Consequences of melting glaciers

January 15, 2023

What are the causes of melting glaciers?

First of all, it is very important that you know that the causes are not natural.

Glacier melting is due to man and his behavior .

The first effects materialized in the early 20th century.

This phenomenon has worsened, and the temperature of the earth’s surface continues to rise.

What are the effects of global warming?

Melting glaciers. Our impact on the natural environment over time has led us to severe consequences and global warming.

What are the consequences and problems of this phenomenon?

Let’s find out together.

Causes of global warming

By the way, have you ever heard about global warming : it is a problem that is indelibly darkening our planet.

What are the causes of this event?

The main causes that lead to the warming of the earth’s surface are:

  • CO2 Production.
  • Intensive burning of coal
  • Excessive deforestation
  • global warming
  • Deforestation as a cause of global warming
  • CO2 emissions

    Effects of global warming

All of these causes of global warming have serious consequences for our planet and its inhabitants.

What are the consequences of this phenomenon?

Among the major consequences are:

  • Imbalances in temperatures and precipitation
  • Risks to human and animal life
  • Melting of mountain and polar plate glaciers.

Consequences of melting glaciers

Today we must answer the problem of melting glaciers and its important consequences.

The impact of this phenomenon on our planet is very serious and continues to increase day by day.

The main consequences of melting glaciers:

  • A rise in the level of the world’s oceans. Water levels continue to rise, and many continental areas will be completely flooded within a few years.
  • Distortion of weather. Cyclones and anticyclones will change their structure, weather patterns will change dramatically.
  • Disbalance of a food chain. Habitat for many marine and terrestrial species will change their natural cycle.

Melting glaciers at the North Pole.

The North Pole is the easiest place to watch glaciers melt.

Over the past 30 years, the surface area of Arctic glaciers has decreased dramatically.

Very few areas of glaciers will remain In addition, the average age of the polar plate is at an all-time low: within 5 years .

Most of the ice at the North Pole is formed in winter and melts in summer.

In fact, the Pole is expected to become a huge salt lake in a few years.

Antarctica’s melting glaciers are also causing many problems.

Between 2010 and 2016, the surface of the South Pole cap shrank by 1,500 km2.

The cap loses 5 meters of thickness each year from the base of the ice sheet near the seafloor.

Over the last 50 years the phenomenon of melting glaciers has intensified greatly.

During this period Italy has lost 30% of its national glaciers .

It is estimated that in 30-40 years the glaciers will disappear completely.

In addition, their water reserves will be completely useless.

Water seepage and rockfall

After a sparse winter, the Alps have already been affected by two early heat waves in June and July. During the last heat wave, the isotherm 0 (a fictitious line where the temperature is 0°C) was set at 5184 meters in Switzerland (above the summit of Mont Blanc), whereas normally it is between 3000 and 3500 meters. in summer.

Although melting glaciers are a global threat due to global warming, alpine glaciers are particularly vulnerable because of their smaller size and thickness.

On July 3, Italy’s Marmolada Glacier (the highest point in the Dolomite Alps and one of Italy’s most popular hiking trails) struck one of the 3,309-meter mountain peaks of Punta Rocca.

The exceptionally high temperatures of the past few weeks have helped accelerate the melting of the permafrost, the “cement” of the mountain. At least two groups of climbers were on the glacier at the time of the collapse. Eleven people died as a result of the disaster.
A helicopter takes part in a search and rescue operation after part of the Marmolada Glacier collapsed in the Italian Alps on July 6, 2022.

In France, the Laboratory of Glaciology closely monitors a large number of glaciers. In an interview with French BFMTV, Sylvain Coutheran, geomorphologist and glaciologist and author of the Atlas of Vanished Glaciers (published by Paulsen), explained that “many glacier tongues show no signs of imminent collapse, and much water passes through the glaciers due to summer melt.”

“Glacier tongues slide faster and, if they get thinner, are less resistant to the pressure the glacier receives on bedrock, so they can break,” the expert added.

