Ice serves as a shield over our planet and seas, it makes the earth to be cooler. The large amount of heat that is generated by the sun is making the ice melt and return to space this is what makes the Arctic remain colder than the equator.
Glaciers across the globe range from ice that has been in existence for hundreds to thousands of years.
Presently, almost 10 percent of the land area is covered with glacial ice. Antarctica has approximately 90%, while Greenland has 10%.
There is no doubt that glaciers are an extremely important component of the global ecosystem because they influence and support the earth’s life system.
But we can not also ignore that the rate at which the glacier is melting is becoming very harmful to humans, which is alarming.
The effects of melting glaciers on humans are what we are looking at in this article. Before we look at the effect, let’s briefly define glaciers.
A glacier is a significant accumulation of snow, rock, crystalline sediment, and sometimes liquid water over time that is formed in regions with the lowest temperatures. Regions include mountain peaks and sea levels.
Melting glaciers occur as a result of relatively high temperatures, which generate a lot of heat and convert the ice from solid to liquid or water.
Glaciers are a global source of freshwater and serve as a reservoir of water that is carried on throughout the dry season.
Effects of Melting Glaciers on Humans
Below are the effects of melting glaciers on humans
- Loss of freshwater
- Poor electricity
- Lessen agricultural production
- Polluting the environment
- The Inability of Coral Reefs to Survival
- Biodiversity loss and animals losing Habitation
- The rise in sea level and flood
- Effect on the economy
- Increasing global warming
1. Loss of fresh water
One of the effects of glaciers on humans is a shortage of freshwater, seen that glacier functions as water reservoirs that can be used during summer.
The consistent melting glaciers supply water to the biosphere during the dry season, become a source of water for ecosystems, and form a permanent stream for dwellings. the downstream water temperature is also affected by the excess flow of water.
The major element of the food cycle of many aquatic organisms is that they are reactive to stream temperature and may lose their lives without glacial meltwater cooling effects.
There are also some aquatic species in an environment that is mountainous and needs the temperature of their water to be cold for their survival. So, changes in aquatic habitat will probably affect this species negatively.
If measures are not taken properly due to the rapid increase in population decreases melting glaciers, will lead to a loss of fresh water.
It is claimed that the water available for human consumption is fresh and contains 2% chlorine. Meanwhile, glaciers and snow contain meanwhile, glaciers are the major source of freshwater in some regions; therefore, if freshwater becomes scarce, the people in this region will be in a dangerous state.
2. Poor electricity
This is one of the effects of melting glaciers on humans. As we have said previously in the first point many areas globally hinged on continuous flows of water from the melting of glaciers which generate electricity.
There will be a shortage of electricity if the flow of water from the melting glacier reduces or stops.
It is very difficult in the present day for people to cope without electricity as they will look for other means of getting or producing electricity, which might result in causing damage to humans by polluting the environment and a rise in global warming.
3. Lessen agricultural production
One of the effects of melting glaciers on humans is that lessen agricultural production, initially melting glaciers will make the volume of rivers rise after which a tragic decrease in the flow of water in rivers will commence, which will have an effect on agricultural plants and lessen agricultural production.
In this case, not all agricultural plants will be affected; plants that rely on rain, which are few in the area and will not be affected by melting glaciers, will be unaffected.
There will be a shortage in the supply of fresh water from glaciers during the summer, which makes the land dry and is not good for farming. It has a significant impact on agricultural production.
Also, in the future melting glaciers will decrease the amount of water available for agriculture in some regions across the globe, which might lead to a shortage of food production that will be insufficient for the human population.
4. Polluting the environment
the above is one of the effects of melting glaciers on humans. Chemicals such as Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) which were prohibited for a long time now globally.
It was discovered that pesticides like DDT and chemicals were turned airborne and were stuck in cold areas that consist of the glacier.
These toxic chemicals remain trapped on the surface. These chemicals are emitted into water bodies and the environment due to the swift melting of glaciers.
It makes the environment harmful to humans, and the chemicals affect human health.
