The Problems of Glaciers Melting Essay

Decent Essays

Our planet has two glaciers of continental size, one being present on Antarctica and the other on Greenland. Observations made by scientists over the last thirty-five years all agree upon the notion of shrinking, and or retreating of the ice sheets. The melting of ice sheets has powerful implications for the millions of people who depend on glacial melt for drinking water and the millions of people who will be displaced by the sea level rise occurring as a direct result of the melting. The observations of ice melting also show that the rate at which the ice is melting is accelerating. Mountain glaciers around the world are also on the retreat. Some instances of particular mountain glaciers may show expansion, but studies done by …show more content…

A third method known as satellite gravimetry measures changes in Earth’s gravity field by deducing satellite data and determining changes in ice mass.
When considering the retreat of the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets it is important to understand how global warming is affecting the total mass and volume of the ice sheets. Global warming, put simply is affecting ice sheets in two main ways. Warmer temperatures cause higher levels of precipitation, which means more snowfall. On the contrary, warming temperatures cause ice sheets to thin and melt. Therefore we must deduce which has the greater effect. A variety of techniques, some which have been mentioned earlier have been employed over the years to measure Greenland and Antarctica’s mass balances. Various independent measurements have all agree upon a clear long-term trend showing a decline in ice mass. Confirmation has been acquired by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, which measured shifts in Earth’s gravity field. In the 1960s Greenland was losing 100 gigatonnes of ice per year, this rate slowed during the 1970s and 1980s in near mass balance. By 1996 the rate of ice mass loss had increased to 97 gigatonnes per year. As of 2007 a rapid increase of ice loss occurred, measured at 267 gigatonnes per year. In the larger scheme of things we see how the amount of precipitation vs. the amount of melting interact with each other. Earlier research suggested that the ice sheets

Get Access
Get Access