An Icy End
Even in better times, glaciers around the world are already experiencing the scourging heat of the sun. Glaciers around the world are experiencing decline in their volume and surprisingly the rate is faster than expected. The impact of thawing glaciers post a threat to the world’s climate and human activity should be blamed. Most scientists believed that the impact of thawing glaciers should be taken seriously rather than being complacent about the real facts. Recent environmental studies conclude that the glaciers we see today may not be even present at all in the next generations.
Scientist believed that thawing process is just a part of a big cycle which the earth experiences from time to time; however the thawing which the glaciers are in now is very alarming. Scientists discovered that glaciers and ice layers are very touchy. They learned that the glaciers melt faster when after it initially melted. When glaciers melt, they reveal the dark rocks underneath the sheets of ice. These dark rocks can absorb heat from the sun and speeds the thawing of the sheets of ice covering it, thus darker rocks are unraveled which melts more ice. This behavior increased the rate of decline in the volume of glaciers.
Scientists considered that human activity over the past years is responsible for the drastic climate change. Burning of fossil fuels and the use of chlorofluorocarbons, commonly known as CFCs, are the main sources that caused temperature increase. Fossil fuels are carbon based fuels which comes from the remains of deceased organism which undergone the process of catagenesis. Catagenesis is the process of converting deceased organisms to fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are considered non-renewable sources of energy because it takes a million years for it to form. Burning fossil fuels released carbon into the air in the form of carbon dioxide molecules. Carbon dioxide molecules have the ability to hold heat coming from the sun, hence increasing the global temperature which thaws the glaciers in the Artic regions. Scientists discovered that there has been a significant increase in the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere compared to the previous decades. This has been believed as the cause of global warming.
Chlorofluorocarbons, also known as CFCs are responsible for destroying the Ozone layer, which acts as an invisible blanket that shield the Earth from the harmful UV rays of the sun. The destruction of the ozone layer translates to an increased in the harmful rays entering the planet. This also increases the global temperature which leads to the thawing process.
Glaciers are served as the largest fresh water reservoir in the world and if these glaciers melt, the water goes right into the oceans. If this happens, there would be a change in the water chemistry of the sea. The ocean acts as a big conveyer belt that serves as a thermostat for the planet. This conveyer belt is powered by the ocean’s temperature and salinity. When glaciers melt, it disrupts the ocean’s conveyer belt by changing the ocean’s temperature and salinity. This would cause a drastic change in the climate around the world. According from the movie “Inconvenient Truth”, Al Gore stated that the sudden stop of the ocean’s conveyer belt may send world to the next ice age.
Glaciers have been magnificent wonders of nature; however constant fossil fuel burning and other human activities threaten them to disappear. The solution for this is reform. We should go for renewable sources of energy that do not harm the nature. The thawing process may still be fix if only the people would address it as a threat and not just any problem.
Glick, D.(2004). GeoSigns: The Big Thaw. National Geographic Magazine.
Gore, A.(2006). The Inconvenient Truth. Paramount Home Entertainment.