Ice caps and glaciers are melting at an alarming rate due to global warming. Many civilizations in the world rely on the seasonal melting of glaciers for their drinking water sources. As temperatures rise, these glaciers are getting smaller and thinner. Eventually, they will be completely gone, leaving millions of people without fresh water.
Melting glaciers flow through streams and rivers, and eventually reach the ocean. As the ice melts, the sea level increases. The oceans have risen 5 cm (2 inches) in just the last 20 years, and are expected to rise another 30-120 cm (1-4 feet) by 2100. Coastal cities are already seeing threats from rising sea levels. If all of the ice sheets on Earth melted, they would raise the sea level by 62 meter (216 feet). The water would create new coastlines around the world, wiping out Florida and much of California in the United States, putting much of China’s most populated areas underwater, and flooding the UK. That’s just to name a few.
While scientists estimate that it would take a very long time for all of the Earth’s ice to melt, if trends continue, glaciers may be a thing of the past within our lifetimes. When Glacier National Park in Montana was established, there were over 100 glaciers within its boundary. Now, there are only 26, and each one of them is getting smaller. Studies show that glaciers are melting quicker than they were even a decade ago. If carbon emissions are not stopped, scientists now believe that glaciers will not survive through this century.
Without the glaciers rivers as big as the Ganges will run dry.