What Happens If The Polar Ice Caps Melt?

It's an inevitable, and perhaps now unavoidable fact the polar ice caps are melting at speeds much faster than what scientists say is appropriate. According to NASA, sea levels have been rising rapidly as the result of melted polar ice caps, the majority of which are situated in Antarctica and Greenland. Combined, these two regions house more than 75 percent of the world's fresh water, encapsulated in ice, which have the power to increase oceanic levels by at least 75 meters (over 246 feet). That's a big deal. Why? Because not only does rising sea levels act as an aggressor in global warming, it also creates more precipitation. Between 1979 and 2006 alone, the Greenland ice sheet saw an uptick in its melting rate, increasing by a stunning 30 percent. As the polar ice caps continue to melt, the violent cycle of extreme weather brought on by climate change and global warming will increase as well. Further, this means that costal states, countries and provinces are vulnerable to long-term flooding, hurricanes, tsunamis and even being completely submerged in the future.

What we do know however is that if Antarctica and Greenland's ice sheets do in fact melt in totality, there is a strong chance the earth beneath the caps will yield evidence of prehistoric eras. Ironically, it may have been a similar phenomena of hostile weather conditions that caused the mass extinction of thousands of earlier species. So how did this happen? What can be done? Learn more about the surprising affects of melting polar ice caps.

Written by Curiosity Staff September 18, 2014

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