Sometimes I will be watching the news on TV and something catches my eye. The other morning I was watching GMA and Amy was in Iceland on a field assignment. It was regarding the melting glacier ice and to increase the visual impact it is having on earth, they used drones for all the incredible close-up shots. While the visual was beautiful the narrative was a bit confusing for the normal non-informed viewer to understand.
The focus of the story was to explain how the ice was melting because of global warming cause by man. What was so fascinating to me was how they kept contradicting that position with very scientific explanations of how the natural hydrological cycle works. Inside the glacier there was a living timeline about a period of earth’s evolution. Amy was given some small sea shells that were scrapped up from the bottom of the glacier. Those warm water sea shells actually prove that not so many years ago this region of the earth was a warm water tropical area (also oil reserves under the surrounding seas).
Yes, the earth is getting warmer and yes, the glacier are melting and yes, man has the technology to monitor minuscule climate change and yes, project the possible time frames when those changes could effect the way mankind lives on earth. One of the issues the climate watchers are concerned with is that the melting glacier ice will cause the oceans to rise, resulting in coastal regions underwater – again. So my curiosity asked the question – and, what is wrong with that? The best solution to that event would be to migrate to higher ground. Unfortunately that isn’t a very simple task anymore.
The hydrologic cycle is a conceptual model that describes the storage and movement of water between the biosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere, and the hydrosphere. It is a very simple explanation of how water moves around the globe in three states: as water (liquid), vapor (gas) or solid (ice). As ice melts to water and evaporates, it will become a green house gas in the atmosphere that will eventually condense back into water again. That is how simple the hydrological cycle actually is. There will always be the same amount of H2O on earth through evaporation and precipitation with 91% returning back to the ocean basins and the rest over land masses.
While ice and water have the same mass, ice occupies a greater volume than water. This means that frozen water in the ocean actually displaces the volume of water which will then raise the coastal waters. A melting glacier over any land surface (Iceland, Greenland, Antarctic, etc) will also increase the water in the ocean storage. Of God, are we screwed? Well, no we are not. The atmospheric warming that causes the glaciers to melt also warms up the oceans and causes increased evaporation.
Water on our planet can be stored in any one of the following major reservoirs: atmosphere, oceans, lakes, rivers, soils, glaciers, snowfields, and groundwater. Plants and animals are also about 70% water, by volume, and are considered a reservoir also. As the population increases, the volume of water will also increase in that storage reservoir.
As the planet warms, the ocean waters will warm and evaporation will increase which will increase the atmospheric storage of water. As the weather patterns adjust to new air and water currents, arid lands will start to receive and store water. The Earth will never run out of water but humans might run out of portable water. I am not a formally trained scientist but I can read and learn. Based on my learning experience with science, the world is evolving and mankind needs to adapt to it or it will be our turn to go extinct next.