Work and World

What If All The Ice Melted On Earth? Ft. Bill Nye

you’ve likely heard about the effects that climate change is having on our planet and specifically in the arctic which is warming twice as fast but what would actually happen if all the ice melted on earth i can help with that when you and i drink water we drink non-salty water we drink fresh water now of all the water in the world most of it is salty just three percent is not salty now if that three percent you can’t get to most of that because seventy percent of that three percent is frozen 30 million cubic kilometers of frozen water it’s so much frozen water so much ice that if you had a layer of it a thousand meters thick it would cover north america that’s a lot of frozen water people on land frozen water forms glaciers ice sheets permafrost and snow but the arctic is largely ocean so there it takes the form of floating sea ice like icebergs and because it’s in direct contact with warming waters sea ice will be the first to melt as global temperatures rise in fact this year nasa reported that the extent of arctic sea ice was the lowest ever recorded for january february april may and june 2016. so the world is getting warmer and the ice is melting pretty soon you’ll be able to drive your ship from europe to russia right over the north pole with no ice in the way that’s good for certain shipping companies maybe but for the marine species the polar bears the walruses the seals they don’t have their old habitats they’re all going away they’re melting out from under them and ocean dwelling animals like bowhead whales and narwhals aren’t immune to these changes either as sea ice melts energy and oil companies are taking it as an opportunity to search further north for untapped resources using a process known as seismic blasting they shoot air explosions into the water in an effort to map the ocean floor and find oil of course this has detrimental effects on the whole ecosystem of the arctic ocean while also causing physical trauma and habitat relocation in wales in terms of sea levels melting sea ice won’t have much of an effect this is because the floating ice already displaces roughly the same amount of water as it would produce when it melts so the net effect would be negligible furthermore the majority of earth’s ice more than 95 percent is land-based and contained mostly in enormous ice sheets that cover greenland and antarctica where there are entire mountain ranges almost as big as the alps completely buried in ice so what if all the ice on land melts if all this ice melts the ocean is going to have more water in it so the sea levels as measured from the coasts is going to go up it’s going to go up 70 meters that’s a long way people half the world citizens live on sea coasts that’s where the commerce action is so they’re going to have to move where are they going to go and who’s going to pay for it tokyo new york sao paulo mumbai shanghai and jakarta are all coastal and happen to be some of the world’s biggest cities even a small sea level rise of only a couple feet could cause up to a trillion dollars worth of flood damage per year a rise of 10 meters would displace more than 630 million people nearly 10 of the world’s population at 25 meters 1.4 billion people roughly 20 of humanity is left homeless and to visualize the full 70 meters the rising seas would drown out most of the u.s eastern seaboard much of the west coast the entire state of florida huge areas of asia including bangladesh and much of northern china and create a new inland sea in australia at the north and south pole of the earth we have a lot of ice ice is white ice reflects sunlight into space but there’s a feedback mechanism one thing leading to another as the world gets warmer the ice melts as the ice melts it’s reflecting less sunlight into space which lets the world get warmer still the sunlight is absorbed by the dark liquid ocean so as the ice melts the world gets warmer and the sea gets fresher currently the world’s oceans are crisscrossed by a set of currents that act like a giant conveyor belt and these currents are powered in part by the differences in the saltiness between one part of the ocean and another so if a melting ice sheet in greenland dumps a whole bunch of non-salty fresh water into the north atlantic it’s possible that it could disrupt the currents so the conveyor belt takes chemicals takes nutrients around the world which feed plankton which feed fish which feed us half of the oxygen you breathe is made by plants in the ocean so you don’t want to mess with this furthermore as that sea surface gets warmer off of greenland the gulf stream will probably shift a little bit and if that shifts what keeps europe warm right now may not keep europe as warm so the crops are going to have to be grown elsewhere and who’s going to grow them and who’s going to ship them around and who’s going to feed each other and what’s going on this is serious business when you go melting the ice we actually went up to the arctic to see the current state of things first hand while documenting it all and we’re absolutely shocked by what we found click here to watch our documentary at the end of the arctic where we learn about an inuit community’s fight to defend their human rights against oil companies and the canadian government all while trying to save the arctic from the drastic effects of climate change and seismic blasting you can help spread awareness by sharing the video and signing our petition to put pressure on the government to prevent seismic blasting in the arctic which would have detrimental long-lasting effects on the wildlife and the inuit people living in northern canada check out the links in the description and join the movement to stand up for the arctic and our planet and subscribe for more weekly science videos
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