5. The Inability of Coral Reefs to Survival
animals that dwells in tropical water stays in one place, and cohabit in groups are called corals, though they look like plants but do not plant. Some sort of formed a firm skeleton on rocks to hold themselves up.
These animals, called coral polyps cling to a rock by erecting a hard skeleton that holds it in place, as trees are held by roots firmly in the ground.
Once the coral polyp is stuck together, it forms new polyps that gather together to make colonies. These living colonies link with other coral colonies and create big groups called coral reefs.
Coral reefs provide a conducive environment for sea animals such as fish, safeguard coastal areas by preventing wave power from striking the coast, and are a source of income for many people.
For coral reef to survive it needs sunlight to carry out photosynthesis, now when water levels go high as a result of melting glacier, sunlight will be insufficient and won’t be able to get to the corals.
This will make them incapacitated, and might eventually end up destroying them. There are fish species that rely on these corals for food.
Once these coral reefs die, it will affect these fish species as they might also die and will also affect people that make fish their food. It will also have a serious effect on those that depend on coral reefs as their source of income.
With what we have discussed here this happens to be one of the adverse effects of melting glaciers on humans.
6. Biodiversity loss and animals losing Habitation
This is one of the negative effects of melting glaciers on humans. Some animals rely heavily on the glacier for survival, while others, such as the blue bear, need chilled weather for their daily activities.
Some birds consume fish from melting glaciers. The rise in water temperature and the level of water will affect aquatic plants, which will also lead to biodiversity loss
which will lead to a decrease in fish species, and also the chances of survival of these animals and birds will be very low. In return, it affects humans that make income from them or relies on these animals for food.
7. The rise in sea level and flood
One of the major adverse effects of melting glaciers on humans is the rise in sea levels and floods, especially in coastal areas.
Since the 60s it is said that the sea has increased by 2.7cm and it was discovered that the world’s glaciers are sufficient to make the ocean rise by half another meter.
This is a serious threat that many cities around coastal areas are facing. As the sea levels are rising, erosion in coastal areas is also increasing.
Some places have ice glaciers of outrageous height, and they are all rapidly defrosting. The melting is giving rise to an instantaneous increase of water input to other water bodies like lakes, seas, and rivers.
The excess water will end up creating a new lake that will keep increasing in size.
These happenings are very frightening because the water bodies could be too excessive. which may lead to overflow that will cause flood which is a very serious disaster as it destroys lives and property.
Thousands of people that are affected become homeless.
9. Effect on Economy
One of the effects of melting glaciers on humans is on our economy. The impact of melting glaciers affects the entire planet, not just a specific region.
Every country in the world is going through the negative effect of the rapidly melting glaciers like Flood as mentioned in the previous point and other disasters related to glaciers, which needs financial intervention to reduce.
The dangerous thing is that due to the rate at which global warming is rising rapidly, it has become impossible to stop the swift melting of glaciers but it can be reduced if full measures are taken.
10. Increasing global warming
Glaciers play a vital role in absorbing and emitting heat on the planet. This implies that glaciers continuously melting of the glacier, will increase the temperate across the globe at the same rate.
In some areas, glaciers’ ice is small are no more, making the earth susceptible.
The planet is not able to avert as much heat as glaciers can hence heat will increase continuously. The more glaciers keep melting, the water levels will also continue to increase.
We have successfully listed and discussed 10 effects of melting glaciers on humans. When you read through, you will notice that melting glaciers harm humans, which we extensively discussed in this article.
More measures have to be taken to reduce the adverse effects of melting glaciers on humans.
FAQ – Effects of Melting Glaciers on Humans
What is the Dangerous Effects of Melting Glaciers on Humans
Sea level rise and flood are the most serious effects. Coastal regions experience increasing storm surges and floods. Also, the loss of freshwater from glaciers means a shortage in the water supply, less drinking water, it becomes difficult to water crops, or to use in generating electricity
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Precious Okafor is a digital marketer and online entrepreneur that got into the online space in 2017 and since then have developed skills in content creation, copywriting and online marketing. He is also a Green activist and hence his role in publishing articles for EnvironmentGo