Climate Change: Canadian glaciers on an irreversible mass loss

By April 26, 2013Ocean News

It’s usual to find information about Antarctica or Greenland ice melting…but what’s going on with the rest of the world’s glaciers? Canada, in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA), has the third largest repository of frozen water, and according to a new study, its melting is irreversible.

The CAA is formed of 36,000 islands, with the 10% of its surface covered by glaciers. Under normal conditions, the CAA glacier mass balance is ruled by the balance between the fallen snow and the meltwater. Well, researchers from Utrech University developed a model recreating the present conditions, and the glacier lost mass in the 99% of the recreations. By the end of this century, the glacier would lose about 20% of its mass, a increase of 75% more of what it was thought to lose before.

Maybe you’d think, ok, it’s a lot, but not THAT much. Think about it this way: this loss of ice mass would result in a rise in the sea level of about 3.5 cm, which is 12 trillion cubic meters of water more in the ocean!

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The worst part is that researchers said that this loss could be irreversible. Its melt rate is going faster, because the ice-loss is exposing the soil, which will retain more heat on the ground, while the sea and the snow surface reflect it. According to Lenaerts, the study director, the worldwide temperature will rise 3ºC, but the temperature around the glacier will rise 8ºC. It already had risen by 1ºC or 2ºC since 2000!

What should be the answer to this study? We have to be really worried about ice melting, not only because of the resulting habitat destruction, but for the rising sea level that will affect a lot of important cities around the world, which are on the coast and lie only meters above the present sea level (some are even below sea level, like New Orleans!).

The major cause of arctic ice melting is increased temperature caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal-fired power plants and burning woods. So by reducing our carbon production, maybe we’ll be able to decrease the melting rate.

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Do you think we can reverse the melting rates of Arctic Ice? Let us know in the comments below and SPEAK UP for the OCEAN!

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