Patagonian Ice Fields Disappearing at an Alarming Rate
Global climate change is something that we are all finally accepting as the evidence supporting it is mounting at an alarming rate. This has spurned many to make dramatic changes in their lifestyles, going green in order to help reduce the burden we place on our planet. Many regular individuals are striving to do their part, reducing their consumption of goods, eating locally and in season, and voting with their dollars. By making sustainable purchases, such as solar powered garage doors, hybrid cars, and energy efficient appliances, people make conscious decisions that they are going to try to do right by the planet. But is it too little too late?
We have all heard about the record receding rate of the ice caps at both poles. The melting is alarming in that it is happening at a record rate and the potential calamities that could ensue if this continues are beyond scary. Rising sea levels could threaten billions in coastal cities around the world, and dramatic weather phenomena threaten people everywhere. The melting has the potential to shut down the warm current of water that keeps most of Europe pleasant and inhabitable. But there are more than just the polar caps. In Chile, the Patagonian ice fields are the third largest in the world, behind the caps at the poles. The ice fields in Patagonia are receding at an incredibly alarming rate. It has been shown through time-lapsed footage that the fields have receded by a half mile in just one year.
Historical studies of the ice fields in Patagonia show that the ice fields receded about 12 miles per century, remember that is per century. Studies since the 1990s show that the fields receded seven miles in seven years. And the latest findings are even more alarming when we consider the long-time scale that ice sheets “live” and “die.” These findings also show that the Patagonian ice fields are not the hardest hit and that the Chilean climate has been mostly stable even despite the rapid loss of the ice sheets. But this cannot hold forever and it could be an indicator that there are bigger problems for other ice sheets that we weren’t aware of. These findings should raise a lot of eyebrows and are a big cause for concern. While many of us are making changes, there are also many who wonder if it might be too late to minimize the damage we have caused to our planet.
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Photo credit: Some rights reserved by by Chadica on Flickr.
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