Scientists have disproved the assertion that rapid glacier melting is due to natural causes after examining more than 150000 glaciers worldwide.
Rather than natural climate change, scientists believe that the rapid melting of mountain glaciers such as those in the Himalayas, Kilimanjaro, and the Andes results from human-caused global warming.
There is no doubt that the glacier has been melting for a long time due to natural causes such as anthropogenic warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions from erupting volcanoes and solar radiation. Between the years 1551 and 1850, it is estimated that 25% of glacier mass loss occurred.
Researchers, on the other hand, believe that the rapid melting of mountain glaciers such as those Himalayas Alps, Kilimanjaro and Andes are a result of human-made global warming activities rather than natural climate change
It is no doubt that glacier has been melting even before, due to natural causes such as anthropogenic warming caused by emissions of carbon dioxide by erupting volcanoes and solar radiations. Whereby it is estimated that 25% of glacier mass loss occurred between the years 1551 and 1850
Researchers, however, believe that the natural causes could not be responsible for what computer simulations and satellite images captured between the years 1991 and 2010. The mountains were losing their glacier at an alarmingly rapid pace.
Human activities involving the burning of fossil fuels, natural gas, oil, coal, deforestation and industrial carbon emission are believed to disrupt the natural balance that existed millions of years ago by adding extra levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Scientists have projected that if human activities triggering this imbalance are not checked and controlled, a dozen of mountains will have to lose all their glacier in few years to come.
Glacier melting may not have much impact on the sea water levels since it only accounts for a small percentage total earth’s ice however it may have catastrophic implications. For instance, complete melting of a glacier reserves on the Himalayan Alps will leave millions of people without fresh water. Low lying areas facing these mountains such as Bangladesh will also experience floods due to the rising seabeds.
This research will help in determining whether human activities are to blame for the current melting of glaciers on various mountains. The study will use both qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze data.
The primary objective of this research paper is to show how human global warming activities have impacted on the current of universal glacier instability.
According to Kaser et al. (2004), the primary factor determining as to whether glacier retreats or advances is its mass balance. If the amount of frozen precipitation exceeds the amount of glacial ice lost due to melting, the glacier will advance, on the other hand, if there is no balance between accumulation and ablation the glaciers will start to retreat. (335)
Historical Patterns of Glacier Retreat.
In the years between 1550 -1850 commonly known as the little ice age period by many historians, the world experienced immensely cool temperatures. However, by the year 1940, the temperatures shifted again to strangely warm. The temperatures continued to rise, and by 1980s, glaciers started to retreat with some vanishing entirely. Mann, (508)
Today Other glaciers such as Andes of South America, Kilimanjaro in Africa, the Himalayas in Asia have continued to portray rapid retreat trends. Glacial geologists predict that some of these mountains may lose their glaciers entirely by 2040. (Zemp et al. 109)
This research paper will analyze in detail how human global warming activities have led to increasing temperatures which have in return driven to the glacier meltdown. It will also focus measures that can be put in place to reduce global warming effects.
Analyses and Discussion
For clarity this section will be divided into two facets, the fast will include data showing how carbon dioxide levels have increased over the years and its role in the rapid glacier melting. The second part will consist of data showing temperature anomalies and its impact on glacier retreating.
Global Carbon Dioxide Concentration and how it Accelerates Process of Glacier Melting
Fig.1Gallery, Susan. “global climate change.” 10 10 2017. global climate change.earth science community team. website. 21 10 2017.
The illustration shows an average concentration of carbon dioxide globally. From the image, it is evident that the there is more concentration of carbon dioxide in China, Europe, and Northern America. The common thing about these regions is that they are heavily industrialized. Having more industries means more carbon emissions.
Research carried out by geology glacial experts found out that 95% of glaciers in this region are melting away. The Himalayas Alps in Asia is one of the glaciers that scientist feel may vanish entirely in decades to come.
Another reason why these areas are experiencing more rapid glacier melting than other regions is that high concentration of carbon dioxide has been linked to the weakening ice molecules making it crack and eventually breaking away.
Carbon Dioxide Concentration anomaly
Fig 2: Gallery, Susan. “global climate change.” 10 10 2017. global climate change. earth science community team. website. 21 10 2017.
The graphical presentation above shows the level of carbon dioxide concentration in the last 400,000 years. From the graph, the level of carbon dioxide remained at 200 parts per million for the previous 400,000 years. However, the figures skyrocketed in the 1950s to 400PPM.
This shows that as the human global warming activities increased, the level of carbon dioxide also increased. Increase in carbon dioxide concentrations has accelerated the rate of Glacier Melting.
Increase in Global Temperatures and its Increase in World Glaciers
Fig.3 Shaftel, Holy. “global climate change.” 10 10 2017. relentless temperature rise. earth science community team. website. 21 10 2017.
The graph shows the temperature anomaly from the year 1880 to date. The temperature seems to drop between the years 1900 and 1920, but the general trend thereafter shows a gradual rise in temperatures with 2016 being the hottest year in history. Increase in heat is the main reason causing rapid melting down of glaciers.
Fig.4 Shaftel, Holy. “global climate change.” 10 10 2017. relentless temperature rise. earth science community team. website. 21 10 2017.
The above figure shows global temperature in different continents; one can observe that the regions that had more concentrations of carbon dioxide in the previous illustration also experienced high temperatures. One can, therefore, conclude that the human global warming activities are resulting in more emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants; this is in turn leading to increased temperatures making the glaciers to melt faster.
Global warming is such a contested field with some people terming it as a hoax and an avenue to make money through instilling fear of extinction. However from the evidence discussed and analyzed in this research paper, it beyond reasonable doubt that global warming exists.
Farmers acknowledge that they have experienced a change in climate patterns, global catastrophic never seen before are happening every day in different corners of the world, the USA, for instance, has experienced some of the deadliest tropical storms in its history In the year 2017 alone.
Polar ice is thinning and breaking apart due to the high temperatures; seabeds are rising, oceans are warming up, glaciers are fading away in almost all parts of the world.
Not all these unfolding were happening before scientists believe that nature’s equilibrium broke after an extended period of contamination of the atmosphere and other earth systems.
From the recent unfolding, it is clear that if the current global warming through human activities is not halted, the end of glaciers will be imminent. States should come up with measures and policies to assist in the reduction of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases to the atmospheres.
Countries should embrace the use of clean energy such as solar, fund, support a forestation programs, and promote the use of renewable energy among the public.
Kaser, Georg, et al. “Modern glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro as evidence of climate change: observations and facts.” international Journal of Climatology 24.3 (2004): 329-339.
Mann, Michael E. “Little ice age.” Encyclopedia of global environmental change 1 (2002): 504-509
Zemp, M., M. Hoelzle, and W. Haeberli. “Six decades of glacier mass-balance observations: a review of the worldwide monitoring network.” Annals of Glaciology 50.50 (2009): 101-111