Melting Ice Caps

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					Melting Ice Caps
    By Alice Vernon
Greenhouse gases
are being emitted into
the Earth’s
Scientists believe that
the carbon dioxide
pollution is trapping
the sun’s heat inside
the world’s
atmosphere and so
the temperatures are
As the temperatures rise, the polar ice
caps feel the effects. They are melting.

This could result in disastrous events such
as the sea level slowly rising and flooding
the land nearest to the coast.

Many people will die with the lack of clean
drinking water as their lakes and rivers
have been contaminated by the salty ice
water. The floods will also spread famine
and disease, killing millions of people.
The rate in which global warming is happening is
increasing. The temperatures are rising more
than twenty times faster than the global warming
occurring in the last century. This is because of
the massive number of cars being driven on the
road and the thick smoke and pollution being
released into the air by factories and power
plants. The Earth’s main protection from global
warming, vegetation, is quickly disappearing as
the human race is clearing the trees for farm
land and building more fume belching factories.
          Ice caps 1973             Ice caps 2003

These pictures taken by NASA satellites show just how
serious the problem of the melting ice caps actually is. This
shows the change in the size of the polar ice caps in just
thirty years. All the ice that has melted has gone into the sea
to increase the levels by 2mm a year. This is growing
though, as the temperatures rise and melt even more ice.
The polar ice caps are not just slowly
melting but getting weaker. In 1995 a
massive ice shelf broke off into the sea,
rapidly affecting the size of the ice caps.
The ice shelf measured 1600 km². In
1998, another ice shelf which measured
1100 km² broke away and then in 2002 a
huge 13500 km² fell into the sea. These
figures are very worrying as these huge
blocks of ice may have held home to
hundreds of animals which will die as the
ice melts into nothing far off into sea.
In 100 years, the sea level has been
believed to rise over 6 inches. Scientists
have predicted that by the year 2100, the
ice caps may be completely melted and
the sea level will have risen between 50
inches and 90 inches. This water will spill
over coastland and into lakes and rivers.
A lot of land and lives will be lost.
Scientists have discovered that
the polar ice caps are one of the
Earth’s natural defences against
the full heat of the Sun. It is
believed that the ice reflected a
lot of the suns heat back into
space and so keeping the Earth
at a temperature suitable for the
habitation of humans, plants and
animals. Because the carbon
dioxide pollution is trapping the
suns heat in the Earth’s
atmosphere, the ice caps are
melting and no longer have the
power and surface area to reflect
the majority of the Sun’s heat.
This results in the Earth getting
even hotter as the full intensity of
the sun slowly works its way to
the atmosphere and then gets
trapped by the carbon dioxide
Scientists have discovered, however, that
without some greenhouse gases present
in the Earth’s atmosphere, the average
temperature of the Earth would be 0°c and
no species could be able to survive. It is
because there is carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere that the Earth is able to
support life. If everyone was to stop using
their cars and shut down all polluting
factories, the Earth’s temperatures would
suddenly drop and many species,
including humans, would die out.
As the ice caps melt, many
species who live in that area will
become extremely endangered
or extinct. Species such as the
polar bear, penguin and arctic
seal will find that their homes
disappear into nothing and so
will die out. Many eco systems
will break down and while some
species will thrive and their
numbers will become
increasingly huge but other
animals will die out as their food
becomes scarce.
Scientists have found that
there is a lot of
greenhouse gases on
Venus. Because of the
density of the gas, a lot of
infrared rays get trapped
in the atmosphere,
making the planet very
dangerous. If
greenhouse gases
continue to be released
into the atmosphere,
Earth could end up like
Venus one day.
When the sea levels did rise, many
islands would be lost and, because
most of the islands are poor, they
may not be able to be evacuated in
It is predicted that places such as
London, Los Angeles, New York,
Tokyo and Shanghai, were millions of
the world’s population live, will find
themselves submerged in icy water.
The only way to prevent this from happening is to cut
 down on the amount of carbon gases we release into the
 atmosphere every day. We need to keep plants and
 vegetation were they are as they will help to naturally
 relieve the Earth of excess carbon dioxide. Only when
 humans do this, can they provide a safe planet for future
 generations. Otherwise, they may find themselves up to
 their ears in icy water.


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