Glaciers are a bulk of ice moving under its weight. It forms in areas where the amassing of snow goes beyond its ablation over many years. They are sensitive indicators of changing climate.
- They are generally seen in the snow-fields.
- This largest freshwater basin covers around 10 percent of the land surface of the Earth.
- Out of total water on Earth, 2.1% is in glaciers while 97.2% is in the oceans and inland seas.
- Condition of glacier formation:
- Mean annual temperatures are close to the freezing point.
- Winter precipitation produces significant accumulations of snow.
- Temperatures throughout the rest of the year do not result in the complete loss of the previous winter’s snow accumulation.
Significance Of Glaciers
- Glaciers and Thermo (heat) Haline (salt) Circulation: The melting fresh water from glaciers alters the ocean, not only by directly contributing to the global sea level rise, but also because it pushes down the heavier salt water, thereby changing the currents in the ocean.
- Glaciers and winds: As the planet’s air conditioner, the polar ice caps impact weather and climate dynamics, such as the jet stream.
- Glaciers and climate change: Glaciers are also early indicators of climate changes that will have a somewhat more delayed impact on other parts of the Earth system. Glaciers are sentinels of climate change.
- Glaciers provide drinking water: People living in arid climates near mountains often rely on glacial melt for their water for part of the year. e.g.: Ganges, Yangtze
- Glaciers irrigate crops: In Switzerland’s Rhone Valley, farmers have irrigated their crops for hundreds of years by channelling meltwater from glaciers to their fields.
- Glaciers help generate hydroelectric power: Scientists and engineers in Norway, central Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and South America have worked together to tap into glacial resources, using electricity that has been generated in part by damming glacial meltwater.
Importance Of Glaciers on Earth,Importance Of Glaciers on Earth