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Are we ready to deal with the melt

The climate change effects are heaving upon us increasingly. This can be gauged in the Antarctic and the Arctic where there has been  unprecedented rates of glacier melts. A recent article of the Nature magazine said, “A massive crack in Antarctica s fourth-biggest ice shelf has surged forward by at least 10 kilometres since early January.” The speed of the collapse of the entire shelf is sped up when the large chunks of ice break away from an ice shelf.

For the last 10,000 years, after several ice ages and periods of warmer temperature, also known as inter-glacials, the earth has enjoyed a more or less stable temperature.

The Antarctic ice sheet is 14 million sq km in area, the melting of which would translate into a rise in sea levels by about 60 metres. Over the last few years, an increasing amount of ice melting has been noticed by glaciologists  all over the world. This is mainly being attributed to  increasing surface melt, in addition to breaking off or calving of chunks of ice.  There are various mechanisms which speed up glacier melt like presence of bacteria and algal pigments in the meltwater, soot and dust carried by air  etc cover the ice and reduce the reflection of the sunlight. This increases the absorption of heat energy by the ice, which results in increased ice melting, which then absorbs more solar radiation and the whole melting process is accelerated. Glacier melting is affected by various factors - temperature of the water, ocean currents and other reasons that we don t completely understand. The world and our country must put in increased efforts to prepare for the repercussions of these climate changes.

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