6. What are glaciers, icefield and Arctic ice and why are they related to climate change?
The glacier is a mass of ice that is formed on the top of a mountain, which is slowly descending the slope in the form of a ramp. The glaciers are losing large percentages of their mass and some have already disappeared due to climate change. The Greenland icefield is decreasing its surface due to the increase in temperature. Computer models indicate that this process will continue in the future, unless global warming is stopped. The loss of glacial mass in turn contributes to higher local temperatures and the planet. The mountain ranges of the Himalayas, the Alps, the south of the Andes and Mount Kilimanjaro, in Africa, have clear signs of melting their ice. The glaciers of the Alps have lost about two thirds of their surface in the last 150 years, calculated by comparing old and current photographs.
Arctic ice is the conjunction of the icefield, or layer of floating sea ice that forms in the polar ocean regions. Its thickness is usually one meter, when it is renewed each year, and 4 or 5 meters when it is maintained in time, as in the region near the north pole. The iceberg or floe is a mass of floating ice, detached from a glacier or a sea ice, which protrudes partly from the surface of the sea. These icy and snowy masses play an important role in the mechanism of absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the oceans, which contributes to curb global warming. In case of its liquefaction, it will obviously contribute to the increase in the temperature of the planet. On the other hand, its melting increases the level of the seas and oceans, with serious consequences for the communities that inhabit the low profile islands and coasts of the Earth.