In his words of wisdom, Wallace Broecker, defines “climate as an angry beast and we are poking at it with sticks”. The wrath of the ‘angry plant’ is being felt in different parts of the world. From sudden flash floods to the rise in the sea level to the shrinkage of the Glacial environment. Scientists have incriminated high rich carbon fuel sources in the production of greenhouse gases. These gases are squarely responsible for the climate changes that you are witnessing, and if all the glaciers melted, chaos will be the only result.
Global Warming As Precursor of Glacier Retreat
Global warming is the average increment of atmospheric temperature at the surface of the Earth. With increased human activities that generate gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane (collectively termed as greenhouses gases) heat trap being radiated from the earth surface is the norm. Consequently, causing the earth surface temperature to rise.The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) categorically lays the blame of glacial retreat in the past 50 years on greenhouse gases.
The rate at which glacial retreating is taking place hasn’t gone unnoticed. Under the umbrella of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists are taking measures to avoid a full blown glacier retreat catastrophe. Below are some of the potential environmental impacts of glacier retreats.
Rise in Sea Level
Glacial earth coverage according to NSIDC stands at 10 percent. 75 percent of the glacial earth cover holds fresh water. God forbid, that you should witness a scenario when the 10 % coverage shrinks to zero. Coastal town will be submerged. According to Bill Nye, a science educator, total glacier retreat will result in a rise of up to 70 meters of sea level. To put this into perspective, parts of the most populous town in the world such as Mumbai, Shanghai and Sao Palo will be wiped out from the map! That means, displacement of human population along the coastal towns and humongous economic damages.
Fauna and Flora of the Marine Ecosystem
An alteration to the glacial coverage of the earth surface is tantamount to the destruction of certain marine animal’s habitat (home). Simply put as habitat destruction will result in rapid mass migration: a phenomenon that environmentalist term as climate velocity. Speed and ability to shift habitats are key for animal and plant survival. Akin to the mythological race between the tortoise and hare. With extinction being the penalty of being last. The ‘tortoises’ in the climate change velocity race of the Arctic’s such as the polar bears and walruses are on a path of extinction.
A Possibility of Insatiable Thirst
With the majority (70%) of the world water coverage being saline, humans look up to the melting glaciers as the reservoir of their freshwater supply. Unfortunately, when the glacier melts faster than the river and lake capacity can hold, the resulting water surplus is wasted once it’s emptied in the ocean. The saddest part of this scenario is that the rapid increase of water volume is temporary. Once the source (glacier) runs dry, freshwater scarcity will set a cascade of reactions. Conflicts and competition over the limited fresh water resources are bound to occur. Central Asia is case in point of a region under tension as a result of freshwater scarcity.
The thought of a world minus a glacial cover should send shivers up and down your spine. The consequence of such a scenario is disturbing if not fatal both to the human life and its ecosystem. The progression of glacial retreat is a slow process. Therefore, you have a responsibility to instigate remedial measure to confine the thoughts of a universe minus glaciers as wishful thinking.