Marissa M. Connecticut

Melting Glaciers

With the rise in temperature over the world, arctic animals are suffering due to melting ice and higher sea levels so one issue worth considering is reducing greenhouse gases.  

Dear Next President,

As you well know, climate change has dramatic effects on our planet, and specifically in the arctic, which is warming twice as fast. But, what would actually happen if all the ice melted on earth? With the rise in temperature over the world, arctic animals are suffering due to melting ice and higher sea levels so one issue worth considering is reducing greenhouse gases.

On land, frozen water forms glacier, ice sheets and snow, but the arctic is mostly ocean so there it takes the form of floating sea ice such as icebergs. Because icebergs are in direct contact with the sun, they will be the first to melt as global temperatures begin to rise. In fact, this year NASA reported that the “extent of arctic sea ice was the lowest ever recorded for January, February, April, May and June 2016”. So the earth is getting warming and the ice is melting which is detrimental for marine and arctic species. For example, polar bears, seals or walruses won't have their own habitat; it is literally melting right from under them. Also, ocean dwelling animals such as bowhead whales and narwhals aren't immune to these changes either. As sea ice melts, oil companies are taking it as an opportunity to search north for more resources using a process called Seismic Blasting which shoots air explosions into the water in an effort to map the ocean floor to find oil. Of course, this has extreme effects on the whole ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean, while also causing physical and mental trauma and habitat relocation for whales and fish.

Nearly 95% of earth’s land based ice is contained in mostly enormous ice sheets that cover Greenland and Antarctica, where there are entire mountain ranges covered in just ice. If all this ice melts the ocean will have way more water in it so the sea levels with rise about 230 feet and half the world’s citizens homes will be flooded and forced to move. Where would they go? Who’s going to pay for it? Most of the world’s cities on the coasts will be completely flooded including New York, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, and Shanghai. Even a small sea level rise of only 2 feet could cause up to a trillion dollars’ worth of flood damage. A rise of 32 feet would force up to 630 million people to move from their coastal homes and at 82 feet would force up to 1.4 billion people to move. So, to visualize the full 230 feet, the rising seas will drown out most of the U.S. eastern coasts, much of the west coast, the entire state of Florida, huge areas of Asia such as Northern China.

Our earth has a feedback mechanism which means one thing leads to another. For example, at the North and South poles of the earth, we have a lot of white ice. The ice reflects sunlight into space so as the world gets warmer, the ice melts and as the ice melts, it’s reflecting less sunlight into space which lets the world get even warmer. The sunlight is absorbed by the dark oceans, so as the ice melts, the world get warmer, and the sea gets fresher and less salty.

Currently, the earth’s oceans are crisscrossed by a set of currents that act like a giant conveyor belt. These currents are powered by the differences in the saltiness between one part of the ocean and another. So if a melting ice sheet releases a whole bunch of non-salty, fresh water into the ocean, it is possible that it could disrupt the currents. The currents are the things that take nutrients and other small animals that feed bigger fish that feed us. Half of the oxygen that you breathe is made from the plants in the ocean, so you don't want to mess with this. Earth’s temperatures will begin to change which means that crops will have to be grown elsewhere. Who’s going to pay for that? Who’s going to grow them? Who will ship them around? There’s a lot to think about and it’s serious business when you go melting the ice. Some may claim that global warming isn’t real or that it isn’t caused by humans, but the fact that the earth is warming is due to our overuse of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. As president, I would like for you to encourage people to buy foods that are locally grown to eliminate the use of planes and trucks that deliver our food to grocery stores. Also encourage people to recycle as much as possible, turn off their light when not in use, use energy efficient products, use less hot water and start planted trees and other plants.

I understand that you are a very busy person but this is our earth that we share will so many beautiful animals. We only have one earth so please help me protect it. Thank you!

Sincerely,

Marissa M.