A glacier is “a large mass of ice formed over many years that does not melt during the summer. Glaciers move slowly over an area of land such as a mountain valley.”(dictionary) Glacial melt is the un-natural rate of alpine glaciers and ice sheets melting. Carbon exhaust from humans is creating more CO2, which is warming the atmosphere. As the temperature rises, the glaciers and ice sheets melt. Global warming is the most dangerous and important problem going on in the world. Global warming affects everything. Unlike other things, you can’t run away from this one. It affects everywhere and everything. I think that glacial melt leads to many different problems that affect not only America, but the whole world. Glacial melt affects sea, land, water, temperature, wildlife, civilizations, and much more. In 1910, in Glacier National Park, there were about 150 glaciers. Now, there are fewer than 30. It affects land, drinking water, the populations, oceans, animals, and food, which is about everything the human population needs to have to live.
First, glacial melt affects oceans. Salt water is 97% of all Earth’s water. Glaciers, only 2% of Earth’s water, are vast blocks of ice and snow that are slowly melting into the ocean and disappearing. Only 1% of Earth’s water is unfrozen, fresh water. When glaciers melt into the ocean, it lowers the salinity, but the ocean makes the fresh water undrinkable. These ice sheets are so enormous, they will make the water levels around the world rise by breaking apart and melting. There are an estimated 198,000 glaciers in the world. They used to cover about 32% of Earth’s crust, about 726,000 km. Now it covers less than 10% of the Earth. The Muir Glacier in Alaska has retreated back 7 miles and thinned by ½ a mile. Imagine 3 ½ miles of ice falling into the ocean. Now, multiply it by 50. Then put into account Greenland and Antarctica melting. Many cities and highly habited places will go under water eventually. These places include Florida, California, Panama, parts of Antarctica, and thousands of miles of coastline all around the world. Cape Cod, MA, has already gotten considerably smaller and in the last 50 years.
Secondly, glacial melt affects animals. With the sea level rising, habitats get flooded, and the ocean gets diluted. Many glaciers are pure water, and when they melt, the drop of salinity makes it hard for ocean animals to survive. Also, with the sea levels rising, Panama, the land bridge between North and South America, is in threat of going under water, and that cuts off the migration of millions of land animals.
Finally, glacial melt affects food. For many animals, including the polar bear and penguin, the loss of ice and land is deadly because ice is critical in their hunting habits. But, glacial melt is also dangerous for human food. The rising sea levels cause human-made objects like plastic, styrofoam, and many other things. Fish, squid, and many other edible animals eat this trash or breath it in. When we eat them, the human-made products are still in the fish.
You might think that glacial melt and global warming is not a bad thing. You might like the warmer weather. Actually, it will get much, much colder. We might even go into another ice age. Glaciers are actually freshwater. As the glaciers melt into the ocean, it dilutes the amount of salt in the world’s oceans. The Gulf Stream brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico along the whole western coast of Europe and up to Sweden and Finland. Changing the salinity might affect the flow pattern, which affects the temperature of the whole world.
The question is, is the human race so self-absorbed, self-centered and selfish enough to put the whole world in danger to have the climate a little warmer for 20 years? Glacial melt will flood cities. It will kill animals, sea and land. It will kill whole forests. It will drown millions of miles of land. Think of Cape Cod, MA. Gone. Think of California. Gone. You might think that the problem of global warming is so advanced that you, as one person, can’t make a difference. But, imagine how many people around the world are thinking the same thing. Hundreds? Thousands? Possibly millions? Stand up. If others see you need support, they will join you. On a bigger scale, we can pass laws in our town, state, and even country. We can pass laws to ban plastic bags in stores. It will be a lot cheaper, and it will dramatically decrease the pollution. Also, we can make goals to lower the CO2 levels and go to all electric cars by a certain year.
In conclusion, glacial melt is a very serious problem, and will affect the whole world. This problem has progressed for so long, our melted glaciers will never return. But, we can do our best to save the ones we have. Try to buy cars with better gas mileage, and try not to litter. With a lower amount of carbon in the air, global warming will slow, and our glaciers will not melt at an unnatural rate.