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People Against the Earth: Cycle of Melting of Ice Caps in the Environment

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People against the Earth: Cycle of melting of ice caps in the environment It is very shocking to see how many people do not have the knowledge or the interest to educate themselves about one of the biggest issues of the Earth. There are many articles about the climate change in general, but this essay will answer a question what are the effects of melting ice caps on climate change? Firstly what is global warming and what is climate change? Global warming is just the Earth’s rising surface temperature and climate change is a bigger category and global warming is one part of its category. In another words global warming is one issue of a much larger problem of human caused climate change. Both of them are a commonly talked about issue among scientists since it causes many changes in the environment including the melting of ices which has an effect on all parts of the world. Because of the sea level rising there are, even if it is not a rapid increase, many devastating effects on land habitants, and also there is a threat of the next ice age. Firstly the melting of polar ice caps can affect countries, as continents. A lot of parts of the “now known” continents would totally disappear under the ocean; which would mean that people that live there now, would lose their homes and the number of people per square foot would rise rapidly. The sunk parts of the countries would affects also the fauna and flora. It is clear that many species are dying out now and also would die out because they would lose their homes and the environment they are designed to live in. Same goes for flora; plants would not be able to spread that fast and adjust to a different environment so they would become extinct. If we summarize it the rise in temperatures of the climate affects the ice in polar areas by melting it. That affects the climate because as the ocean level rises, the most powerful stream called the Gulf Stream is disappearing and that affects again the climate. It is like one cycle that is hard to slow down and even harder, probably impossible, to stop. In Slovakia and generally in Europe, there is a very noticeable change in climate over the past years, but still the melting polar ice caps are still bigger issue. Even if it is such a big issue there are many different people that have a different prospective on it. We can find various ways of seeing this issue. There are climate change deniers which a people that don’t believe there is such an issue as global warming, those is the least amount. Then we can see people who know about the issue but not take it seriously so they don’t do anything about it, also people that take it seriously but still don’t do anything to prevent it, and the most significant group of people are the people that take it seriously and are active in helping the environment of the Earth.
There are many different beliefs scientists have on the issue of ice caps melting. Many articles usually report on the main cause of the ice caps melting being due to the rising temperatures around the world. In the article by Rebecca Terrell called “Are the Ice Caps Melting?” there are more points of views from different well educated scientists. Some scientists, according to Terrell believe that the temperatures will keep rising and that will result in the polar areas that will be ice free within few decades. She mentions a published report of the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) that analyzes Dr. Wieslav Maslowski’s research. It said, “Should the present trend of sea ice melt continue, some models suggest that the Arctic Ocean could become near ice free in the summer time within one decade” (Danish Meteorological Institute qtd by Terrell 21). His research suggests that there will be warmer and warmer weather as time goes on. He also said that we should expect to see no ice in the polar areas during the summers in next few decades. The records by the DMI show that the total area of the sea ice are practically identical in the Arctic for the past five years, but the age and thickness of the ice are undergoing dramatic changes (Terrell 21). However, Terrell explains that there is a higher chance of the temperatures actually lowering. In the article, Mojib Latif, a top climate modeler, says that “we are at the beginning of a cooling period” (Latif qtd by Terrell 21), which means that summers and winters will get cooler because of the high temperatures in the past few decades. Mojib explains that “cyclical changes in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans causes Earth’s temperatures to fluctuate between warm and cold modes every 20-30 years.” (Mojib qtd by Terrell 21) We are at the start of a cooling period now. So, in other words, the melting ice caps in the Arctic cannot be due to the Arctic heating up, but in part because of the “multi-decadal oscillations” (MDOs) (Terrell 21). As Terrell explains that during the winter months, the Arctic ice surface gets partly restored to its original size because the water freezes, but during the year, and especially summer months, it melts more than ever (Terrell 21). Most importantly, global warming reduces the thickness of floating ice caps, which leads to a lot of damage. However, global warming has advantages also. Global warming makes it easier for scientists to search under the ice surface of the arctic areas to get oil from the underground space. Unfortunately, overall there are