Global Warming | Cause debatable, Impacts alarming

Snapshot: Last 100 years Earth’s temperature has increased by ½° Celsius. So global warming is not a threat? Wrong!

Even a slight rise in the global temperature can lead to devastating effects; more concerned will be those liviantarctic_temps.AVH1982-2004ng in the coastal area. The incremental rise in temperature over the years has caused rapid melting of several glaciers in Antarctica leading to 160 billion tonnes/year ice-loss into the ocean, twice the amount of a few years ago, according to a resent study published in Science. Antarctica is the source the world’s largest ice sheets and fresh water. NASA has also voiced its concern and estimated that the glaciers’ retreat may have already “reached the point of no return.” Such shedding of ice would increase the sea level by ~4 feet and consequently decrease the land to water ratio; growing population, reducing land space – the problem is clear and at the door-step!

Although in recent years, overall global surface temperatures haven’t risen as quickly as in the past, even as emissions of so-called greenhouse gases have continued to grow, leading some skeptics to suggest that global warming has already peaked. In their view, predictions of dire future climate consequences—such as the ice melt and sea-level rises projected here—are overblown. Well, for those naysayers here are some fun facts – Antarctica holds about 60% of the planet’s fresh water, locked into the millions of cubic miles of polar ice sheets. If these ice sheets melt they would increase sea levels around the world by 10 feet or so. What are the impacts? Around 950 million people (~14% of the entire world population) live in coastal areas within 30 feet of sea level, and a rise of 1.34 feet of sea level, lets say in Bangladesh, would create 7–10 million climate refugee – scary, isn’t it?

Until now, polar experts were confident that the ice sheet of Antarctica, which is much larger than its Arctic counterpartpolar-ice-caps-map, can be hold intact by the coastal glaciers anchored to the sea floor. However, warming of ocean water has caused these ice-sheets to float freely, and melt more rapidly. According to the aforementioned study published in Science, it could take from 200 to 900 years for the entire ice sheet to melt. We may not be able to stop the process, but we can slow it down with consensus, educated and smart choices for a better tomorrow – United We Stand!

from Bhaskar Chanda


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