Glaciers and Their Odds to Survive Global Warming

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It is common knowledge that Greenland is covered by an ice surface thick enough to raise the water level of the planet with 6.6 meters if it would ever melt. Still, even if the world keeps getting warmer and warmer the island’s ice remains as it was – frozen.

glacier meltingBeginning with the year 2000 the scientists have monitored the edge of the Greenland shore with great concern because the large glaciers spreading from mountains to fiords started to slip towards the ocean faster and faster every year.

A new research conducted by Andreas Vieli from Durham University of Great Britain suggests a strange paradox. In spite of the planet getting warmer the glacier melting has been slowing down.

The conclusion of the research team comes from the computer simulations of the Helheim glacier, a long surface of ice spreading towards the see in the Eastern Greenland.

Between 2001 and 2005, the glacier has lost to the sea around 28 cubic kilometers in a year, when the melting rate considered stable was 40 kilometers/year.

The largest melting surface was eroded by the warming of the ocean waters which dug the glaciers from below, carving into their structure. When ice structure is eroded it breaks up more quickly.

Since the floating” tongues” of ice are responsible for stopping the glaciers from advancing towards the sea, the sea melting them can contribute to the ice melting.

However this is no longer the case of Greenland. When the glaciers have reached the fiords they tend to stop and retreat towards the land. This type of glacier movement may mean that the Greenland contribution to the water level rising is no longer a threat. Greenland might this way be safe.

However the Antarctica remains under the same danger from the warming ocean waters. Here the ice is spreading under the waters and if the waters manage to melt it the disaster will strike.

The glaciers from the Alps are also in danger from the rising earth temperature and the most pessimistic voices say that by 2100 the sweet water reserves as well as the ocean levels will be affected beyond repair.

The climate change is affecting the entire Earth surface where ice is currently ruling. The complex consequences of the environmental changes causing them, makes the issue seem beyond repair.

What if it is up to us to stop this from happening? The question remains: is human will stronger than glaciers?

Filed Under: Eco Systems

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