more negative effects on global warming than positive (Terrell 22). Another belief that some scientists have, is that the melting of polar ice caps can cause much more frequent volcanic eruptions. In the article by Fred Pearce called “Melting Ice Caps Could Lead to More Volcanic Eruptions”, Pearce identifies the link between climate change and increased volcanic eruptions. More precisely, he focuses on how the polar ice caps lead to frequent volcanic activity. He supports his idea with the discovery from Bill McGuire that, “During the last great melt 12,000 years ago, volcanic activity on Iceland was up to 50 times greater than over the past century…” (Pearce). The increase in volcanic activity just adds on another threat that the melting of polar ice caps can bring to the world. As there are always two sides, other scientists are refusing the link between the melting of the ice caps and the volcanic eruptions, so basically they say it is exactly the other way around. They compare the volcanic eruptions during the ice age to the volcanic eruptions now, they were more frequent during very high temperatures (Pearce). Even when the author of this article mentions the other possibility, he does not make any predictions or judgements because he is a journalist and leaves the opinions up to the scientists. Also that is seen in the article from Terrell since she does not end her article with one conclusion. So both authors put arguments from both side of the issue, so their respective articles aren’t generally biased. Even though there is a lot of evidence to suggest that global warming is actually happening, there is still a part of the world that believes that there is no such thing. The reasons for this are described in the article entitled, “Climate Change Skepticism and Denial: An Introduction” by Riley E. Dunlap. He goes on to explain the reasons behind why so many individuals and organizations believe that there is no such thing as global warming. The people are in denial about climate change not just because climate science is complicated and uncertain, but because climate change believers have had a known history of “manufacturing uncertainties” (Dunlap 692). That mean that for example businessmen want to have bigger profit but that would mean more factories that release emissions to the atmosphere and that speeds up the melting of polar ice caps, which the environmentalists do not like. The business people start releasing to the public that even if the ice caps melt it will not have any effect on the environment but what they say is not based on research, just from the crave of more money. Dunlap states in his article, “This appears an effective strategy given that confidence in climate science and trust in climate scientists are key factors influencing the public’s views of AGW (anthropogenic global warming)” (Dunlap 692). AGW is global warming that is caused by humans. Many scientists will make up statistics to “prove” their desired result. This side of the argument has been backed mainly by conservative media and by conservative think tanks (CTTs) that use other groups for their points.
For a while, no one really paid attention to the denial machine and its campaign because they were able to mask it as legitimate science and were often criticized. However, starting in 1997, journalist Ross Gelbspan, along with many other journalists and social scientists, including “historians (Weart, 2011) to ex-government officials (Piltz, 2008) to citizens committed to defending climate science (Kinitisch, 2011)” started analyzing and researching why people are skeptical, or even in denial, of climate change (Dunlap 69).
The view, in the article, “Why are the Ice Caps Melting?” that former U.K. science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Lord Christopher Monckton, has on this frequently talked about issue is similar to the skeptic point of view. He talks about that the sea level would not rise more than a millimeter if all of the ice in the Arctic sea melted (Monckton gtd by Terrel 23). He also says that “Just as melting ice cubes in a glass of water don’t make it overflow, melting sea ice does not affect sea level” (Monckton gtd by Terrel 23). This is the minority opinion of scientists. It cannot be true since in the past years, there is proof that melting ice caps have caused the sea level to rise, so the author does not focus, in this article, on this type of opinion as much. Based on the sources, there are many different views on the issue of melting ice caps. A source from Slovak national news in the article translated to English called “If Greenland Melts Too Much, We Should Get Ready for the Next Ice Age” gathered important information from acclaimed scientists and discussed how the melting of Greenland will affect the world. Mostly, the article supports the theory that ice caps will cause a change in the environment and climate, which suggests that it is kind of a cycle. Glaciologist from NASA described this by saying that “Our system is in some kind of chain reaction that is impossible to stop” (If Greenland Melts…). Reducing emissions of fossil fuels to slow down the climate change will probably not stop the melting of ice caps, but it can definitely slow it down. It sounds like a paradox, but global warming is causing the melting of polar ice caps and that can cause rising sea levels while causing the next ice age to come to Europe. The scientists from NASA predict this can happen within one generation. During the summer months, the ice in polar areas melts to around half of its winter size. According to