Human-made greenhouse gas emissions and large-scale changes in weather conditions are all part of climate change and global warming.
Environmental changes such as melting ice at the North and South Poles have not only raised sea levels, but are also having a major influence on the earth’s crust.
What will happen to the earth’s crust if the ice continues to melt?
(Photo: Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND – SEPTEMBER 04: In an aerial view, icebergs that calved from the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier float in the Ilulissat Icefjord on September 04, 2021 in Ilulissat, Greenland.
There are three things that can happen. One is that all this meltwater is being dumped into the ocean. If the ice caps melted as they currently do, the total ocean mass would undoubtedly increase. The second thing that happens is that the gravitational influence of the ice sheet on the surrounding water weakens. As a result, the water begins to move away from the ice cap. The third point is that when the ice cap melts, the ground below rises and recovers.
The weight of the ice over Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic Islands is rising, causing the earth’s crust to rise and expand. The movement is not large, on average less than a millimeter each year, but it does exist and covers a lot of territory.
Several previous studies have shown the elevation that can occur when ice caps melt, but Ph.D. Sophie Coulson and her colleagues have focused on horizontal changes in a larger region. They found that the deformations varied a lot from year to year.
Researchers have found that in some places horizontal movement exceeds vertical movement. To assess the movement of the crust in three dimensions, the researchers used satellite data and field observations from 2003 to 2018.
The study indicates that some changes since the end of the Ice Age 11,000 years ago are still being felt across the planet.
The researchers compared the effect of ice floe to a plank of wood pulled down over the water as the plank is lifted and the weight removed, the liquid expands to fill the empty space, just as it does. made with the earth’s crust. And, if the rate of ice melt continues to increase around the world, researchers must be able to determine what effect this is having on the shape of the Earth’s surface, even if the changes are small each year.
This new research provides more comprehensive information on what is going on than anything we have seen before, which is invaluable not only for studying the melting ice and changes in Earth’s structure, but also for a variety of ‘other scientific studies.
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Polar ice caps at the North and South Poles
An ice cap is a large mass of glacial ice that covers more than 50,000 square kilometers (20,000 square miles). The two ice caps that now exist on Earth encompass most of Greenland and Antarctica. Ice caps covered most of North America and Scandinavia during the previous Ice Age.
The Antarctic and Greenland ice caps together contain over 99 percent of the world’s freshwater ice. The Antarctic ice sheet covers more than 14 million square kilometers (5.4 million square miles), which is equivalent to the combined area of the contiguous United States and Mexico. 30 million standard cubic kilometers (7.2 million cubic miles) of ice make up the Antarctic ice sheet. The Greenland ice sheet covers an area of 1.7 million square kilometers.
The Greenland ice sheet covers most of the island of Greenland, which is three times the size of Texas, and covers 1.7 million square kilometers (656,000 square miles).
They occur in places where winter snow does not completely melt during the summer. Snow layers accumulate in massive masses of ice over thousands of years, thickening and densifying as the weight of new layers of snow and ice crush previous layers.
The ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica also have an impact on the weather and climate. Storm tracks are altered by high elevation plateaus on the ice caps, which generate cold descending winds near the ice surface.
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