One of the natural consequences of a warming planet is sea rise.
This is because, according to basic physics, once water warms, it expands. When ice sheets and glaciers are exposed to this heat, it melts which also contributes to the rising oceans.
For thousands of years, our plant has remained at a relatively stable level. Families have made their homes along coastlines and humans can live without much concern in regards to our planet’s stability in providing life.
Now that Earth’s oceans are rising, sea levels have reached 8 inches since the start of the 20th century and over 2 inches in merely the last 20 years.
Based on scientific information, these levels are continuing to rise.
All signs suggest that this rise is accelerating and will continue to do so if we don’t put a stop to gradual warming of the Earth.
In this article, we’ll outline the issues that come with the melting of ice caps and ice sheets, what it means for us as a species and what we can do about it.
What’s Wrong with Melting Ice Sheets?
NASA and other organizations continually monitor the rising temperature of the ocean and the steady changes of our land’s masses.
Through all of these studies, the biggest concern is what will happen to the ice sheets which are covering Greenland and Antarctica. This is also happening to Antarctica’s ice shelf.
These two ice sheets are ancient as they’re are vital to the stability of our planet – and they’re already beginning to show signs of melting.
At this rate, our oceans will be at least 60 cm higher by the end of this century – according to research in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.
This pace is in fact quickening due to warming and ice sheet loss. This acceleration has put many scientists and aware citizens in a state of concern.
This is because, according to scientists, even small changes in ocean levels can lead to erosion and flooding.
How Do We Know This is Due to Climate Change?
Sea level rise as opposed to temperature is a better way to measure climate change as it happens. Global sea levels have been stable for almost 3,000 years until the beginning of the industrial revolution or the 20th century.
This is the point when sea levels begin to rise increasingly and quite quickly due to ice melting — which was a direct effect of the burning of fossil fuels and its significant contribution to climate change.
The research shows us that indeed, the sea is rising from melting glaciers, ice sheets and ice shelves. It also tells us that this rise in sea levels will also result in catastrophic events – especially in the face of superstorms.
Not only this but melting ice sheets means loss in biodiversity.
Arctic wildlife is at great risk to the increase in habitat loss. For one, polar bears have been forced onto single platforms of ice for giving birth, raising their families and hunting prey.
While these incredible creatures feed almost entirely on seals, they are dependent on living on top of the sea ice.
Changes in ice availability and stability directly result in polar bear’s ability to breed, feed and survive. There are many other arctic animals such as seals and the walrus that rely on sea ice for survival.
Once this sea ice disappears from the effects of climate change, they will have nowhere to go.
What Can We Do About Melting Ice Sheets?
By doing your part in making sure emissions are significantly reduced on a daily basis, you will be participating in the fight against climate change.
These actions can include switching to a vegetarian diet, changing the way you consume energy by switching to renewable energy resources and reducing, reusing and recycling used items.
Also, if you’re really interested in making a significant difference, think about volunteering with an ecological restoration organization or project. The more biodiversity there is in the world, the less CO2 and pollution is available in the atmosphere.
Plants soak in CO2 naturally and breathe out Oxygen in return. By giving some TLC to these areas in need, planting some trees and vegetation and learning how these incredible systems work, we can make huge strides towards combatting the effects of climate change and begin reversing the damage we’ve caused.