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    Melting of earth's ice cover
    Tree conservation
      Melting of Earth's Ice Cover
      Melting of Earth's Ice Cover  
      The Earth's ice cover is melting in more places and at higher rates than at any time since record keeping began. The Earth's ice cover acts as a protective mirror, reflecting a large share of the sun's heat back into space and keeping the planet cool. Loss of the ice would not only affect the global climate, but would also raise sea levels and spark regional flooding, damaging property and endangering lives.

    Himalayan glacier lakes are filling up with more and more melted ice and some are now poised to burst their banks in Bhutan, with a similar number at risk in Nepal and India. This is just a beginning. Future disasters around the Himalayas will include floods, droughts, land erosion, biodiversity loss and changes in rainfall and the monsoon.

    Large-scale melting would also threaten key water supplies as well as alter the habitats of many of the world's plant and animal species. The disappearance of Earth's ice cover would significantly alter the global climate-though the net effects remain unknown. Ice, particularly polar ice, reflects large amounts of solar energy back into space, and helps keep the planet cool.

    When ice melts, however, this exposes land and water surfaces that retain heat-leading to even more melt and creating a feedback loop that accelerates the overall warming process.

    As mountain glaciers shrink, large regions that rely on glacial runoff for water supply could experience severe shortages.Large-scale ice melt would also raise sea levels and flood coastal areas, currently home to about half the world's people.

    Over the past century, melting in ice caps and mountain glaciers has contributed on average about one-fifth of the estimated 10-25 centimeter (4-10 inch) global sea level rise-with the rest caused by thermal expansion of the ocean as the Earth warmed. But ice melt's share in sea level rise is increasing, and will accelerate if the larger ice sheets crumble. Antarctica alone is home to 70 percent of the planet's fresh water, and collapse of the WAIS, an ice mass the size of Mexico, would raise sea levels by an estimated 6 meters-while melting of both Antarctic ice sheets would raise them nearly 70 meters.

    Are we awake to this issue? If not let's get together.....

    Selected examples of ice melt around the world



    Measured Loss
    Sea Ice
    Arctic Ocean Has shrunk by 6 percent since 1978, with a 14 percent loss of thicker, year-round ice. Has thinned by 40 percent in less than 30 years.
    Ice Sheet
    Greenland Has thinned by more than a meter a year on its southern and eastern edges since 1993.
    United States
    Has retreated nearly 13 kilometers since 1982. In 1999, retreat rate increased from 25 meters per day to 35 meters per day.
    National Park
    Rocky Mtns.,
    United States
    Since 1850, the number of glaciers has dropped from 150 to fewer than 50. Remaining glaciers could disappear completely in 30 years.
    Sea Ice
    Southern Ocean Ice to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula decreased by some 20 percent between 1973 and 1993, and continues to decline.
    Pine Island
    Grounding line (where glacier hits ocean and floats) retreated 1.2 kilometers a year between 1992 and 1996. Ice thinned at a rate of 3.5 meters per year.
    Larsen B
    Ice Shelf
    Calved a 200 km2 iceberg in early 1998. Lost an additional 1,714 km2 during the 1998-1999 season, and 300 km2 so far during the 1999-2000 season.
    Tasman Glacier New Zealand Terminus has retreated 3 kilometers since 1971, and main front has retreated 1.5 kilometers since 1982. Has thinned by up to 200 meters on average since the 1971-82 period. Icebergs began to break off in 1991, accelerating the collapse.
    Meren, Carstenz,
    and Northwall Firn Glaciers
    Irian Jaya,
    Rate of retreat increased to 45 meters a year in 1995, up from only 30 meters a year in 1936. Glacial area shrank by some 84 percent between 1936 and 1995. Meren Glacier is now close to disappearing altogether.
    Dokriani Bamak
    Retreated by 20 meters in 1998, compared with an average retreat of 16.5 meters over the previous 5 years.
    Ulan Ula
    Mtns., China
    Glaciers have shrunk by some 60 percent since the early 1970s.
    Tien Shan
    Central Asia Twenty-two percent of glacial ice volume has disappeared in the past 40 years.
    Russia Glacial volume has declined by 50 percent in the past century.
    Alps Western
    Glacial area has shrunk by 35 to 40 percent and volume has declined by more than 50 percent since 1850. Glaciers could be reduced to only a small fraction of their present mass within decades.
    Mt. Kenya Kenya Largest glacier has lost 92 percent of its mass since the late 1800s.
    Speka Glacier Uganda Retreated by more than 150 meters between 1977 and 1990, compared with only 35-45 meters between 1958 and 1977.
    Upsala Glacier Argentina Has retreated 60 meters a year on average over the last 60 years, and rate is accelerating.
    Andes, Peru Rate of retreat increased to 30 meters a year in the 1990s, up from only 3 meters a year between the 1970s and 1990.
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