I saw a very interesting program on the T.V. over the weekend about how the ice caps and glaciers around the world are melting. Some have already vanished completely, forever. Most people might think, "What's the big deal? Antartica's got plenty of ice!" But the ice isn't melting just in Antartica. Even here in the US the glaciers in Glacier National Park in Montana is melting rapidly.
You still might think that none of the places with glaciers or ice caps are near you, so what's the big deal? It is a big deal. To everyone.
Here's the deal. Unlike the Little Ice Age, this rapidly decreasing melt-down is not due to natural cycles...but due to the greenhouse effect.
So now you're thinking, "Blah, blah, blah, get off your soap box." That's ok, don't deny it, I can hear you! But here's a list of some of the effects of the melt-down:
1. Many downstream areas from glaciers and ice caps depend on seasonal melting for most, if not all, of their water supply. If this disappears, they will either have to find a new source of water, or migrate.
2. Ice melt keeps streams and rivers cool for salmon and wildlife.
3. The melt-down is causing sea levels to rise. The rise in sea level impacts every coastal town in the world as they lose coastal land.
4. In Asia, the sea is pushing into fresh water rice fields, where rice will not grow (some places have adapted by switching their rice fields to shrimp farms).
5. Flooding. Ponds, lakes, rivers, streams...any body of water fed by a glacier or ice cap expands and may not recede.
So now for a little projectional theory and alarmist news: In some of the scientists' computer projections, based upon the documented recordings of ice melt, seas can rise enough to move the shoreline in some places not just feet, but hundreds of feet.
Even if we could stop the Earth's temperature from rising today, right now, ice will continue to melt for another 50 years. As I said, it was interesting stuff. We can't reverse it or stop, but maybe we can slow it down by acting responsibly toward the Earth.