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What You Can Do To Stop The Rapid Ice Melt of The Glaciers



CO2 (carbon dioxide) is one of the main causes of all misfortunes of the earth, like global warming, which causes the melting of glaciers, floods and tsunamis. The main “producers” of CO2 are heavy industries, energy production facilities that combust oil, coal and gas, general cutting of tropical forests, livestock industry, and, of course, us – the usual people – the consumers.

Just by working at a computer, sitting behind the wheel of the car and simply turning on the light, we expend energy, and hence – the resources of the earth, which leads to the overall increase of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

So, what can you do to stop this tendency? Each of us can contribute to stopping the rapid ice melt of the glaciers and saving the planet, and here are a few suggestions how to do it :

– Electric power

Saving electricity allows you to:

1) reduce the consumption of natural resources,
2) reduce the emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere, and
3) preserve the purity of water and forests

How to do this:

a) Buy energy-efficient refrigerators that are properly labeled with A, A +, A ++ classes.
b) Buy induction ranges for cooking. They heat only the bottom of the pan, the heating starts immediately when turned on and stops when you turn it off. Induction ranges consume twice less energy than usual electric types.
c) Fully load the dishwasher and the washing machine – this will reduce the amount of washing sessions. Also washing at lower temperatures can reduce power consumption by 80%.
d) Set your computer to a sleep mode every time you take a break. Turn off your office computer at night and before the weekend – as even in a sleep mode it still consumes energy.
e) Turn towards alternative, eco-friendly and renewable energy sources, such as wind, water, and solar power.

– Water

a) Take a shower instead of a bath. Turn off the water while soaping or brushing your teeth.
b) Wash your dish immediately after eating – it will take less water than later when you will have to scrape off dried food debris.
c) Do not buy bottled water if you are sure that the tap water is safe to drink. If not sure – install a water filter.

– Carbon dioxide

a) Eat less meat
b) Walk on foot or use bicycles, or other energy-efficient vehicles.
c) When taking a country trip better fully load one car with friends, instead of taking two half-empty cars, or travel by train.
d) Consume responsibly. Do not buy more than you need. Do not buy what you do not need.

– Plastic

a) Buy products in cardboard package if possible.
b) Use plastic bags several times.
c) Do not use plastic bags for keeping foods at home, use special reusable containers.
d) Reduce the amount of plastic waste by squeezing it – in this way you reduce the amount of garbage in the garbage truck, and thus, reduce CO2 emissions during transportation of garbage.

Tell friends and colleagues how to live ecologically and economically. You don’t need to be superman to save the planet. Make it simple and smart: raise a child, build an eco friendly house and plant a tree!

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ARE WE ON A ‘DEATH SPIRAL’ WITH THE RAPID ICE MELT?



You have by now heard of the term the ‘death spiral’. This is what the current rapid ice melt has become thanks to global warming. A ‘death spiral’ occurs when a pilot loses control of a plane and nose dives into spirals that only get tighter and tighter as he comes down. The tighter the spirals get, the harder it gets for the plane to pull up and at some point, it becomes literally impossible.The path is now no longer a speculation as the ice on the arctic melts at a faster rate than ever recorded in history. The causes and the effects of the rapid ice melt cannot be ignored. The human race is facing harder times as the seasons become more and more unpredictable by the time.

A team led by Robert Bindschadler, a scientist from NASA and an emeritus glaciologist took on a mission to find out just how rapid the ice melt was. They headed to the treacherous Pine Island Glacier Shelf in December 2012 and managed to set up measuring equipment that confirmed that the ice under was melting at an alarming rate caused by the warmer water under it. The mission was later called off due to the unfavorable weather conditions. Serious heatwaves and rising in water levels across the US and Greenland are no longer a simple anomally. The heat is getting hotter and the cold seasons colder as seen in Russia. The amount of ice glaciers in the Arctic are getting smaller by the years causing more water in the oceans.

