Glacier Melting


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This was an attempt in the Environmental Economics elective.

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Glacier Melting

  3. 5. WHY BOTHER ???
  5. 10. EFFECTS ACROSS THE GLOBE <ul><li>THE ARCTIC </li></ul><ul><li>Arctic melting appears to have accelerated in the late 1990s; estimates of combined annual melting rose from 100 sq km per year from 1980-89 to around 600 sq km per year in 2000s. </li></ul><ul><li>Greenland alone contains 12% of the world’s ice. There has been significant thinning and ice loss around the periphery. </li></ul><ul><li>NORTH AMERICA </li></ul><ul><li>Glaciers in the Rocky Mountains and Western Coastal Ranges have experienced considerable losses during this century, and melting is accelerating rapidly in southern Alaska. </li></ul><ul><li>Glacier National Park (Montana, USA) - established in 1910-two thirds of its glaciers and about 75% of its glacier area has disappeared; no glaciers will be left in the Park by 2030. </li></ul>
  6. 11. EFFECTS ACROSS THE GLOBE <ul><li>SOUTH AMERICA </li></ul><ul><li>The northern Andes contain the largest concentration of glaciers in the tropics, but these glaciers are receding rapidly. </li></ul><ul><li>Yanamarey Glacier lost a quarter of its area during the last fifty years, and Uruashraju and Broggi Glaciers lost 40-50% of their length from 1948-1990 . </li></ul><ul><li>ANTARTICA </li></ul><ul><li>Antarctica is blanketed by ice sheets that contain about 95% of the planet’s freshwater. Cold temperatures prevent significant surface melting, but bottom melting underneath glaciers at the junction between land and sea is rapid and widespread. </li></ul><ul><li>This is due to increased ocean temperatures thus causing rapid thinning and breakup of many large, floating ice shelves. </li></ul>
  7. 12. EFFECTS ACROSS THE GLOBE <ul><li>ASIA </li></ul><ul><li>The vast majority of all Himalayan glaciers have been retreating and thinning over the past 30 years, with accelerated losses in the last decade. Glaciers in the Bhutan Himalayas are now retreating at an average rate of 30-40 m per year. </li></ul><ul><li>The Chinese Meteorological Administration predicts that China’s northwestern mountains will lose over a quarter of their current glacier coverage by 2050. These glaciers supply 15-20% of the water to over 20 million people. </li></ul><ul><li>AFRICA </li></ul><ul><li>Tropical glaciers in Africa have decreased in area by 60-70% on average since the early 1900s. The ice fields atop Mt. Kilimanjaro have lost 80% of their area during this century and despite persisting for over 10,000 years, they are likely to disappear by 2020. </li></ul><ul><li>On Mt. Kenya, 7 of the 18 glaciers present in 1900 had disappeared by 1993 </li></ul>
  8. 13. <ul><li>Although our planet appears to be a watery oasis when viewed from space, most of this liquid is far too salty for humans, plants or animals to consume. Only about 2.5% of the water on earth is freshwater, and less than one-hundredth of one percent is drinkable and renewed each year through precipitation. </li></ul>
  9. 14. ISSUES <ul><li>Fresh Water Shortage </li></ul><ul><li>Almost all Water seen from space is salt water and hence Unfit for human use. Just over 2% of this water is freshwater and over 70% of this 2% make-up the earths glaciers. </li></ul><ul><li>Many on earth depend on the melting water from glaciers for their fresh water supply through lakes and rivers. </li></ul><ul><li>An ever-increasing human population and a rapidly decreasing glacier mass will lead to severe fresh water shortage in the near future. </li></ul>
  10. 15. <ul><li>Shortage of Electricity (Hydroelectricity) </li></ul><ul><li>There are many places across the planet that depend solely on the constant flow of water from melting glaciers for the production of electricity. Once this flow of water is reduced or stops, the production of this clean electricity will stop too. Alternative means would in turn promote global warming. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced Agricultural output </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture that depends solely on rain will be mostly unaffected by the effects of ice glaciers melting. Areas affected will be those that depend on water emanating from ice glaciers. During the dry seasons there will be a shortage of fresh water from ice glaciers, making the land dry and unsuitable for agriculture. Total agricultural output will reduce, leading to a shortage of food grains. </li></ul>
  11. 16. <ul><li>Excessive Flooding </li></ul><ul><li>In places where there are ice glaciers on higher altitudes and they are all melting rapidly, it will lead to a sudden increase in water input to rivers, causing floods all along the river. This excess water could also lead to the formation of new lakes which will keep on increasing in size. The water contained in these lakes could be tremendous, and the bursting of such lakes could cause a major catastrophe all around </li></ul><ul><li>Rise in sea-level </li></ul><ul><li>Water from melting ice glaciers on higher altitudes will form rivers. A lot of water that melts on sea-level glaciers gets emptied directly into the sea. The sea level is rising constantly at a rate of approximately 1mm to 2mm per year. Melting glaciers have a part to do with this rise. </li></ul>
  12. 17. <ul><li>Habitat Loss </li></ul><ul><li>There are many animals, birds, and fish that depend solely on glaciers for survival. With an increase in sea water temperature, and rising sea levels, sea-plants that certain fish thrive on will be lost, reducing the number of fish, which in-turn will make survival of many bird species difficult. </li></ul><ul><li>Vanishing of Coral-Reefs </li></ul><ul><li>Corals require sunlight for photosynthesis to survive and thrive. As the sea level rises, enough sunlight will not reach these corals, deteriorating their quality and even possibly killing them. Fish that depend on these corals for food will not survive. This will have an effect on the people who fish for survival in these areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Recontamination of Earth </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the pesticides like DDT get airborne and are finally deposited in cool areas containing glaciers. Up to a few years ago, these harmful chemicals remained trapped in the layers of glaciers. Rapid melting of these glaciers is now releasing these chemicals back into the environment. </li></ul>
  13. 18. <ul><li>REGIONS AT RISK </li></ul><ul><li>Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia where shrinking glaciers supply water year-round, and are often the sole source of water for major cities during dry seasons.   </li></ul><ul><li>The Himalayas where the danger of catastrophic flooding is severe and glacier-fed rivers supply water to one third of the world's population. </li></ul><ul><li>Small island nations such as Tuvalu and some of the Solomon Islands where sea level rise is submerging low-lying land and saltwater is inundating vital groundwater reserves. </li></ul><ul><li>NATURE AT RISK </li></ul><ul><li>Royal Bengal tiger endangered tigers that will lose a large portion of their worldwide habitat as the Sundarbans succumb to sea level rise.   </li></ul><ul><li>Kittlitz's murrelet rare birds specialized to hunt in cloudy glacier water and nest on top of ice. </li></ul><ul><li>Coral reefs unique organisms that can be starved of energy from the sun when sea levels rise. </li></ul>
  14. 19. Gangotri Glacier
  16. 22. Period Annual Snout Retreat (m) 1935-1956 4.35 (small cave)10.16 (large cave) 1956-1971 27.33 1971-1974 27.34 1974-1975 35.00 1975-1976 38.00 1976-1977 30.00 1977-1990 28.08 1990-1996 28.33
  17. 23. Solutions
  18. 24. Solutions
  19. 25. CONCLUSION