These Cities Are Doomed When the Polar Ice Caps Melt

Thursday, 16 November 2017 - 11:04AM
Science News
Thursday, 16 November 2017 - 11:04AM
These Cities Are Doomed When the Polar Ice Caps Melt
< >
Image credit: Pixabay
Mankind is working on borrowed time.

Whether or not you believe in man-made climate change (although there's really no reason to question it by this point), one thing is certain: polar ice is definitely melting, global weather patterns are certainly picking up new quirks, and plenty of human cities are already suffering as a result.

A new NASA climate change simulation allows users to see how well their home city will fare once different bodies of frozen water across the planet melt.

You can spin around a digital globe, find your home, flood the planet, then find out what catastrophes await you as your home sinks underwater and you're forced to evacuate or face the unfortunate prospect of trying to develop gills at record speed.

Some people will argue that polar ice becoming water won't actually change sea levels around the rest of the world—the most common argument is that if you let ice melt in a glass of water, it doesn't increase the amount of water in the glass.

Needless to say, NASA is facing an uphill battle in convincing some amateur climate change experts that actually, the planet Earth is a little more complicated than a glass of water.

Sea levels rise and fall at different rates around the planet, and our delicate existence is predicated on certain bodies of water being in certain places —and certain states of matter—in order to avoid widespread destruction.

Even if NASA's new simulation doesn't show your city as being in particular danger of flooding (i.e. if you live in Utah and have already long since gotten used to living at a high altitude), it doesn't mean you'll get away unscathed when the world gets a lot wetter.

As warm water currents within our oceans are polluted by melting ice water, weather patterns around the world are going to get a lot more difficult to predict. This is to say nothing of the worldwide food shortages that'll be caused once we can't rely on farmland to produce anything other than seaweed.

We've seen some effects of this in recent months alone, as large storms have breezed across major cities worldwide, leaving destruction in their wake. As the melting of the ice caps continues, these events are going to become more common, and far harder to see coming.

Humanity has already allowed Earth to pass the point of no return with regards to climate change - there are going to be some permanent shifts that are unavoidable, even if we completely clean up our act.

That said, the healing hole in our ozone layer proves that some catastrophes can be averted, if the global community works together to stop self-destructive practices that can harm our planet's environment.

With even big polluters like China getting behind the idea of renewable clean energy, it's looking like we might have a chance to slow the melting of the polar ice caps even if we can't completely prevent the oncoming destruction and stormy weather that'll be kicked up by rising temperatures. With companies like Tesla making strides in renewable energy, the next few years are likely to see major shifts in the common sources of power that we rely on to keep our nifty electronics working.

There is of course one large nation that's currently not playing ball with the global community with regards to climate change prevention, and scientists are already debating just how hazardous this may prove.

It's worth checking out NASA's flooding simulation, if only to experience some of the intended panic that the agency hopes the information will inspire in people around the world.

The more aware we are of the long term effects of climate change, the more invested we'll be in trying to keep our beloved homes from turning into aquariums.
Science News
These Cities Are Doomed When the Polar Ice Caps Melt