The Effects of Global Warming on Ice and Its Impact on Our Planet
A World Without Ice provides an understanding of what it would be like to live in a world without ice.
We take for granted our access to ice, whether we use it for refreshment drinks or ice-skating, but polar and glacial ice have a decisive effect on Earth’s climate.
Unfortunately, due to the emission of huge amounts of greenhouse gases, our planet is warming and this is leading to ice melting at a rapid rate.
This book looks at the consequences of this loss of ice – from the impact on our environment, to the economic repercussions.
It also explores ways in which climate change can be addressed and discusses other fascinating topics such as landscapes sculpted by ice and why refugees could result from changing climate conditions.
If you want to find out more about how we got here, what it means for us now and how we can counter it – A World Without Ice offers an enlightening insight into this matter.
We Should Be More Concerned About the Impact of our Actions at Home Than Tourism at the Poles
For centuries the Arctic and Antarctic have captivated the minds of explorers and adventurers alike.
Though many presume that these two poles are rather similar, they are in fact quite different.
The first difference lies in their location.
The South Pole is located 850 miles inland on Antarctica, while the North Pole lies 450 miles away from land in the waters of the Arctic Ocean.
In terms of ice masses, while both contain vast quanties of ice, it is distributed differently between them.
Whereas the South Pole sits deep beneath a sea of 10,000 feet, the North Pole floats above only a relatively thin layer of 10 – 20 feet thick ice.
Additionally, the rates at which these polar regions shift are also significantly varied.
Unlike its south pole counterpart, with an annual movement speed of 30 – 40 feet each year, North Polar Ice averages 3 – 4 miles each day!
These facts aside, humans have continued to be captivated by both areas for centuries and further exploration is still encouraged today through tours and trips for tourists to observe reindeer, walrus and polar bears in their natural habitat or penguins southwardly at the Antarctic!
The Importance of Ice in Regulating Earth’s Climate
Ice and the greenhouse effect are two of the key players in maintaining our planet’s climate.
Ice has unique properties that make it important to our environment, such as its ability to expand when frozen and its reflective properties that keep heat away from Earth’s polar regions.
In addition to this, there is also the natural greenhouse effect which is caused by a variety of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere.
These gases help keep heat within Earth’s atmosphere, acting like a blanket for warm air.
However, due to humans burning fossil fuels, we now have an increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contributing to an anthropogenic greenhouse effect which has had a major role in throwing Earth’s climate out of balance.
Without ice and the greenhouse effect working together, we would be living on an entirely different planet!
Earth’s History of Ice Ages Revealed in Its Signature Landscapes
Our planet’s history is filled with ice ages, and those ice ages have left behind many visible markers.
By examining the chemical composition of shells in ocean sediments on the ocean floor, scientists can draw conclusions about past water levels – a telltale sign of an ice age.
The landscape also reveals clues to earlier ice ages.
Ice can be powerful enough to breakup and crush rocks, leaving behind scenes strewn with rocks of all sizes.
It even has enough force to sculpt mountains and carve valleys – like Norway’s famous Fjords – as well as to fill lower lands with lakes like Scandinavia currently does today.
In short, our planet’s many ice ages over history have shaped our seas and landscapes, forming geological features that still exist today.
We Can Look to Tree Rings and Polar Ice Sheets to Understand Our Climate History – and Thermometers Foretell an Unequivocal Future
Several scientific methods are available to us that allow us to accurately reconstruct past climate patterns and, by doing so, confidently confirm the current global warming situation.
One of these is the analysis of tree rings.
By looking at the thickness of each growth ring within a tree’s trunk, experts can determine what types of conditions (not too hot or cold, not too wet or dry) existed in a given year; thicker rings reflecting more favourable conditions for growth.
Another method we can use to investigate historic climate change is examining the layers of ice within polar ice sheets.
Compression from yearly accumulations of snow create distinct layers that are accurately dated – thick annual layers indicating greater snowfall during particular years.
The Impact of Human Activity on Climate Change: The Causes and Consequences of Our Reliance on Fossil Fuels and Deforestation
It’s widely accepted that human activity is the cause of rapid global warming, and this has been true for centuries.
Humans have altered the land by logging and burning forests to make room for housing and agricultural land.
This releases the CO2 stored in trees into the atmosphere and contributes to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect.
And as our population continues to grow, this increases deforestation in many parts of the world such as Indonesia and Brazil.
But perhaps more significant are the industrial activities like extraction and burning of fossil fuels which have had an even bigger impact on climate change since the 18th century.
The use of coal, petroleum, and natural gases has resulted in 22 percent increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere between 1958-2009 alone.
Despite knowing these activities contribute to global warming, humans rely heavily on fossil fuels for their daily productivity needs, making it one of main drivers behind climate change.
Rising Sea Levels from Climate Change Put Millions of Lives at Risk
Climate change isn’t some abstract phenomenon that will happen far off in the future– it is impacting our lives today in concrete ways.
Take for instance glacial ice, which many municipal systems, agriculture and millions of people rely on for their water source.
When temperatures rise, ocean levels rise as well since water expands at higher temperatures.
This can cause catastrophic flooding and displace 100,000,000 people who live on terrain no more than three feet above sea level!
Not to mention the fact that a warmer world will mean less meltwater arriving when it is needed most– this could lead to water shortages and even war, making climate change an increasingly urgent problem.
There’s no question that climate change has tangible impacts on our environment and society today– we all need to take action to mitigate its effects now or else face potentially devastating consequences in the years to come.
We Can’t Stop Climate Change, but We Can Mitigate It with Sustainable Solutions
Climate change is an unavoidable reality, but we do have the power to manage and mitigate its effects.
The amount of greenhouse gases that have already been emitted into the atmosphere means that Earth will still warm by at least 1°F, no matter what steps we take today.
While it may not be possible to fully reverse the damage done by emissions, we can certainly work towards slowing down and even reversing its effects on our planet.
This can be done through energy-efficiency measures in transportation, manufacturing, and household appliances, which could help reduce the amount of new GHGs entering the atmosphere.
We can also look towards alternative energy sources such as solar or wind power which don’t produce any greenhouse gases.
Geothermal home heating and cooling systems are also available in certain areas to help offset electricity use.
The final message from A World Without Ice is a clear one: The climate is changing, and we all have a part to play in managing it.
Through the use of scientific evidence, we can identify how our man-made climate change is impacting the planet and what effects it will have on our future.
We must act swiftly and responsibly if we are to avoid the consequences that global warming can bring.
But this doesn’t mean that all hope is lost: There are still ways for us to mitigate the worst effects of climate change by learning how to manage it better.
This book serves as an urgent reminder of the need for us to take immediate action in order to build a more sustainable future for our planet.