
There is a lot of natural gas trapped under the glaciers.
As the glaciers melt they become lighter with cracks forming. These movements create fissures through which large quantities of methane gas get
released into the atmosphere further accelerating global warming by trapping heat from the surface.
Hydro-electric power depends on rivers which get their water from highlands. These highlands and mountains have ice which melts during the warm months
to produce streams which join up to form rivers which power hydro-electric turbines. As the ice disappears rivers are shrinking, and eventually they will
dry up and effectively spell the end of hydro-electric power which a considerable percentage of the human population depend.
An Increase in Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions
Ice glaciers weigh a lot with some even being described as mini-continents. The pressure that giant icebergs exert on earth help keep in check
the tectonic movements underground. As the glaciers melt rapidly, however, this pressure is reduced allowing geological process more room for reactions
and movements, this gives rise to violent earthquakes that suddenly release all that trapped energy.
Tsunamis and volcanic eruptions will also increase with time causing destruction and death in places that never had any history of earthquakes.
Causes of Melting Ice Glaciers
Burning of fossil fuels
The burning of fossil fuels has resulted in the buildup of greenhouse gases in the environment thus influencing the warming trend because they trap heat
in the atmosphere. The increase in temperatures is causing more and more glaciers to melt, consequently, this ends up exposing the earth underneath.
Research shows that glaciers are capable of absorbing about 20% of heat from the sun, reflecting back the remaining 80%. So exposing the earth changes
this, because now the earth absorbs most of the heat and reflects a lesser percentage. This is a vicious cycle which has already affecting most parts
of the planet and will be quite problematic to stop if solutions are not put in place in the shortest time possible.
According to NASA’s repeated research on global warming, it shows that the edges of Greenland’s ice sheet are shrinking fast. Furthermore,
the glaciers in the Garhwal Himalaya in India are receding at a rapid rate that it is believed that they will be practically gone by 2035.
Oil and gas drilling
The oil and gas extraction process also emits Methane, which is the main constituent in natural gas. Plus, the gas is more damaging to the environment
than carbon dioxide, locking in heat more efficiently and escalating global warming. 21% of the greenhouse gas emissions including methane in the United
States come from oil, gas and coal that have been removed from government lands.
Avoidable seeping out and flawed infrastructure in natural gas manufacturing are so frequent that they add considerably to methane pollution in and around
the regions. Oil and gas companies also time and again intentionally release methane into the atmosphere through emitting, the restricted discharge of natural
gas, and burning some of it in the air.
Trees play a very important function in balancing of the ecosystem and the overall cooling of the planer. Perhaps, that is why they are called the planet’s
“natural fans”. So, cutting down of trees to create more space for human activities is actually proving detrimental to the environmental balance.
Deforestation has a lot of negative effects such as the rising in the sea levels. Also, there is an increase in the release of carbon dioxide while less of
it is being absorbed by trees because they are constantly reduced in number owing to deforestation. As a result, it hastens global warming and an increase
in sea levels.
Studies conducted in Mt Kilimanjaro show that ice on the mountain has been receding and the main reason was established to be deforestation
within the surrounding areas. If the trend continues and in areas where most trees have been cleared, the ice fields at the mountain are expected
to disappear completely in few years to come.
Ice breaking ships
During the months of summer, ice breaking ships head to the north into the Arctic Ocean, breaking through the ice at sea, the ships end up leaving
trails of open waters. The Arctic sea ice is able to reflect most of the heat thus aiding in keeping the arctic and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere cool.
Therefore, scientists confirm that continued heating of the water will increase warming and losing of sea ice in the Arctic. NSIDC scientist Walt Meier
said that even in summer, the sea ice is able to reflect at least 50% of the sun’s heat, the ocean is only capable of reflecting approximately 10% of
the heat while 90% is absorbed therefore warming the ocean and the environment.
Easy Ways You Can Stop the Arctic Ice from Melting
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce garbage by choosing reusable products. If it is something that can’t be reused, try to purchase products
with minimum packaging. Recycle paper, plastic, glass, newspaper, and aluminum.
Save gas and walk more
When you save a gallon of gas you can help keep 20 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere. You also get lots of
benefits by walking to the office, school, or grocery store.
Plant a tree
Plants absorb CO2 and produce oxygen. Planting a tree can help balance the increases of CO2.
How much of the food in your grocery store is imported from across the world? Transportation is a major
contributor of greenhouse gasses. Eat locally grown food to reduce transportation emissions.
Use less heat and air conditioning
Use less air conditioning and heat, or just keeping your house 2 degrees lower in winter
or 2 degrees higher in summer can make a big difference.
Turn off the lights, television, PC, or any other electrical devices when not in use.
Use less hot water
Simple social fixes like setting your water heater at 120 degrees, using low flow shower heads, washing your
clothes in cold water, or using the energy saving setting on your dishwasher can go a long way.
Inform family, friends, and colleagues about how they can reduce their carbon footprint by following the tips above.