Rus Articles Journal

Thawing of glaciers. Myth or reality?

All of us have heard a lot about such topical things as greenhouse effect or thawing of glaciers. However hardly anyone - that from us seriously thought of possible consequences of these processes. And if to dig deep into, then interesting the vital paradox turns out.

On the one hand, glaciers gradually thaw that, it seems, as is very bad. And here if to look with another, then the rastopleniye of ice masses many times facilitates development of gas and oil fields of Earth. But clearly one that catastrophic consequences for our planet are behind all this.

One of the most dangerous consequences is change of the direction of the warm Atlantic Gulf Stream Current. And it, in turn, inevitably guarantees changes in ecological equilibrium in the marine environment. By the way, near the North Pole accurate signs of such transformations are already traced. Irrespective of cyclic fluctuations, the pack ice surface for the last 30 years already decreased by 10 percent, and its density and that is more - for the whole 40 percent.

Positive and negative aspects

By estimates of scientists, by the end of 21 centuries a surface of “ice caps“ will be twice reduced. Some see in it the advantages.

So, for example, it will facilitate access to so-called “northern passages“ for vessels and will open a direct way to gas and oil fields of Alaska and Siberia whose reserves are estimated at 40 percent from all world reserves. But it is obvious that such positive aspects are too scanty in comparison with negative. Coming back to the above described violations in the course of Gulf Stream, it is worth paying attention and to the speed of the current. During the period from 1950 to 2000 the speed of a warm Atlantic current decreased by 20 percent that in the future can lead to decrease in temperatures in Europe.

There is obvious an acceleration of process of thawing of glaciers. Ice reflects 80 percent of sunshine whereas the surface deprived of vegetation - 30 percent, and sea water at all only of 7 percent.

In 1996 the Arctic Council which includes the USA, Canada and Russia was organized. However still joint efforts according to the prevention of global processes were not undertaken. And above-mentioned changes only progress from year to year. Ice of Greenland and nearby areas is gradually melted that in turn increases water level of the ocean. According to data of the research satellite “Topex Poseidon“, annual rise in sea level on Earth makes 2,4 mm. If to increase this number on the number of years, then in 100 years 25 cm will turn out. But there is more to come. Various settlement models predict that rise in some places can make from one to several meters.

of the Reason and prospect

World scientists allocate to

three main reasons of this phenomenon - greenhouse gas and, respectively, increase in water temperature, thawing of glaciers and reduction of a polar cap of Earth by 15 percent.

Earlier glaciologists were convinced that these phenomena concern only Antarctic Peninsula. During the period from 1974 to 2000 exactly here temperature increased by the whole 3 degrees. And in March, 2002 the whole world watched a splitting off of a huge ice plate, 3,250 sq.km in size, from the so-called shelf of Larsen. If Larsen`s glacier thaws completely, water level will rise at least by 45 cm. However this ice is not connected directly with continental part of the planet. Therefore was considered that at least for 100 years the mankind should forget about possible global changes.

But already now all assumptions of scientists can get derailed. The British American Survey research group came to a conclusion that the western part of a glacier also annually loses the volume equal to 250 000 cubic meters. If not to stop these processes, then inevitable will be a notorious sea level rise, at least, on 8 meters and if thawing concerns also other parts of a polar cap of the South Pole, then level can be raised to 64 meters. And it already as you understand, the real world crash.

Threat for all sea world

Eventually, thawing of the Antarctic glaciers can strongly worsen sea fauna. Already now it is known of reduction of number of packs of the krill for the last 30 years for 80 percent.

The krill is a collective name of small sea planktonic Crustacea (called by crustaceans) who eat live seaweed under glaciers. In a food chain of inhabitants of the ocean this very important link, and for many fishes, cuttlefishes and whales - crustaceans are ranked as the making life bases. Therefore problems of thawing of glaciers become threateningly dangerous not only for the person, but also for all world around.