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Why are glaciers important for the earth & climate? – Enlightenment

Why are glaciers important for the earth & the climate? - Clarification

Climate change favors glacier retreat and glacier death

Imposing , fascinating, powerful and ecologically valuable; these attributes characterize glaciers. In their capacity as gigantic water reservoirs, they act as main springsfor numerous bodies of water such as the Danube and Rhine. At the same time, they serve as valuable potable water reservoirs and are considered meaningful indicators of climate change, which is why experts call them ” climate indicators“. According to scientific definition, year-round ice sheets with an extent of at least 0.1 square kilometers are classified as glaciers.

The melting of the Alpine glaciers has been precisely documented. According to the estimates of renowned scientists, there is actually no glacier in the regions of the Austrian Eastern Alps that is capable of surviving in connection with the current climatic conditions. According to glaciers, the glaciers in the Austrian area are circling around >15 m per calendar year back. In the period of timebetween 1850and 2020, the Alpine glaciers have more in total strong>as 60% of their original volumelost.

In the Himalayan region, glacier melt leads to a permanent increase in the glacial lake's own water levels, which pose a permanent threat to the surrounding villages, settlements and valleys in the form of flooding. In a worldwide comparison, the glacier areas Patagonia, which are located in Argentina and Chile, are among the ice masses , which comparatively fastestmeltor disappear. In the time window between the calendar years 1997 and 2004, the associated glacier areas lost around 42 cubic kilometers of ice mass every year. The glacial die-off of the Patagonian glaciers is contributing to a marked rise in seawater levels, minimizing the amount of available drinking water and increasing the likelihood of water shortages.

Climate change and rising global mean temperature are fueling dangerous phenomena…

In the course of climate change and the associated rise in global temperature as well as the ongoing warming of the glacier subsoil, glacier areas are increasingly disappearing, which has negative consequences for ecology, water balance and the economy. The meltingof glaciers reduces the base mass of the ice flow that is responsible for the continued pressure regulation on mountain ranges, slopes and mountain flanks is responsible and purposefully stabilizes the glacial blocks, which are constantly in dynamic motion. This process forces the Instability of the slope flanksand encourages the glacial masses to slide down towards the valley.

As a result, the probability of landslides, debris flows, glacial floods, scree avalanches and rockfalls in the affected territories increases significantly and makes glaciers regionally unsafe. The thawing of the permafrost soils fires this mechanismadditionally and significantly reduces the respective stability of the individual slopes.

Melt water flows or glacier flowsbind effectively CO2 and extract greenhouse gas from the air masses. An example of this is the high Arctic Lake Hazen, which is fed by a total of 11 glacial rivers. Research by a University of Alberta science team shows that the glacial rivers around Lake Hazen absorb an average of 1,000 tons of CO2 per year. In relation to the Amazon region, the Lake Hazen territory filtered about 40 times more greenhouse gas from the atmosphere in the 2015 calendar year. Responsible for this are chemical processes that characterize the specific weathering reactions in the meltwater rivers. In the course of this, the water bodies absorb CO2 from the atmosphere or air and bind the environmentally harmful climate gas in the form of ions, silicon compounds and inorganic carbon. If the glaciers disappear as a result of ongoing global warming, the meltwater flows emanating from the glaciers will subside and undermine this effective CO2 sink.

The glacial retreatand the associated minimization of the available water sources, also has negative consequences for European inland navigation in the area of ​​the Alps. Since the Alpine glaciers feed a large number of European rivers, inland waterways will in future turn into potentially impassable or impassable waterways.

Extreme weather events are linked to catastrophic consequences in the Alpine region. As a result, weather phenomena such as rapid changes between wind drift, heavy snowfall and cold and warm increase the risk of giant avalanches.

Climate change is fueling species extinction and destabilizing valuable ecosystems

Climate changeis also significantly reducing biodiversityin the area of ​​mountains. As a reaction to the ongoing global warming, an riseor a hike up the alpine mountain florawatch. While highly competitive species are moving upwards, climate change turns out to be a danger for the objectively highly adapted high mountain flora, which cannot react to the constantly changing climatic conditions with sufficient modifications and can move upwards. When the different species reach the respective mountain peak, it is not possible for the individual species to move further up the mountain, so that the corresponding animals and plants in the respective area become extinct.

Weather extremes, which can be attributed to climate change, also promote the destabilizationof existing forest ecosystemsand intensify existing damage in this regard. Both air pollutants and greenhouse gases contribute to pronounced storm throws and the mass proliferation of insects potentially harmful to montane forests. As a reaction to this, the total area of ​​existing mountain forests is decreasing, which increases the risk of erosion processes on the mountain, mudslides, avalanches, rockfalls, landslides, rockfalls and floods. This is linked to an extreme risk potential for mountaineers.

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