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Glacial Melt

  • By: Elizabeth Rholetter Purdy
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Glaciers are formed as fallen snow compresses layers of ice over a period of time. Despite the fact that some scientists believe the Earth is still experiencing the so-called Little Ice Age, many people argue that as a result of global warming, glaciers all over the world are beginning to melt, leading to changing climate patterns; expanding sea waters and floods; heat waves; mudslides; earthquakes and tsunamis; a rise in precipitation levels; reductions in agricultural output; vanishing coral reefs; the release of trapped contaminants; and significant physical, economical, and environmental impacts on human society and biodiversity. According to current predictions, by 2050, one-third of the world's glaciers may be melted away. By 2090, that number could rise to one-half.

Some glacial melting is normal, and the ...

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