The earth is covered with 71% of water from seas and oceans, hence its nickname of “Blue Planet”. For several years, the issue of global warming and melting ice has raised the problem of rising water levels on our territories. What is it really?
What is the melting of the ice?
The melting ice is a phenomenon related to global warming and has long worried scientists, and more and more economists, politicians …
In order to better understand the stakes, the risks and also the solutions to avoid being engulfed, it is necessary to dig a little more into this subject.
On Earth, there are different glaciers: the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the glaciers that we find on mountainous territories (in Alaska, in Pakistan, in New Zealand…). The melting of ice affects all these glaciers. When they melt, mainly in the summer due to temperature increases, they have more and more difficulty to reform in the winter.
Why should we worry about this?
What we need to understand is the dramatic consequences of this phenomenon. For nearly 3000 years, the water level has been increasing by 0.1 to 0.2mm per year. In the 20th century, scientists have noticed an average rise of 1.8 mm per year (nearly 18cm). But the big change is much more recent, it dates from the 1990s. The rise in sea level would be 3mm per year. This is enough to start alarming some people.
There are many studies and analyses on the rise of the waters due to the recent figures. Many are different because they are based on previous years, which are not identical depending on the research organizations. It is also difficult to predict the speed at which the most important glaciers will melt. Knowing that the glaciers are connected to each other, if one melts, it may drag the others in its fall, causing a catastrophic rise in water. (Le Parisien).
So if we can not yet predict the speed of melting ice, we can still visualize the consequences.
When a glacier decreases, that it breaks, or melts, it involves numerous consequences, at the same time for the humans, the animals and the flora.
Risks involved :
Risks for fauna and flora:
The first known risk of melting ice concerns animals. The most known example, but illustrating perfectly the consequences of the global warming and the melting of the ice, concerns the ice floes. It reduces at sight of eye.
The problem is that many different species depend on the ice pack: bears, penguins, seals… . When it melts, animals are forced to migrate in order to find a territory.
Recently, in Russia, polar bears have migrated to northern cities in order to find food and survive. This migration is very alarming because it is the first time that animals have been forced to enter a populated city in order to find their primary resources. And this may not be an isolated case. The risk of animals migrating from inhabited or uninhabited areas is growing.
Risks for humans
So if the melting ice affects animals and their environment, the dangers also affect humans.
When the ice pack melts, the water level does not increase directly because the passage from the solid state to the liquid state of water does not induce an increase in the volume of water. It is actually the melting of the mountain glaciers and polar ice caps that threatens the rise in water levels. Why? Because these glaciers will melt and pour the water they contain into the current ocean currents.
There are many glaciers, many of which have already been affected by global warming.
If all these glaciers were to start melting, then the consequences would be much more worrying. Rising waters would engulf all coastal cities and force more than half of the world’s population to flee and relocate. An exodus that is not without danger, with an important economic, ecological and societal impact. We need to find solutions such as enlarging the cities, constructing buildings and housing. But how can we be sure that this will not get worse?
Although this subject is at the heart of ecological problems and many movements are being created to propose solutions, to raise awareness among the population; to implement large-scale solutions, it can take time. Our tip? Start somewhere, like with individual gestures.