The importance of ice on he Arctic cannot be understated. The white sheets of ice are crucial when it comes to the reflection of heat and light from the sun on the earth’s surface. This keeps the heat on the earth favorable and well balanced. The seasons would switch between the same amount of ice freezing after a warmer season, in this case summer, comes. The amount of ice freezing every year is deteoriating sending a ripple of seasonal mishaps, animal deaths, abnormal shifts in the ecosystem and a crisis in the food availability. The once predictable seasons that were a guide for the farmers all over the world are no longer in sync. This has caused a major loss in food production all over the world not to mention the terrible heat waves.

It is truly a dark time for the globe which has called for action. Ecologists and nations have come together in hoardes to counter the effects of the rapid ice melt in a number of ways. Awareness projects have been set up besides tree planting and waste disposal plans. It is however clear that the back lies with the individual. The ‘death spiral is eminent unless the inhabitants of the earth wake up soon enough to change the control shift. The oil drilling companies are however not helping the cause. Supporting organizations that deal with bigger organizations and companies that cause global warming also goes a long wait. It was recorded that 48000 miles of ice melted daily in July last year. This is a shocking rate considering that the freezing rate is no longer the same.

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THE RATE OF MELTING ICE IN ANTARCTICA’S MOST VULNERABLE REGION HAS TRIPLED

Many studies in the recent past have attributed the increase in the melting rate of the Antarctic to global warming. It has been noted that the glaciers of West Antarctica have been melting at a very high rate than in any other part of the Antarctica hence the main contributor of the evident sea level rise. This trend has been attributed solely on global warming which has increased the temperatures of the planet hence a leading to a fast melting rate of the glaciers in the past couple of years. This continent is fourteen kilometers square in are and inhabited due to its harsh conditions especially its extremely cold temperatures. It has been not until recently that scientists have been able to travel to this continent and explore and study the increase or decrease rate of the ice in it.

A comprehensive analysis of the rate of ice melting on the Antarctic was carried out. It applied four different techniques which when reconciled proved the increase in the rate of melting of ice in the glaciers. The data sources in this study included two NASA mechanisms, a satellite data and a laser altimetry device. The increase in the melting rate was first studied by a group of NASA scientists and if it is true, it means that the declining rate of amount of ice is quite high and would see a big reduction of the amount of ice in the Antarctic continent. They applied the principle that of mass balancing and measurements to obtain the results. As mass cannot be created nor wasted, the water from the southern hemisphere will flow into the ocean and cause a significant rise in the sea level.

Global warming has seen the melting of the glaciers in west Antarctica triple in the past decade. Some of this is caused by ice melter that is safe for concrete. It is believed that around ninety to a hundred billion tones of ice melts permanently into the seas and oceans every single year. Research shows that the rate of ice melting increased at a rate of 6.7 billion tons per year since 1992 which is an alarming rate. This trend should make us worry as high rates of melting results to rising of sea levels and this can cause extensive flooding or the engulfing of coastal towns by water. 

Critics of this phenomenon argue that the ice which melts during the sunny seasons or summer later freezes in the winter season hence the mass of the ice on the Antarctic remains constant. It is like melting ice in a plate then solidifying it later by appropriately cooling it. The mass and even the volume remain constant. They also claim that the sea glaciers are not connected in any way to the fresh water ice on the Antarctic hence the melting and freezing of the two is not related or connected in any way. Glacier and ice sheet behavior poses a great uncertainty in the prediction of the sea levels in the future hence a close monitoring of any changes in the behavior of the ice should be noted and well scrutinized. 

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The Increased Ice Melt In Antarctica

Antarctica is the southern most continent and the coldest among them all. It is regarded as the most mystical continent on the planet and perhaps the least explored. Those who have been there are astounded by its beautiful and pristine extreme landscape.

The extreme landscape is perhaps what makes the continent practically inhabitable. There are some interesting facts about this region that are not known to many. For instance, besides being completely covered with ice, Antarctica is considered to be the driest continent in the world. The continent receives little rain and snow fall, once or twice annually. The continent does not have any human residents and only tourist and scientific temporary communities exist. The continent is covered with an ice sheet that is about 1.6 miles thick, on average. The ice holds about 90% of all the fresh water on earth. 

This region has however been faced with numerous challenges. One of the main challenges is the increased rate of its ice melting. The continent is fully covered with ice. According to studies and research, the rate of melting ice in Antarctica is increasing at an accelerating rate and has made the continent to be one of the most protected regions of the worlds. The increased melting rate has created uncertainty about the future stability of the continent. It has also raised the question on the rising sea water levels around the world. 

