Ice caps are defined as sheets of ice covering a large area. They are especially found at the polar regions of planets. Earth’s ice caps are melting at an extremely rapid pace, causing a lot of problems. NASA’s satellite pictures show that the polar ice caps have been shrinking 9% every 10 years.
This is happening because of global warming. There has been indisputable evidence that the Earth has been getting warmer. Independent analyses from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have both shown that 2016 was the warmest year ever recorded. Furthermore, it is the third year in a row to break the record. This rise in temperature is the cause of melting ice caps. Why is this a danger to mankind? When the ice caps melt, water previously frozen flows to the ocean, causing sea levels to rise. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), this has already raised the global average sea level by 10 to 20 cm in the past 4 centuries.
This would have devastating effects on our infrastructure and economy. The raised seawater levels could cause more destructive and powerful storm surges in coastal areas. If it floods even farther in, it could cause destructive erosion, soil contamination, lost habitats and heavy flooding. Raised sea levels would also force hundreds of millions of people to relocate. Scientific Approach: The purpose of this investigation is to find a way to slow down the melting of the ice caps and prevent sea levels from rising. The focus of this investigation will be on the floating ice shelves, as they act as a natural block, slowing land-based ice sheet melt into the ocean. Land-based ice sheet melt causes the greatest rise in ocean level as compared to any other form of ice cap.
Therefore, I will only be focusing on them. Water on the the floating ice shelves absorbs water from the sun and warms up, before dripping into cracks and crevices in the ice shelf, causing even more melt. This can be prevented by building up the ice shelf through increasing the amount of snowfall. This is possible as this melting behaves like a threshold system, where the ice melts at an extremely low rate, with even a little bit more warmth exponentially increasing the melt rate. Bringing the temperature down with increased snowfall will bring the melt rate down to a much slower and manageable pace.
It is by no means a permanent solution, but it will allow us time to bring down our greenhouse gas emissions to the point that the climate is again balanced. Steps taken to obtain data (Hypothesis)Take two blocks of ice (representing the ice shelves) and float them in a bowl of waterLabel one bowl as bowl A and the other as B. Bowl A will be your control set-upPour 50g of crushed ice onto the ice block in bowl B (replacement for snow) and 50g of water into bowl ALeave the two bowls in the refrigerator (temperature of the refrigerator should be above 5oC)Record the mass of both ice blocks after half an hour.Repeat steps 3-5 until one of the ice blocks have melted completely.Constant VariablesThe volume of water in the bowlThe temperature of the refrigeratorThe type of bowls usedThe source of water used in the experimentIndependent Variable:The temperature of the ice (by increasing snowfall)