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

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

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