Wednesday, May 14, 2014

BEFORE AND AFTER: Photos Show How Climate Change Is Already Melting The World's Glaciers


climate change

While climate change is affecting every corner of the planet in different ways, the most striking evidence of a warming world is often captured by images of shrinking glaciers and the widespread disappearance of snow and ice.

Scientists are most concerned about how the dramatic loss of Antarctic land ice contributes to global sea level rise.

Researchers reported on Monday that the West Antarctic ice sheet is now in a state of irreversible collapse and could raise sea levels by as much as 4 feet by the end of the century.

The rapid retreat of the West Antarctic ice sheet is anecdotal of climate change-related impacts on ice around the world. Most glaciers have thinned and retreated during the last century. Some of this change is the result of natural ice dynamics, but warmer water flowing up from the deep ocean speeds up the rate of melting.

The comparison images that follow show significant changes to glaciers that have occurred over times periods that range from months to decades. The photos were collected by NASA for their "State of Flux" series and generally document effects that are related to increasing temperatures.

Pine Island glacier is one of the fastest-moving glaciers in Antarctica. Scientists worry that this will have a major impact on sea level rise. A 2012 image shows a major break forming along the western edge of the glacier.

Source: NASA

The crack continued to widen over the next year and in November 2013 a chunk of ice six times the size of Manhattan finally broke off. These calving events happen about every five or six years but this iceberg was about 50% larger than previous ones in the area.

Source: NASA

A series of images shows the retreat of the terminus of Bear Glacier in southern Alaska between 1980 and 2011. As the glacier has melted, chunks of ice have broken off the main mass and formed icebergs in the water.

Source: NASA

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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