NASA, under normal circumstances, most of the melted water in high altitudes quickly freezes back, while part of it will flow to the ocean. This year, the range of the melting of ice on the surface or around it very extensive. It is written in some articles that the weather changes every few decades from overheating to freezing, according to glaciologist Lory Koening in the article “If Greenland Melts Too Much, We Should Get Ready for the Next Ice Age”, she states that was a part of a team analyzing data, that we come across of melting of ice in such a big range, every 150 years. The last time a change like this occurred was in 1889. “If the melting of ice caps continues as it is, it will become problematic within the next few years,” said Lory Koening. She does not say the consequences of the ice melting but anyways she agrees that it will have a significant effect on our Earth. In an article, “What do the melting ice caps do to the ocean and planet?“ written by The Environmental Magazine, questions about the affect of ice caps on ocean and Earth are answered. Do the effects of ice caps melting, might contribute to weather patterns or cause other environmental problems? How can we connect this to the weather changes or environmental problems (The Environmental Magazine). The article has an opinion that the melting of polar ice caps will have an effect on water and land. As it is before mentioned, some scientists, including Mojib Latif, believe that the melting of polar ice caps will have an freezing effect on some parts of the world because the Gulf Stream that drives heat from southern America near Mexico up to the western part of Europe might be gone by the time the ice caps melt. That would mean a new ice age for most parts of Europe. Why would the Gulf Stream disappear? The Environmental Magazine explains as “The Gulf Stream keeps running because the warmer water traveling north is lighter than cold water, so it floats on top and keeps moving“ (What do the Melting...). Besically if the water cools up the energy that keeps it running would disappear and there would be no hot air coming to western Europe. But given how little we really know about carbon loading of the atmosphere, calling these two trends contradictory might be premature. Each region of an ocean interacts with the other and are part of a larger whole. Looking instead at the big picture, it's clear that climate change is already having a relatively large effect on the world's oceans by fundamentally altering evaporation and precipitation cycles. We will have to wait and see how dramatic these effects can be (What do the Melting…). Melting of polar ice caps has been a very commonly written about issue. So, what are the effects of melting ice caps on the environment? The assumptions of what is actually going to happen in the future vary between just ordinary people to people with a high education that are deeply involved in this topic. After researching both sides of this issue, climate change is definitely affecting the whole world, but in different ways. The most reasonable conclusion that was supported was that the melting of ice caps will flood the continents eventually. No one reasonable can dare to say the exact time period it is going to happen because we cannot predict the future even if there are many researchers that are trying to. As in the article “Are the Ice Caps Melting?” by Rebecca Terrell, Al Gore announced how many years exactly we should expect to see the world nearly free of ice and quoted Dr. Wieslav Maslowski saying the same thing in his research. Maslowski ended up denying what Gore said and said that, “I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this” (Maslowski gtd by Terrell 21). Gore eventually admitted that he was just using “ballpark figures” for this claim, which goes to show that even with the ice melting at the current rate it is, we can never truly estimate the future effect on 100% (Terrell 21). Through the years of studying this topic there have been many pictures of future predictions that were based mostly on how fast the ice caps were melting in the past and if that phase continues, how it will look in the future. I believe that is how our world will look like in the future. Continents will be smaller because the ice will melt from the polar areas and the sea level will rise. Scientists agree that as of now, there is not a solution to completely stop the melting of ice caps, but there is a way to slow it down. One way of slowing it down is by reducing the global warming caused by humans, otherwise known as AGW (anthropogenic global warming). The easiest way to do this is to reduce the pollution we put into our environment. When we burn fossil fuels, such as coal, we release “greenhouse gases,” which warm up the Earth’s atmosphere. We have been releasing more and more as years have gone by, due to the rising population, more automobiles, and an increasing number of factories around the world. Also, a greater number of trees have been getting cut down in forests, taking away a greater number of plants that use the CO2 to live.
I learned a lot about how the environment affects the climate change and how that affects the melting of polar ice caps, and how that again affects the environment. It can literally be viewed as one big cycle that Earth is in. There is no true way to stop melting ice caps and overall climate change because Earth is always developing and people do not look out for the environment as much as they should. However, we can all try, as humans, to reduce it as best as possible and that is what I believe in.

