Seems like everywhere you turn these days, someone is offering you their opinion about global warming. Listening to some, you might think it will take place overnight and the entire human race is on the brink of extinction. Those on the other side of the argument disagree with the whole concept of it, alleging it to be just a witch-hunt started by the liberal media. All this disagreement still leaves the question of is whether there or isn’t such a thing as global warming and how it will affect you unanswered.
Unfortunately, little is known about global warming and we are left with only theories and educated guesses. What’s even more dangerous than the effects of global warming is that it seems the public receives most of their information on the subject through political figures and newsroom pundits whom often care more about ratings than reason.
Some of the scientists interviewed by National Geographic Magazine agree that there is global warming. They just disagree with the speed of it.
In their studies, they have documented that mountain glaciers are melting faster than ever. Effects of the thaw can be seen from the summits of South America to the highest peaks in Africa. Ice fields are disappearing so quickly that giant lakes are forming where meadows recently stood. This melting is accelerating so quickly that the damage is irreversible. This argument seems like proof enough of global warming.
The climate changes taking place in most of the studied mountain areas were unusual, almost unprecedented. Kilimanjaro glaciers, for example, are melting so quickly that the mountain lost nearly a quarter of its ice from 2000 to 2006. Meanwhile, some glaciers in the Andes Mountains are melting ten times faster than they did just 20 years ago. The massive melts are among the most provocative evidence yet that the world is getting too warm too fast to be the result of natural forces alone.
The most imminent threat posed by the thaws, however, is the sudden formation of giant mountain lakes. In Peru, for example, a large lake has formed there that didn't exist until 1991. The lake now covers 84 acres. The threats posed by these rapidly forming lakes have become issues of concern for many people. The problem is essentially there are populations of people living in lowland areas and gigantic dams holding billions of gallons of water above them. It’s almost a recipe for disaster.
The potential destruction occurs when runoff from rapidly decaying glaciers collects into these newborn lakes, which can overflow to create torrential floods. In March of 2006, an avalanche of ice crashed down causing a lake at its base to spill over and flood the valley down below. As these high-altitude glaciers retreat, these lakes are forming, and they pose a risk for this kind of flooding.
California should also prepare for the escalating effects of mountain melt. The flooding of Yosemite National Park in 1997 and 2005 were warning signs of things to come. Warm seasonal rains are beginning to regularly melt more and more of California's heavy mountain snows. The water is left with nowhere else to go but down. Disasters of this nature are likely to occur more frequently in the future if global warming continues.
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