No sorry. I am not talking about The Disney film Frozen. If you were looking for that you’re going to be disappointed. But don’t leave yet! I want to chat about Ice caps.
What is an Ice cap? According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, it is a dome-like sheet of ice that covers the lands features and it can spread for kilometers in all directions.
Almost 10% of the worlds land mass is covered in frozen water in Glacier’s and ice caps. Why are they so important though, are they useful to the environment? and what is the effect climate change is having on them?
First of all, lets delve into why they are beneficial.
Useful or useless?
There is a paper written by Pal Prestrud for the International Climate and Environmental Research Centre in Oslo, Norway.
They spoke about the importance of snow and ice. Here is a quote from their paper:
The global significance of ice and snow is profound. Less ice, snow and permafrost may amplify global warming in various ways. Melting glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will raise the mean sea level. The retreating sea ice, in combination with increased supply of fresh water from melting glaciers and warmer ocean temperatures, could affect the strength of major ocean currents.Pal Prestrud
This could spell disaster for many countries who depend on the slow melt from the glaciers, carried by rivers to support their agriculture and domestic water supplies. If their water source just disappears, the people who need this water will suffer greatly.
Animals in Greeenland
Polar bears, Humpback wales, Musk Oxen, Walruses, Reindeer and White,tailed eagles. They all live either on the land, sea or in the air surrounding Greenland.
I was amazed to find that Greenland has the worlds largest national park, and that actually, the animals have a larger domain than the islanders who live there. Because the park is so big, it means that the animals can roam undisturbed by unwanted human visitors. But despite the paradisiac wilderness, a significant part of the Greenland ice sheet is on the brink of a tipping point. What does this mean?
Melting its ice sheet completely would eventually raise global sea level by 7 metres. In the event this happens, the Netherlands would be completely wiped out. Denmark would become much smaller, the Polynesian islands would be submerged. Miami & Tokyo would be rendered uninhabitable.
As a rule of thumb, for every centimetre rise in global sea level, another 6 million people are exposed to coastal flooding around the planet. On current trends, Greenland ice melting will cause 100 million people to be flooded each year by the end of the century, so 400 million in total due to sea level rise.Andrew Shepherd. NASA, scientist from university of Leeds. (Source)
So we have covered what they are, why they’re useful and what the affect climate change is having on the glaciers and icecaps. Now, we are going to discuss what can we do to help?
Do your part.
- Speak up. You can take a stand in protecting the planet by writing to government officials to stop endangering our eco system. You can take action here: Actions | NRDC
- Reduce water waste. So take shorter showers, turn off the tap if your’e not using it. (The EPA estimates that if just one out of every 100 American homes were fitted with water-efficient fixtures, about 100 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year would be saved—avoiding 80,000 tons of global warming pollution.)
- Eat the food you buy…eat less meat. Since livestock products are among the most resource-intensive to produce, eating meat-free meals can make a big difference, too. The amount of in-date food that goes into landfills in America each year could actually feed whole villages in 3rd world countries like India.
- Walk or bike. Do not drive if you don’t have to. If your destination is 5 mins away in the car, use the opportunity to get the exercise and walk or cycle, if you are able to. You could even make use of public transport!
If you are interested in learning more, head on over to the NRDC website and have a look at the different articles available.
Thank you for listening.
If you would like to join in on this project, head on over to this page to learn more! I would love it if you joined in.
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