The Effects of Melting Glaciers in the Arctic
Now, more than ever, it is vital to pay attention to the devastating effects of global warming. The rise in warmer temperatures around the world have been impacting glaciers in the Arctic, causing them to melt at an alarming rate. Researchers have discovered that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are melting much faster than expected, contributing to about 267 gigatons of ice being lost annually.
What Is Causing the Glaciers to Disappear?
Manufacturing and industrialization, the origins of global warming, have caused a rise in temperatures due to high amounts of greenhouse emissions trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. This heat results in a loss of mass and ice sheets, which cultivate when snow builds up over long periods of time. Constant exposure to hotter temperatures halts the growth of ice sheets, making it difficult for new glaciers to form in the future.
Consequences of Glacial Loss
It is predicted that all glaciers in the Arctic will be completely gone by the year 2040, which can heavily impact various aspects of human and animal life. However, these are not the only areas of life that will be affected.
1. Food Production
Glacial thawing can potentially cause rivers to seemingly vanish. This phenomenon is known as river piracy. According to the World Wildlife Fund, rivers play a major role in agriculture and irrigation. Increasing dangers to river systems could potentially jeopardize steady water and fresh food supply. Recently, an indigenous community called the Kluane First Nation experienced river piracy and are currently suffering the effects of a lack of food sources from their nearby river, the Kluane Lake in Canada, necessary for their traditional diet on their native land.
Polar bears, penguins, and many other arctic animals need glaciers to survive. Unfortunately, glacial thawing can dry up their wildlife habitats. Loss of their natural homes may leave these creatures with an inability to adapt to a warmer climate, risking extinction.
3. Sea Levels
As of now, glacial melt is responsible for 21 percent of rising sea levels. With this present rate, many communities, especially those living on the coastlines, are more susceptible to recurring floods, hurricanes, and storms.
Though it may not be possible to eliminate all greenhouse emissions from the air, it is possible to reduce the fossil fuels that supplement glacial thawing by limiting our carbon footprint, as well as continuing to spread awareness about the issue of global warming and how permanent glacial thawing can negatively impact the global society and economy alike.