Glaciers all around the world play a pivotal role in the Earth’s environment. Glacier melting is extremely harmful to our planet, and has been increasing since the 20th century.
Glaciers are giant ice masses formed when snow falls in the same place for several years. Through decades and centuries, the snow at the bottom is compressed by the weight of the fresh snow, forming a glacier.
Glaciers are incredibly important natural features. They are essential to the water quality and volume, as well as the water cycle.. They are giant freshwater reservoirs with tremendous impact on plant life, human life, and even areas far away. If all of the glaciers were to melt, sea levels across the world would rise more than 230 feet. This would result in global floods in coastal areas. As sea levels rise, flooding, destruction, and displacement all increase. Without as much ice, the planet will also directly absorb more energy from the sun, which could make it heat up faster.
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, monitors more than 18,600 glaciers across 50 World Heritage sites. They have stated that by 2050, a third of glaciers are going to disappear. The glaciers in world renowned Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks are predicted to be a part of this third. Other glaciers on this list include those in Mount Kenya, Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania, The Dolomite Mountains in Italy, and the Pyrenees’ Mont Perdu in France and Spain. The melting of these glaciers would not only disconnect us from natural wonders, but also take away from the communities that depend on glaciers for their lives.
Without a sizable decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, further glacier damage can not be prevented.