Glacier smelting is the canary of the climate change coal mine. A New Zealand study found it “very likely” that climate change would cause the melting of ten glaciers on the southern island of New Zealand. The researchers found that glacier loss was at least six times more likely to occur due to climate change since 2011 and 10 times more likely since 2018.
According to the study, the “highest likelihood of climate change is caused by temperatures one degree Celsius above the pre-industrial average, which confirms a link between greenhouse gas emissions and high annual ice losses.
“These results suggest that as extreme heat and heat events continue and intensify, there will be an increasingly visible human fingerprint in the years of massive glacier loss in the coming decades,” they concluded. researchers.
The researchers analyzed two years (2011 and 2018) when New Zealand’s glaciers melted the most in the last four decades. Both years experienced warmer-than-average temperatures. During the summer of 2018, the Tasmanian sea heat wave caused the warmest sea temperatures recorded in New Zealand. The study is the first to attribute the melting of annual glaciers to climate change and the second to directly link the melting of glaciers with climate change.
The volume of ice lost from the Brewster Glacier on the mountain. New Zealand’s Aspiring National Park equals drinking water requirements for all New Zealanders for three years. However, the lost volume of the Brewster Glacier is only a fraction of the ice storage in the Southern Alps, which has declined since the annual inspection began in the late 1970s. About 30 percent of the ice volume in the Southern Alps has decreased over the past four decades, which equates to 15.9 trillion gallons of water or the daily drinking water requirements for the population of Nova Zealand.
The melting of glaciers contributes to sea level rise
New Zealand is not the only place in the world experiencing the melting of glaciers. According to research, the area and volume of New Zealand glaciers will decline by about 80 per cent by the end of the century, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at current rates. A 2018 study shows that by 2100, a third of the 56 glaciers studied by researchers, including Central Asia and the Andes, will experience a decrease in runoff by up to 10 percent. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at current rates, the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer of 2040.
Melting glaciers contribute to rising sea levels, which increases coastal erosion and storm surges. The main contributors to global sea level rise are the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. Greenland’s ice sheet is shrinking four times faster than in 2003 and contributes to 20% sea level rise. If all of Greenland’s ice melted, the global sea level would rise by 20 feet.
Melting glaciers in the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica is changing the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean, which is linked to more destructive hurricanes and storms. As sea ice and glaciers continue to melt, the oceans heat up, causing ocean currents to alter weather patterns. Not only people are affected, but also wildlife.
Trump vs. Biden on climate change
As glaciers continue to melt and sea levels rise, two candidates for the U.S. presidency present very different environmental views. President Trump issued an executive order not long after taking office that for every new regulation enacted, two must be eliminated. From 2017 to April 2020, his administration took 74 actions to weaken environmental regulations, according to the Brookings Institution. These actions include the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
Joe Biden has a plan for the United States to achieve a 100 percent net energy economy and net emissions by 2050. Part of that plan includes making a “historic investment: in energy, research and climate innovation, infrastructures and communities. It is committed to enacting new fuel-saving standards that will ensure that 100 percent of new light and medium vehicle sales will be electrified.
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