The earth is the home for human beings, and it is a planet with a very suitable temperature. The poles of any planet are often extremely cold places, and so are the poles of the earth. The South Pole and North Pole are the two coldest regions on the planet, but the South Pole and the North Pole are different. The South Pole is a piece of land covered by ice, while the North Pole is over the ocean.
Relatively speaking, the Arctic is warmer than the Antarctic, and the transformation between winter and summer in the Arctic is also very obvious. When the Arctic summer arrives, the warm temperature will re-melt a part of the frozen ocean, and after winter, the sub-zero temperature will freeze this part of the summer melted water.
Therefore, if we travel to the Arctic in summer, we will see a lot of water, and this cyclical transformation of the Arctic has been going on for tens of millions of years, and a very stable circulation system has been formed. However, when mankind entered the industrial age, the rapid development of science and technology continuously emitted carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which led to the continuous rise of global temperature.
The rising temperature also affects the periodic changes in the Arctic. In recent decades, the overall Arctic sea ice coverage has been declining, and the amount of new sea ice added every winter is also decreasing, while the amount of sea ice that melts every summer is increasing. With one ebb and flow, the ice and snow in the Arctic are transforming into sea water step by step.
According to the results of a study, if human emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere continues, then in the best case, there will be no ice cover in the Arctic summer in the next 30 years, and all will melt into seawater. Even in winter, only a small amount of seawater will freeze into ice. If the situation gets worse, the Arctic may no longer be covered by ice in the next 10 years.
Some people may worry that after all the Arctic ice and snow melt, sea levels will rise sharply. In fact, this worry is unnecessary. As we said earlier, the glaciers of the Arctic and Antarctica are different. The Arctic is a super glacier built on the sea, and the seawater is under the ice. Therefore, the Arctic will have obvious periodic transformations of ice and seawater in winter and summer.
Friends who have studied physics should know that the surface of the sea ice is the same as the volume of sea water that they melt into. Therefore, even if all the Arctic glaciers melt, the sea level will basically not rise. It will not have much impact on the land where humans live. This is completely different from Antarctica. Because Antarctica is built on land, the ice below Antarctica is not the ocean.
Therefore, the continuous melting of Antarctic glaciers will cause the sea level to rise sharply. Although all the Arctic glaciers will melt, the sea level will not rise, but the impact on the earth’s ecology will still be very large, and it may be a disaster for all mankind. What is going on?
To unravel this mystery, we must first understand how the earth’s warm environment comes from? We all know that the temperature and sunlight of the earth come from the star sun, and the photon radiation of the sun has no temperature performance before it enters the earth’s atmosphere. The reason is that the universe is a vacuum state, the density of particles is very small, and the essence of temperature changes is the thermal motion of molecules.
If there is a molecular prince in a space, no matter how strong energy is, the temperature cannot be reflected. Therefore, the background radiation temperature of the universe is very low. Only after the sun’s radiation enters the earth’s atmosphere will it bring about a significant increase in temperature. Therefore, the atmosphere is the earth’s first heating and insulation cover, which is what we usually call the greenhouse effect.
The earth continuously receives heat from the sun, and at the same time some energy will be reflected by the earth into space. Only in this way can the earth’s temperature be able to maintain a relatively suitable degree. It can be seen that the earth’s albedo to temperature is very important to the ecology of the entire earth. If this albedo is reduced, the amount of heat that can be scattered on the earth will be reduced, and the earth’s greenhouse effect will also intensify.
And 71% of the earth’s surface is ocean, so the ocean’s influence on reflectivity is very large. We all understand that the reflection of sunlight by ice is much stronger than that of water. The existence of a large amount of sea ice in the Arctic can reflect more sunlight. But if all the sea ice in the Arctic melts into water, it means that the earth’s albedo will decrease, the amount of solar heat that can be reflected will decrease, and the amount of heat absorbed will increase.
The increase in the absorbed heat and the decrease in the reflected heat will invisibly intensify the earth’s greenhouse effect and accelerate the rate of global warming. After the global warming trend accelerates, it will act on the glaciers of Antarctica. At this time, the glaciers of the Antarctic continent will melt rapidly, and a large amount of water will melt the ocean, causing the sea level to rise sharply.
As we said earlier, the complete melting of Arctic glaciers will not cause a significant sea level rise, because the Arctic itself floats on the ocean. However, Antarctica is built on land. Once all the glaciers here melt, the sea level may rise by about 60 meters. At that time, at least one-third of the land on the earth will be submerged.
The land area that humans can live on was originally only 21%, and one-third of it was still desert. If another third of the land is lost, the land area that humans can live on will be even less, which may be an ecological crisis for all mankind. The drastic reduction of land is not only a problem of lack of living and housing, but also a series of other problems, such as a drastic reduction of food, and frequent outbreaks of bacteria and viruses.
You must know that after the land area is greatly reduced, humans will gather more densely. At this time, it is most likely to cause some viral crises. Moreover, after the melting of glaciers in the Arctic and Antarctic, the permafrost will also continue to recover, where countless various ancient bacteria and viruses can be frozen, and their threat to the earth’s ecosystem and human survival may be far greater than the rise of sea level.
It can be seen that the continuous disappearance of the Arctic ice is very important to the ecology of the earth and the survival of mankind. And if we want to slow down the disappearance of the Arctic ice, the effective way is to reduce and control carbon dioxide emissions. Only when greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced will the earth’s greenhouse effect slow down, and mankind will have more time to resolve the crisis.
Someone might say, then why not completely stop the emission of carbon dioxide? In fact, as long as a smarter friend, I believe everyone knows that this is impossible. The rapid development of human science and technology is inseparable from the rapid development of industry, and the rapid development of industry naturally requires the emission of greenhouse gases.
Therefore, to completely stop the emission of carbon dioxide means that we have to abandon technology and industrial development. Think about it this is impossible. Without the rapid development of science and technology, although the problem of global warming has been temporarily solved, in the long run, the crisis of mankind will be more severe. You should know that it is not only the disasters on the earth that can threaten the survival of the earth and human beings, but there may also be disasters from space, such as an asteroid impact.
If there is no strong scientific and technological strength, once an asteroid hits the earth again in the future, the fate of mankind will be the same as that of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, completely disappearing in this world. Only with strong scientific and technological strength can we cope with disasters from space, and after strong technological strength, even if the earth becomes a water world, without land, we can build maritime cities and live in them.
Therefore, human beings are actually racing against time. As long as the speed of our technological development surpasses the speed of ecological deterioration, then we have the hope of solving all existential crises that may occur in the future.