Alpine glaciers are melting at an alarming rate

In Switzerland, the Morterach Glacier no longer looks like it does in tourist guides to the region. The long white glacial tongue that stretched across much of the valley has retreated about three kilometers in length, and the width of the ice sheet has shrunk by about 200 meters.

According to Glamos, the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network, and the Free University of Brussels, the glacier is now losing five centimeters of thickness per day and has already melted more than it would during a normal summer.

With a temperature rise of about 0.3 °C per decade, warming in Europe is almost twice as fast as the global average . This observation leads experts to fear that alpine glaciers will disappear sooner than expected, which cannot be ruled out if the next few years are marked by repeated heat waves, Glamos director Matthias Huss warns.

In a special report published in 2019, the IPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) warned that by 2100, glaciers in the Alps will lose more than 80% of their current mass and that many of them are already doomed to disappear, regardless of measures that can be taken to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The border between Italy and Switzerland is melting

In Austria, “the glaciers are now free of snow all the way to the peaks,” says Andrea Fischer, a glaciologist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. “We can easily imagine the result at the end of summer (…) of a massive loss of glacier cover in the Italian Alps,” says Marco Giardino, vice president of the Italian Glaciological Committee.

This melting of glaciers has even shifted the border between Italy and Switzerland. Along the water divide, the boundary has been changed by the melting of the Teodoul Glacier . The latter lost almost a quarter of its mass between 1973 and 2010, leaving room for a rock and forcing the two neighbors to redraw several dozen meters of their border.

The issue is not insignificant because the Guides du Cervin refuge, originally built in Italy, is located here, but with the shifting of the border on the glacier, two-thirds of the refuge, located at 3,480 meters above sea level, is now in Switzerland, a problem that has led to intense diplomatic negotiations between the two countries.

Glacial Lakes and Floods in Pakistan

Melting glaciers also pose a significant risk of flooding, destruction of homes, and risk to life. In fact, rising global temperatures due to climate change are causing glaciers to melt rapidly, creating thousands of glacial lakes.

This is particularly the case in Pakistan, a country with thousands of glaciers in the foothills of the Himalayas, which has recently been hit hard by the effects of global warming. In the northeast of the country, severe flooding caused by melting snow has devastated the city of Hasanabad.
A bridge partially collapsed due to flash floods caused by an exploding glacial lake in the northeastern Pakistani city of Hassanabad on May 7, 2022.

The flooding, which occurred in May when an abnormal heat wave hit South Asia, destroyed nine houses in the village and damaged half a dozen others. The water also washed away two small hydroelectric plants and a bridge connecting the isolated settlement to the outside world.

There are more than 7,000 glaciers in Pakistan. That’s more than anywhere else on the planet except the poles.

According to the Pakistani government, 33 glacial lakes (all located in the Himalayan, Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountain ranges, which overlap in Pakistan) risk bursting their banks, releasing millions of cubic meters of water and debris in a few hours. As happened in Hasanabad last May.

There have already been at least 16 glacial lake floods this year due to abnormal heat waves, compared to an average of five or six a year, the Pakistani government also said after the Hassanabad disaster.

Sea levels are rising everywhere.

Melting has accelerated since 2015, and no region has been spared, but the phenomenon particularly affects the glaciers of Alaska, the Alps and Iceland.

In total, snowmelt is contributing more than 20 percent to sea level rise and can have disastrous effects on water supplies and agriculture in times of drought.
A mass of ice has broken away from the Apusiadjik Glacier near Kulusuk, on the southeast coast of Greenland.

“Glaciers other than the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are rapidly shrinking, altering regional hydrology, raising global sea levels and increasing natural disasters,” warns a study published in Nature in 2021.

Between 2000 and 2019, glaciers lost 267 billion tons of ice a year. This loss of mass is 47% more than the Greenland ice sheet and more than twice as much as the Antarctic ice sheet.