Polar Ice Caps Facts

Polar Ice Caps Facts
A polar ice cap is body of ice in a high latitude region of a plant. On earth the polar ice caps are made up mostly of water ice, but on other planets they can include other compounds as well. The polar ice caps on earth are located at the North Pole and the South Pole. Although the ice caps have undergone drastic changes in the last 12,000 years, they are becoming more dramatic today because of decreasing ice due to climate change. The polar ice caps contain the majority of the freshwater supply on earth. As the ice caps melt, the environmental changes affect people, animals, plants, and migratory behavior. These changes can be devastating to life on earth even for those living thousands of miles away.
Interesting Polar Ice Caps Facts:
Ice caps are formed when snow that falls builds up and does not melt in the warmer weather. As time passes the layers of snow become layers if ice as they become compressed.
The temperature of the earth has increased by one half of a degree Celsius in the last 100 years, which might seem small but it can have drastic effects on the earth as a whole. This temperature change can melt ice caps and cause water levels to rise globally.
Portions of ice caps melt and refreeze as the seasons change.
If Greenland's ice cap were to melt the sea levels would rise by 20 feet. This is because the Greenland ice cap is about 650,000 square miles in size and contains a lot of frozen water.
It is estimated that in only the last 100 years sea levels have risen by as much as 8 inches. This can only be due to melting ice.
If the ice caps begin to melt enough to raise the sea levels by more than six feet most major cities will be flooded. Most major cities have been built along low-lying coastal regions or along other waterways to allow for shipping ports in their early development.
NASA has estimated that the polar ice caps are melting 9% every ten years, which is an extremely alarming rate.
If the temperature on earth continues to rise at its current rate the Arctic will have no ice by 2040.
The Arctic ice cap has decreased since the 1960s by as much as 40%.
Approximately 90% of the world's ice is located at the South Pole at Antarctica. This ice is about 7,000 feet thick.
The ice cap at Antarctica covers about the same amount of space as Mexico and the United States combined. It is roughly 5.4 million square miles in size.
If the ice at Antarctica melted the sea levels would rise by 200 feet.
Scientists use the ice caps to learn about the earth's history. Dust and gas and other compounds became trapped in the ice over millions of years and this can be harvested and studied to learn about changes in the climate of earth in the past. This ice is extracted using ice core drilling to pull ice samples from deep inside the ice cap.

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