Melting glaciers, consequences for the planet | In deep

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The melting of glaciers is a reality of which some people are not aware, as well as the dangers that this represents for humanity.


WMO warns of rapid change in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice

Glaciers recede each year due, in large part, to climate change and this can affect the flow of water in rivers, as well as the level of the oceans.

The United Nations (UN) has already warned that the world's glaciers are melting at a speed that seems impossible to stop.

The disappearance of the glaciers means less water for millions of people, less hydroelectric power and less possibility to irrigate crops.

melting of glaciers

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has indicated that the last eight years have been the hottest ever recorded, added to the high concentrations of greenhouse gases that exceed their own marks every year. This gives an indication of how voracious man's action can be.

In the annual report on climate, the WMO stated at the time that "Antarctic sea ice fell to its lowest level and the melting of some European glaciers literally broke records".

In the same way, the sea level has also reached its maximum and the effects of all this catastrophe can be observed in droughts, heat waves and floods, facts that are evident in various parts of the world.

As for the temperatures of the oceans, where 90 percent of the heat trapped on Earth ends up, the record has also been broken.

According to the WMO, the global average temperature in 2022 stood at 1.15 degrees Celsius (ºC), this being above the average of 1850-1900.

“The baseline glaciers for which long-term observations are available experienced a mean thickness change of more than −1.3 meters between October 2021 and October 2022. This is a much larger loss than the average for the last decade. Six of the ten years with the most negative mass balances on record (1950-2022) were recorded from 2015. The accumulated thickness loss since 1970 is almost 30 m”, the organization detailed.

In the Swiss Alps, 6.2 percent of glacier mass was lost last summer, the highest amount on record.

The WMO Secretary General, Petteri Taalas, declared last April that this situation is serious and may pose a "great risk for the future", reiterating that to stop the melting it would be necessary to create a way to remove carbon dioxide (CO2 ) from the atmosphere.

On the other hand, for May, the WMO warned about the rapid changes that occur at the poles due to the progressive thaw. He added that the melting of glaciers, among other areas, has added to half of the rise in sea level.

a little hope

"This negative trend... could continue until the 2060s, regardless of our success in mitigating climate change," the official said.

However, he considered that there is still hope and that the fight against climate change must continue. One of the most viable options is green energy, being cheaper than fossil fuels.

"In the best of cases, we could still reach a warming of 1.5ºC, which would be the best for the well-being of humanity, the biosphere and the world economy," he said.

It is time to apply the initiatives that generate greater efficiency to face climate change, an issue that is more present as a serious problem and against which countries have begun to act, but more is needed.

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Nathan Rivera
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