Saturday, August 08, 2009

World glaciers melting at rapid rate

Part of the worries about global warming is about the loss of glaciers, with increasing melting and lower mass covered by the glaciers. Recent reports have confirmed the data, that glaciers are indeed getting impacted. Since glaciers are one of the primary source of water for the world's rivers, which are in turn are the primary sources of fresh water, water for irrigation purposes, and also energy generation through dams, such reports can only increase the alarm levels for the future of the world's population. Availability of fresh water is already problematic for huge chunks of the world's population, and these confirmation by scientists can only confirm that we are headed in for more trouble (link to article):

U.S. scientists monitoring shrinking glaciers in Washington and Alaska reported this week that a major meltdown is under way. A 50-year government study found that the world's glaciers are melting at a rapid and alarming rate. The ongoing study is the latest in a series of reports that found glaciers worldwide are melting faster than anyone had predicted they would just a few years ago. It offers a clear indication of an accelerating climate change and warming earth, according to the authors.
Since 1959, the U.S. Geological Survey, which published the study on its Web site, has been tracking the movements of the South Cascade glacier in Washington and the Wolverine and Gulcana glaciers in Alaska. The three glaciers are considered "benchmarks" for the conditions of thousands of other glaciers because they're in different climate zones and at various elevations.

The melting of the glaciers has both long term and short term problems. Along with the increase in water levels due to melting of polar caps and ice on Greenland, this melting of the glaciers will initially result in river levels going up, eventually contributing to higher sea caps; over a longer period, the glaciers will contribute lower amounts of fresh water and affect huge sections of the world's population. At the same time, the world's leaders cannot quit bickering, and take the steps required to reduce global warming.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 12:38 PM