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Antarctica finds itself in hot water

by Breonnah Colón - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Apr 10th 2018 09:00 pm

“Ice Age: The Meltdown” is one of Disney’s many forms of social commentary through which children, and even adults, can learn about different issues facing humanity as a whole. While it may be fun to laugh at the silly, airheaded personality of Sid the sloth or the crazy squirrel’s unfounded addiction to the same acorn, the message of the movie is not just one meant to educate its audience about a past historical meltdown, but the current one taking place today. 

Beyond its playful demeanor and general teachings of friendship and loving your family, “Ice Age the Meltdown” forces both the characters in the movie and its viewers to acknowledge one very important truth: the ice is melting. In the movie, it was the ice surrounding most of the world, but today, it’s Antarctica. And while we may joke about how we would all like a few more sunny days, the truth of the matter is climate change is having a very real and negative affect on a global level. 

Not to seem overly dramatic, but practically all forms of life on earth will be affected by the melting continent. Melting glaciers will result in higher sea levels, which means all coastal cities and other communities will either be fully annihilated by rising sea levels, or need extensive rehabilitation, which our governments aren’t too focused on allocating funds for. 

However, beyond our own narcissistic issues, wildlife species will also be directly impacted by this immense global change — something that is actually not normal, despite what our current President would like to claim.

According to the media company, Al Jazeera, Kyrgyzstan is a country currently facing the negative issues of glaciers melting. While the country’s economic and energy resources could be threatened, the area is also home to some of the world’s rarest species of both plants and animals, among which is the snow leopard. To date, snow leopards are an endangered species, whose existence relies heavily on glaciers. 

In the 20th century alone, glaciers in the area have shrunk by more than 30 percent, with the rate steadily increasing. The glaciers surrounding Kyrgyzstan are certainly nowhere as large as the mass that is Antarctica; however, their impact on just one country can serve as a model for how the entire world could potentially be impacted if the continent of ice were to completely melt.

Newsweek explains that different ice shelves of Antarctica have, for the most part, been melting at an increasing rate. Between an eight-year period from 2008-2015, it was found that glaciers melting into Marguerite Bay increased up to a loss of 2,600 feet per year, the fastest rate to date. Needless to say, tracking these changes is extremely important because not only could consequences be dire, but they could take place much quicker than we would be ready to deal with. 

Thanks to the love of science and actual acknowledgement of the environmental crises we’re facing, scientists have discovered a new, much more accurate way to track melting patterns.

BBC news explained that scientists are using a state-of-the-art machine known as the Cryosat radar, originally from Europe. This new radar can help scientists see exactly where glaciers are experiencing warmer waters under their bodies, in order to better predict, as well as measure, trends in the way ice shelf is melting and will continue to melt in the future. This can help us have a better sense of how to prepare for the catastrophes that are inevitably going to take place.

As citizens of a first world country, we tend to live in a state of frivolity, where most of the world’s problems tend to be too distant for us to comprehend, let alone care about. However, climate change is something that we cannot escape from, something no border can protect us from. 

Therefore, it will be in our greatest interest to pay more attention to the going-ons of our environmental changes, so we may be able to act on them and be prepared to lay in our wet beds because after all, the ice is melting. 

lifestyles.editor@gmail.com

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