The Impact of Melting Ice Caps

782 WordsJan 28, 20183 Pages
The Impact of Melting Ice Caps There is a large amount research demonstrating the impact of global warming on our planet. As the overall temperature of the Earth increases, ice and snow masses are melting. As more ice and snow is lost, the ocean’s sea levels are rising. Additionally with less ice and snow, less sun light is reflected into space and instead it is absorbed by the planet. The continual absorption of the heat in sunlight gradually warms the planet along with other factors. Therefore, the loss of ice caps, glaciers, and snow is furthering the increase in the temperature of the planet. The polar ice caps play an enormous role in regulating the Earth’s temperature. According to Montgomery (2008), polar ice reflects close to 90 percent of rays from the sun back into space. However, our dark oceans only bounce back around 10 percent of solar radiation (Calvin, 2008). One of the most important properties of that both ice and snow share is a very high albedo. Albedo is the amount of solar radiation reflected from an object or a surface (Cousineau, 2011). As glaciers and ice caps melt due to a process called thermal expansion, the tendency of matter to change in volume as a response to a change in temperature (Archer, 2007), our ocean’s sea levels are rising at an extremely fast rate. Worldwide our sea levels have risen 4- 8 inches throughout the 20th century (Wunderground, 2013). With the loss of ice caps and the gain of more water in our oceans less and
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