There was a time when glaciologists had to climb the peaks of steep mountains to study the glaciers. Today, however, the glaciers are reported to have melted down significantly to a level which glaciologists can negotiate with greater ease. On an average, glaciers around the world have been displaced 860 ft. from their former position in 1970. This presents an ever increasing danger in areas around those mountains because it is quite possible that one day, in the not so distant future, those mountains can become submerged by water from melting glaciers.
Global Warming and Glacier Meltdowns
Projects like Global Land Ice Measurement have enabled man to peek into the fury that the future has in store for Planet Earth and its residents. Data captured by satellites along with mathematical calculations have caused scientists to raise alarms and warn people about the possible threats of global warming. The connection between global warming and glacier meltdowns is one of the most frightening prospects in the present era, and the statistics obtained and studied substantiate this very real possibility.
Global Warming and Rising Temperatures
Global warming is mainly a result of rising concentrations of greenhouse gases like methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and water vapor. The thermal activities of these gases cause the temperature of the Earth to increase by trapping or absorbing the infra-red radiation of the sun. Some infra-red rays are bounced back from the Earth while some are absorbed by these gases. An increase in these gases means that more infra-red rays are being absorbed, causing the overall atmospheric temperature to rise. Ideally the Earths average temperature should be 59 °F cooler than it is at present. Because of these greenhouse gasses, temperatures will just continue to rise which exponentially increases the likelihood of melting glaciers.
The Disappearance of Glaciers
The alarming speed with which the concentration of greenhouse gases is increasing portends serious consequences for humans, flora and fauna on the planet. Glaciers are melting at a fast pace, endangering the sustenance of life on Earth. Glaciers will soon threaten the existence of living organisms on Earth as they continue to melt and cause sea levels to rise at a rate of 1-2 millimeters per year. In the last 40 years, the rate of reduction in glaciers neighboring Alaska and Canada has been reported to be 9 feet per year. Some ice fields in South America are expected to disappear completely by 2020. The Arctic cap has thinned from 10 feet in 1970 to 7 feet in 2005, causing a number of natural catastrophes like volcanic eruptions, heat waves, storms and earthquakes in Greenland and other nearby areas.
There are approximately 1800 glaciers on Earth and huge portions of these glaciers are disappearing into the oceans every year. In the last 10 years alone, large masses of ice equivalent to 10 times the area covered by India have melted away into the oceans. Activities like El Niño will continue to occur more frequently and in greater magnitudes if the current climatic trend continues.