Page tree

Versions Compared

Key

  • This line was added.
  • This line was removed.
  • Formatting was changed.

...

Global Significance of Glaciers
According to Bennet & Glasser (2009) Global Warming is causing glaciers to melt at a faster rate than glacial ice formation can take place.  Glaciers are composed of freshwater as they are created from accumulating snow.  If the glaciers were to melt the sudden influx of freshwater into the ocean would disrupt thermohaline circulation.  Thermohaline circulation is known as the great ocean conveyor belt, these currents are responsible for distributing nutrients and oxygen as well as moving warm and cold water which affects weather and land temperatures all around the world.  "Thermo" means heat and "haline" means salt, so these currents move due to differences in temperature and differences in salt concentrations.  Glacial meltwater would disturb thermohaline circulation for two reasons, firstly because the glacial meltwater is so cold, and secondly because it is freshwater not saltwater.  A sudden influx of glacial meltwater could effectively halt thermohaline circulation which would disrupt weather patterns all around the world, result in more severe storm events, have negative impacts on ocean ecosystems due to disruption of nutrient and oxygen circulation and could bring about a new Ice Age.  Also, if glaciers melt due to Global Warming there will be a rise in Sea Level which will cause a mass displacement of billions of people from island nations and coastal cities.  This would lead to a migrant and refugee crisis of unprecedented magnitude throughout the world.

Thermohaline Circulation-The Great Ocean Conveyor Belt

...