Maps showing depletion of Greenland’s ice fields between July 8 and 12 2012. July 12 version is on the right. Maps via The Weather Channel and NASA
It’s happening much faster than most climatologists thought it would: the world’s polar ice caps and ice fields are melting at an alarming rate and virtually simultaneously. It’s not a problem of giant plumes of gurgling methane. The problem of rising temperatures has brought on the “greenhouse effect”; a phenomena caused by increased use of fossil fuels.Bridge in Greenland destroyed by melting glacier ice: N.Y. Daily News
Although the melting of Arctic and Antarctic ice has been in the news more and more recently, the most startling example of accelerating rates of melting ice fields involved Greenland’s ice sheet, comprised of giant glaciers including the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland. Unseasonably warm weather in Greenland, almost such that might be known elsewhere as “t-shirt weather”, has caused a rapid melting of the island’s ice fields in a rate unheard of since 1889.
NASA space mapping of Greenland shows that in a mere 4 day period, from July 8 to 12, much of Greenland’s massive ice sheet has melted.
The Middle East is far removed from such areas as Greenland and other Arctic regions, as well as from cold regions in and around the world’s seventh continent, Antarctica. But far removed as it is, the Middle East will eventually be very much effected by melting polar ice – and rising seas – especially coastal regions where many Middle Eastern and Asian cities are located, including Alexandria Egypt, located at the mouth of the Nile River delta and part of that country’s most fertile farming areas.
Even a slight sea level rise of the Mediterranean could be catastrophic to the Nile Delta region as well as Mediterranean coastal cities like Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beirut. In addition, the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, the two straits that divide Turkey between Europe and Asia, would look a bit ‘different’.
From the south, from Antarctica, melting Antarctic ice will eventually raise sea levels in the Indian Ocean and also in the Arabian Gulf, where many coastal cities like Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Dubai are located. A 3 to 5 meter sea level rise in this region would have devastating effects as well.
Can anything be done to reverse this trend? Some climatologists already say it may already be too late to stop or even slow down global warming. Others have theories that global warming will result in increasing acidity in the oceans, threatening marine life and the algae that manufactures much of the very oxygen we breathe.
It’s not a very pleasant scenario, any way you look at it.
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