Image courtesy of ricardo.martins via flickr
In light of our ongoing coverage of the melting Arctic ice caps - or, as we like to think of it, the "how low will they go" game - it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to hear that the world's glaciers are now melting at a faster rate than at any prior time since records began. Reporting for The Observer, Juliette Jowit and Robin McKie scrutinize the results of the latest World Glacier Monitoring Service report, which reveals that 30 glaciers around the world lost a record amount of ice in 2006 - a clear sign of global warming's impact, its authors argue (no arguments here).Jowit and McKie cite Achim Steiner, head of UNEP (UN Environment Program), who warned of the dire consequences this continued melting would bring - large sea level rises, mass migration and conflict. Lester Brown, whom they also cite, said its effects would especially be felt by farmers in China and India, whose "food security" would suffer.
While it may seem easy to dismiss this latest bit of hand-wringing as nothing more than glorified "alarmism" (as we're sure many will be wont to do), it is now abundantly clear that glaciers - not to mention icebergs and the ice caps - are melting at alarming rates (let's also not forget that scientists' estimates have tended more on the conservative side). We can argue over whether they will be gone by 2010, 2020 or 2030; the debate we should be having is how we can best tackle this and other looming challenges global warming will bring in the near future.
Via ::Th Observer: Glaciers melt 'at fastest rate in past 5,000 years' (news website)