Facts about Glaciers

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Presently, 10% of land area on Earth is covered with glacial ice, including glaciers, ice caps, and the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. Glaciers store about 75% of the world's freshwater. Glacier zed areas cover over 15 million square kilometers 5.8 million square miles). Antarctic ice is over 4.2 kilometers 2.6 miles) thick in some areas. In the United States, glaciers cover over 75,000 square kilometers 30,000 square miles), with most of the glaciers located in Alaska. During the last ice age, glaciers covered 32% of the total land area. If all land ice melted, sea level would rise approximately 70 meters 230 feet) worldwide. Glacier ice crystals can grow to be as large as baseballs. The land underneath parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be up to 2.5 kilometers 1.6 miles) below sea level, because of the weight of the ice.

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5 miles) in three months. the ice absorbs all other colors in the spectrum and reflects primarily blue. that usually means that there are many tiny air bubbles still in the ice.y North America's longest glacier is the Bering Glacier in Alaska. averaging about 112 meters 367 feet) per day. the world experienced a "Little Ice Age. In Washington state alone. measuring 204 kilometers 127 miles) long. glaciers provide 1. it raced more than 12 kilometers 7. which is what we see. Antarctic ice shelves may calve icebergs that are over 80 kilometers 50 miles) long. y y y y y y y . When glacier ice becomes extremely dense. From the 17th century to the late 19th century." when temperatures were consistently cool enough for significant glacier advances. Glacial ice often appears blue when it has become very dense. When glacier ice is white.8 trillion liters 470 billion gallons) of water each summer. Years of compression gradually make the ice denser over time. The Antarctic continent has been at least partially covered by an ice sheet for the past 40 million years. Almost 90% of an iceberg is below water³only about 10% shows above water. forcing out the tiny air pockets between crystals. The Ukiah Glacier in Pakistan holds the record for the fastest glacial surge. In 1953.

If the ice . including New York City. summer melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet increased by 30 percent as a result of a warmer climate. according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.4 million square miles. The temperature of the Antarctic Peninsula has increased by 2.Ice Caps Melting Facts According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Eighty percent of the sunlight that strikes the polar ice caps is reflected back out of our atmosphere. Climate Change's Effect o Between 1796 and 2006. there are two ice sheets in the world that cover Antarctica and the majority of Greenland. and the Greenland Ice Sheet measures 650. This would result in coastal flooding of the most powerful economic cities on the face of the Earth. The Antarctic Ice Sheet measures approximately 5. Effect on Global Temperature o The polar ice caps play an extremely important role in regulating the temperature of our planet.5 degrees Celsius since 1950. These two ice sheets contain 99 percent of the freshwater ice on our planet.000 square miles. Sea levels would rise 20 feet if the Greenland Ice Sheet melted and 200 feet if the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted.

in the form of sunlight. this energy. For example. Ozone protects the Earth from harmful UV rays from the sun and also keeps the temperature of our planet down. polar bears. The Ozone Hole's Effect o According to NASA.33 mm per year since 1993. The ozone hole is caused by human-created compounds that release bromine. According to the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and The Global Environment. global sea levels have been rising at a rate of 3. the melting of ice caps has had a devastating effect on ecosystems within the arctic region. seals. This made it difficult for native people to hunt these animals. . which ultimately would result in significantly warmer ocean temperatures. However.7 millimeters per year between 1870 and 1933 due to the melting of ice caps. However. As a result. warmer temperatures will lead to frequent and more intense extreme weather events. average global sea levels were rising at a rate of 1. "ozone hole" is a term used to describe the depletion of the ozone layer in Earth's atmosphere.and chlorine-based gases into the air. walruses and whales were forced to migrate to different regions in search of food. the Ward Ice Shelf once contained a unique freshwater lake. How Fast Are Sea Levels Rising? o According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. after it splintered due to melting.caps disappeared. which has resulted in warmer temperatures in the region. which is almost twice as fast. would be absorbed by the ocean. Effect on Arctic Ecosystems o According to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The ozone hole above Antarctica is one of the largest ozone holes in the world. thus making it more difficult for them to survive. the lake and the ecosystem it contained drained into the Arctic Ocean.

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