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Essay on Glaciers as an Indicator of Climate Change

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Glaciers as an Indicator of Climate Change
Introduction:
It is now a well-documented scientific fact that both the 20th and 21st centuries have experienced a general trend in terms of global warming. Scientific research and evidence clearly indicate that the earth’s surface temperatures are gradually increasing. There have been a variety of theories pertaining to the fundamental causes of global warming. However, one of the outstanding beliefs is that human activities are distinctively responsible for global warming. Although this phenomenon is not experienced on all regions around the globe, the average temperatures on the globe have increased by 0.7°C since 1900 (Hansen et al., 2006).
According to Houghton et al. (2001), fluctuations in glaciers serve as one of the distinctive natural indicators of climate change because of their sensitivity. One of the underlying notions is that fluctuations in glaciers are mainly due to climate change. The original thought is that climate change mainly results in increase in global temperatures and consequently the melting of ice, snow and shifting of glaciers. In this way, changes in precipitation and wind result in changes in the amount of snow and ice accumulation. In addition, changes in radiation fluxes, temperature, and wind including other factors tend to have an impact on the surface energy balance and consequently ablation, a main source of mass loss through evaporation and melting (Dyurgerov 2000). Disturbances in the balance of glacial mass, the glacier’s volume as it shrinks or grows (Hall 2003), results in the change of flow regime and consequently, after a glacier specific delay, what results is either a glacial retreat or advance in a manner that the glacial geometry and a...


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... in Glacier
National Park, 1850–2100." BioScience 53.2 (2003): 131-140.
Hansen, J., M. Sako, R. Ruedy, K. Lo, D.W. Lea and M. Medina-Elizade. 2006. Global
temperature change. (PNAS,) 103(39), 4,288–14,293.
Houghton, J. T., et al. 2001. Climate change 2001: The scientific basis. Contribution of Working
Group 1 to the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Kuhn, M., G. Markl, G. Kaser, U. Nickus, and F. Obleitner. 1985. Fluctuations of climate and
mass balance: Different responses of two adjacent glaciers. Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde
und Glazialgeologie 2:409–16.
Kulkarni, A.V., Bahuguna, I. M., Rathore, B.P., Singh, S.S. Randhawa, R.K. Sood, and S. Dhar,
(2007). “Glacial retreat in Himalaya using Indian Remote Sensing satellite data” Curr
Sci, 92 (1), 69-74.



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