One of the main factors contributing towards the increased melting rate of the Antarctic is warming of the sea water around the continent. The warming water is a great challenge to the ice shelves. Ice shelves are the large glaciers that extend to the sea beyond the land mass. Their intrinsic icy structures are very vulnerable to warming water which melts it away. These ice shelves are very important as they help to slow down the movement of ice from the land to the water. When the ice shelves melts, the buffer wall created is broken leading to mass flow of ice to the sea. This has mainly occurred in the Western Antarctica, which is said to be capable of raising the sea water level to up to 23 feet when completely melted. A large contributing factor is salt used by humans. It is most commonly found in the best ice melt products.

According to study, this accelerating loss of sea based ice that contributes to loss of the Antarctic ice has also lead to increased sea ice extent. Besides the southern hemisphere getting warmer, there are also a number of other factors influencing the amount of ice in the sea. These factors include the changes that have occurred in wind and ocean circulation and even changes in the levels of moisture around this region.

Measures have been put in place to protect this vast continent against human exploration. There are many tourists visiting this continent every year and records about 10,000 tourist and scientists during summer and about 1,000 in winter. Antarctica offers amazing exposure to abundant wildlife as it is home to over 50 million seals and millions of penguins. The scenery of the continent is very mysterious as well as compelling. Development is the region is also closely monitored as it is potentially vulnerable to human exploitation due to its rich mineral deposits. 

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Antarctic Ice Sheets Are Melting

Ice sheets are big masses of glacial ice extending for millions of square kilometers on land. These are very important for mankind as they contain enormous amount of frozen water and influence climate by preventing storm attacks and creating cold winds. These cold winds prevent the ice sheets from further melting which in turn prevent the sea level from rising several feet. Besides affecting weather the ice sheets are also important for marine life.

The two major places on earth which are covered by ice sheets are Antarctic and Greenland. The Antarctic ice sheet is spread over 14 million sq km and holds 30 million cu km of ice. With the increase in global temperature the Antarctic ice sheets have started melting and if the entire ice melts the sea level would rise by two hundred feet which can pose serious threat for all living organisms on earth as the seas would be forced higher onto land.

Since Antarctic ice sheets are made up of fresh water, when they melt they add more fresh water to the oceans. Thus, the salt content of the oceans decreases. Decrease in salinity poses threat to the aquatic organisms that are well adapted to thrive in saline water.

The Antarctic ice sheets reflect back a huge amount of incident light into space. This helps in maintaining an optimal temperature of the earth. If the ice sheets melt away the overall temperature of the earth will go up. Besides this Ice sheets are also important for the survival of several invertebrates, plants and animals that are well adapted to live in a cold climate. Since the ice sheets serve their purpose for food and shelter, these animals and plans will be pushed to the verge of extinction if the Antarctic ice sheets melt away.

As per the latest data of 2014, the Arctic ice sheets have become thinner than ever due to the increasing temperature. With a melting rate of 9% per decade it is well imaginable how long the ice will exist. The increase in green house gases (CO2, NO2) due to burning of fossil fuels such as coal is only worsening the situation by the doubling the temperature of the Arctic region.

Apart from human activities, there are some natural causes of Antarctic ice sheet melt. Geothermal heat arising out of volcanic eruption, movement of magma (due to shifting of the crust under the ice sheet ) or other sources plays a key role in melting the underside of the glacier which in turn affects the stability of the sheet. Hence, the ice sheet slides down and reaches the sea and eventually melts away. radar images have revealed several geothermal heat sources beneath the Thwaites glacier.

According to latest radar images there are some water bodies beneath the Arctic ice sheet. The water in these water bodies is relatively warm. When water bodies unite they redistribute the heat and contribute to the melting of ice.

While the west Antarctic ice sheet and Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet are losing ice, the Eastern antarctic ice sheet is gaining ice mass. However, the gain is not sufficient enough to make up for the losses. So, on the whole Antarctica is losing ice as Antartic ice sheets are melting rapidly and this loss is increasing exponentially with every decade.

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