Polar Ice Caps Melting: A Global Warming Effect

Abgelegt in global warming

Global warming has been in the news a lot lately. While some people argue whether or not the phenomenon is man-made, the evidence of global warming effects is undeniable.

Polar ice caps melting
According to NASA & The Natural Resources Defense Council, more than 20% of the polar ice cap has melted away since 1979. The melting appears to be accelerating. 19 of the 20 hottest years on record have occurred since the 1980s. The North and South poles feel these global warming effects most acutely – this is reflected in the melting of the polar ice caps and the rapid crumbling of the glaciers.

Sea Level Rising
Once such a thaw begins other factors keep it going. As the bright white ice caps melt, they no longer reflect the same degree of the sun’s energy. Polar ice is very reflective – 90% of the light that strikes it is bounced back into space. Ocean water is the exact opposite. When sunlight hits it, it absorbs 90% of the energy that it receives causing the water to retain more heat. This causes more rapid melting of the ice caps and the global sea level begins to rise. Scientists call this effect a feedback loop.

Sea-level rise is not the only side effect of the feedback loop. Ocean waters have warmed more than a degree since 1970. This warmer water and sea-level rise also leads to more violent weather including more typhoons and hurricanes. This is just one of the many reasons to keep a close eye on the global sea level and the polar ice caps.

As global warming effects continue, further changes in the climate will occur that will severely alter some iconic landscapes, regional economies and traditional ways of life.

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