Good Accelerated Glacial Melting Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Ocean, World, Glacier, Environmental Issues, Water, Environment, Development, Ice

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/09

The issue of climate change is having a substantial impact on the geographic landscape through much of the world. One of these instances is the accelerated glacial melting occurring throughout the world. Climate change effects the hydrosphere quite substantially, as this element is very susceptible to changing conditions. As such, there is scientific evidence that shows the many glaciers melting above a normal rate.
There are many documented instances of evidence that show accelerated glacial melting. One is Glacier National Park. When originally established, in 1910, the park had around 150 glaciers. Currently, however, there is only around 30 remaining glaciers, clearly pointing to some outside force negatively affecting the hydrosphere and glaciers. Because of this, estimates predict that Glacier National Park will soon lose practically all of its glaciers. Unfortunately, Glacier National Park is not the only place suffering extreme glacier melt. All around the world the same effect is occurring. The snow on Kilimanjaro has melted more than 80 percent of its original mass in 1912. Glaciers in the Himalaya’s in India are retreating and expected to disappear by 2035. The Arctic Sea ice has been thinning over the last 50 years or so, and the ice shelf in Greenland is also shrinking. The permafrost in Alaska has also been thawing out. Altogether, there is substantial physical evidence that shows the accelerated glacial melt (Glick).
The question then comes to the exact cause of this occurrence. The typical theory is that when temperatures rise, ice melts into the oceans. The ocean levels then raise and expand in volume, which has been consistent with scientific readings so far. The global sea level has risen about four to eight inches in the past century. While earth has natural cycles, the evidence gathered does not support a natural occurrence. Scientists are certain the rising temperatures are causing the accelerated melt. As a result, investigations have been going into what is causing the rising temperatures. In order to do this, scientists collected air samples, and went through the historical readings of atmospheric conditions. The test results have shown that carbon dioxide levels have risen from 315 parts per million in 1958 to over 375 ppm today. This is too much of a rise to be explained with natural phenomena, therefore it is the conclusion from most scientists that the greenhouse effect is at work, and human burning of fossil fuels is partly to blame for the rise in accelerated glacial melt (Glick).
As with any scientific theory, there are always alternative perspectives on how certain environmental changes can occur. According to researchers at the University of Texas, the rise of carbon dioxide particles may not actually be the lone cause of glacial melting, especially in the Antarctic ice sheet. Their research has found that geothermal heat from magma underneath the glacier has caused melting. It was recently discovered that a volcanic magma sheet ran much farther than initially thought, so this could explain the Antarctic region (Bastasch). There are other theories that say the warming of the air, leads to increases in precipitation, which will then eventually lead to glacier growth. This is because precipitation, along with air temperature both impact the size of a glacier (“Are glaciers growing or retreating?”).
Nevertheless, there appears to be substantial evidence that glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate, and that carbon dioxide levels are playing a role in this. Projections show many glaciers completely disappearing in 50-100 years, so this is an issue that is currently happening, and could get worse over time. This will have a huge impact on the environment. Glaciers are affected by all phases of water, solid liquid and vapor, so this would have a large impact on the water cycles. The fresh water melting away from the glaciers will greatly impact the ocean. As shown previously, the ocean levels are rising, but that is not the only impact. Because glaciers are fresh water, the salinity of the oceans will drop which can cause other environmental irregularities (“Why do Glaciers Matter?”).
The oceans become less salty changes the THC (Thermo Haline Circulation), which means the ocean currents will change. This will have immediate impacts of the north Atlantic current, especially by Greenland, but the effects of this could spread worldwide. This is troubling because glaciers do not melt at a steady rate. Once they have begun to break down, the melting actually accelerates faster, which can cause more problems in a hurry. Ocean levels could effectively rise a meter on average in most places around the world. While sea levels could go down in other regions, it is expected that the rising levels will greatly impact highly populous areas such as India, Bangladesh, China, and the US Northwest coasts (“Why do Glaciers Matter?”).
In conclusion, glaciers are the perfect indicators of what is happening in terms of climate change. They are heavily impacted by changes in temperature, and can be used a predictive models on what can happen in terms of global warming. Glaciers can even alter the jet streams, so this explains why they are so heavily studied in the environmental sciences. The impact of accelerated glacial melt is severe and something that should not be ignored by anyone who wishes to live in a stable environment.

Works Cited

"Are Glaciers Growing or Retreating?" Skeptical Science. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <>.
Bastasch, Michael. "Study: West Antarctic Glacier Melt Due To Volcanoes, Not Global Warming." 11 June 2014. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <>.
Glick, Daniel. "Global Climate Change, Melting Glaciers." National Geographic. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <>.
Rhein, Monika. "Observations: Ocean." Chapter 3. Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change, 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <>.
"Why Do Glaciers Matter? - Extreme Ice Survey." Extreme Ice Survey. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <>.

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Good Accelerated Glacial Melting Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 09, 2020. Accessed June 25, 2022.

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