Dunlap, Riley E. “Climate Change Skepticism and Denial: An Introduction.” American Behavioral Scientists 22 Feb. 2013, 57.6: 691-698. Sage journals. Web. 11/22/2015. This article talks about the widely known problem in the world known as climate change and why some people are skeptical of it, or flat out deny it. Riley Dunlap, the author, says that people deny climate change because it is really hard to understand everything about it and the uncertainties of it, but also because scientists have been known to fudge results of their tests to further support their viewpoint. This campaign, led by mainly conservative think tanks and other scientists, didn’t gain much recognition until the late 1990s when investigative journalists and other analysts started wondering why so many people deny climate change, even with all the facts out there. Many people were actually aware of this issue, or at least not as involved, until Al Gore’s speech and the 2009 “climategate” scandal. I chose this article, “Climate Change Skepticism and Denial: An Introduction” because it is important to include both sides of the climate change argument. While most of my paper is about why the ice caps are melting and how it will affect the environment, in order to fully understand the issue, we need to see what the other side argues, see their view, and be able to prove them wrong. Knowing both side also adds credibility to my argument and shows that both sides are understood.

"If Greenland Melts Too Much, We Should Get Ready for the Next Ice Age” Hlavne Spravy- Konzrvativny Dennik, 2015. Web. 11/26/2015 In the article "If Greenland Melts Too Much, We Should Get Ready for the Next Ice Age” the author talks about how the melting parts of Greenland affect the world. It says that the Greenland has melted during this summer more than it has melted all together over the past 30 years according to satellite images. They say that the melting of ice during the summer time is normal but most of it at the end of the summer freezes back. This is not the case this year so the scientists are starting to be worries about what will happen to the environment if the melting will continue in such a big range. The next half of the article talks about the Gulf Stream and how it flows. Thanks to it the whole weather is not freezing cold in western Europe and big boats from the US can get to Europe easier. If a lot of ice would melt and the Gulf Stream would be pushed down with the income of newly melted water so it could not affect the lands and Europe would feel the true winters that would last from 6 to 9 months of the year. I chose this article because it was a newly released article written in a well-known newspaper in Slovakia. It also helped me to understand how the Gulf Stream flows so I could explain it in this essay more precisely.

Pearce, Fred. “Melting of Polar Ice Caps Lead to More Volcanic Eruptions.” New Scientist 225.3008 (2/14/2015): 1. Web. 11/17/2015 Pearce talks about possibilities connected with more frequent volcanic eruptions from various scientists. Either the volcanic eruptions are going to be more frequent with the rising temperature or they will be more frequent during the cooling period. These are the two sides different scientists believe in as they compare the frequency of volcanic eruptions during the ice age and after. I chose this article so I could support different views on how the melting of polar ice caps affect the environment- in this case volcanic eruptions. Many people don’t think about all the different effects the melting polar ice caps can have on the environment. Most just concentrate on the flooding, temperatures, etc. By including an article explaining a different effect than most people think of, it helps strengthen my side of the argument.

“Q&A: What do the Melting Ice Caps do to the Ocean and Planet?” The Environmental Magazine 11 March 2010: 1-2. Print The article answers the question “If the ice caps are melting, what is happening to the salt content of the oceans? And might this contribute to weather patterns or cause other environmental problems?” It agrees that global warming is causing the melting of polar ice caps and that can lead to a drastic change in the weather if they melt fast. The article describes what the Gulf Stream is and how it flows. It also explains what the effects would be if the cold melted water filled the oceans. The article says that some scientists say that due the warmer temperatures in the ocean getting saltier, that increases evaporation and reduces rainfall in southern parts of the world, which is not a good thing. Overall it ends by saying that we cannot predict the future and there are no scientific details about the effects of melting polar ice caps in the future. If we look at the big picture it already has a big effect on the oceans and generally the environment. I chose this article because I was looking for something that will talk about the effects of melting ice caps on the Gulf Stream and support the theory. I read an article about it few months ago, but I did not find many articles supporting this theory and this was the best one. Even this Q&A article did not convinced me that is what is actually happening so it changed my mind about it being completely true.

Terrell, Rebecca. “Are the Ice Caps Melting?” New American 02/15/2010, 26.4: 21-23. Web. 11/14/2015 The author writes about different perspectives of different scientists that Rebecca Terrell sums up in 3 pages, on the issue of ice caps melting. Mostly she quotes scientists that are well known and work with big organizations, so there is a bigger value to what they say. Opinions in the article range from that melting of the polar ice caps will flood the world, to that they will not have any effect on the Earth. I chose this article because there are more different perspectives to the issue and there are good quotes related to my question. Overall the only thing that was not good, was that it is hard to summarize it or conclude it with one perspective because the author doesn’t do that either. It is left open with only giving information of different views and assumptions of this issue.

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