Now You See it, Now You Don’t
If most people don’t believe in climate change simply because they think there is no visible evidence, then they have not looked at the horde of glaciers that have vastly melted within recent years. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, “From 1941 to 2004, the front of the glacier moved back about seven miles while its thickness decreased by more than 2,625 feet” (Muir Glacier, Alaska). Climate change has a vast array of evidence however glacial melt is by far the most evident of them all with “Forty-six gigatons of ice from Alaskan glaciers were lost on average each year from 2003 to 2010” (NASA). With such enormous loss of ice from the glaciers comes the abundance of water that in turn leads to certain sea level rise. Glacial melt is one of the most visible sights of climate change and it continues to worsen each year. Not only will it begin to flood coastal cities but it will soon devastate many worldwide.
Though there are numerous effects we are beginning to see due to climate change, glacial melt is becoming problematic for every country around the world. In a recent article published by National Geographic, author Daniel Glick states:
“Thawing permafrost has caused the ground to subside more than 15 feet (4.6 meters) in parts of Alaska. From the Arctic to Peru, from Switzerland to the equatorial glaciers of Man Jaya in Indonesia, massive ice fields, monstrous glaciers, and sea ice are disappearing, fast.”
When these freshwater glaciers begin to mix in the different salinities the ocean has to offer, we begin to see problems in many areas of the spectrum. Sea levels will continue to rise, erosion will continue to intensify and coastal cities will begin to subsidize, and temperamental storms are only a glance of what scientists believe is to come.
On the other hand, many people choose to argue the fact that our climate has always been changing for as long as we’ve known which is true however climate alters as a reaction to whatever forces it to change but the science has proven that humans are roughly 97% of the problem when it comes to recent changes in our climate. Numerous people also believe that extreme weather conditions aren’t due to climate change but are normal and although that is true, the weather is often intensified and made more frequent due to climate change. That being said, glacial ice can range in age from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of years old making them extremely beneficial to climate change evidence. As stated by Daniel Fagre, the lead USGS scientist on the Geological Survey (USGS) and Portland State University project:
“Over the past 50 years, some of the glaciers have shrunk about 82 percent, so they won’t be with us soon. For others, shrinkage has been more modest — about 13 percent. But the amount of ice in all cases is diminished, so the long-term prospects for our glaciers are not good.”
The evidence is not only clear but definitive that glacial melt is directly correlated to the effects of climate change.
A glacier is not like an ice cube in the sense that it melts fast, but once they start to melt they will steadily continue to melt and the damage is near impossible to reverse. We are beginning to see signs of extreme natural disasters, global temperature rises, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, sea level rise, and ocean acidification, all of which have a greater effect on our planet as a whole and can be tied back to the rising issue of climate change. That being said we can help take action to prevent the disasters we will begin to see due to climate change in order to slow down the effects of glacial melting and save our oceans from flooding the places we call home.