BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Another Greenland glacier is melting into the North Atlantic Ocean after becoming detached from its stabilizing still earlier on. The glacier is called Zachariae Isstrom and first began what is known as an accelerated retreat back in 2012. Since then it has continued melting at what is now an annual rate of 5 billion tons per year.
This melting process could have severe consequences on the increase in global sea levels as well as negatively impact the climate worldwide. Rising sea levels can have devastating consequences and the ones that Zachariae Isstrom could cause by melting can certainly not be ignored considering the glacier’s size. Zachariae Isstrom is roughly the size of Maine and if it completely melts it will manage to elevate the global sea levels by more than 18 inches.
Unsurprisingly, the reason why the glacier is melting is climate change and the rise in global temperatures. Scientists have been warning us about the negative effects of climate change for quite some time, but the reality of these consequences is just starting to sink in now, when the situation is dire, more so than ever before. Recent reports have announced that average global temperatures are now dangerously high and if their rise is not limited to 2 degrees Celsius Earth will be at risk.
One of the negative side effects global warming has had is the melting of the Zachariae Isstrom, which has two main contributing factors, both caused by climate change. Dr. Eric Rignot, author of the study, explains that the glacier is melting both above and below. Its top is melting because of the constant rise in air temperatures over the past decades and its underside is being melted by currents that are carrying increasingly warmer ocean water.
Melting of the Earth’s glaciers’ undersides has been an increasingly concerning issue as the amount of this type of melting has doubled since 1990 with half of that increase being the result of only the past 5 years.
Researchers have been mapping the Zachariae Isstrom glacier for more than 40 years using a high-resolution technology known as bed mapping. Their findings show that the glacier started melting faster around the year 2000 that the process was accelerated by 25 percent in 2012 because of the drastic rise in global warming rates within the past years.
The team is now working on calculating the exact impact that the melting of the Zachariae Isstrom will have globally as nearly all of the coastal countries worldwide are likely to be affected by the rise in sea levels.
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