Melting Polar Ice Warps Earth’s Crust
As the polar ice sheets melt, the process is not just raising sea levels – it’s also warping the underlying surface of Earth, a new study reveals, and some of the effects can be seen across thousands of miles.
What’s happening is that Earth’s crust is rising and spreading as the weight of the ice across Greenland, Antarctica, and the Arctic Islands gets lifted. The movement isn’t huge, averaging less than a millimeter a year, but it’s there and it covers a lot of ground.
The changes in the Earth’s crust may lead to altered tectonic movements over time, further affecting how the ice continues to melt.
The annual hole in the layer of stratospheric ozone over Antarctica has surged in size to now cover an area larger than the continent itself. Stratospheric ozone helps protect the Earth’s surface from dangerous ultraviolet radiation.
While a worldwide ban on the chemicals responsible for ozone depletion is showing signs of helping the hole to heal, scientists say it will still take decades because those chemicals are slow to break down. The European Space Agency says this year’s hole is now larger than 75% of those since the late 1970s. The ozone holes typically reach their largest size between mid-September and mid-October.
Climate Change Fuels Migration – Guatemala
The agricultural economy of Guatemala has been hit by intense droughts alternating with devastating floods – two extremes made worse by climate change.
In Guatemala, years of severe drought interspersed with tropical storms, Hurricanes Eta and Iota last year and other heavy precipitation events have not only destroyed crops but also battered the land. Plants no longer grow and the soil remains infertile. This situation has caused severe food insecurity where almost half of children under five years old suffer malnutrition.
In the result, people are migrating away from rural areas to cities and other countries where prospects to earn a living are more favourable. While there is no clear definition, legal or otherwise, on who is a climate migrant, climate change is rarely the main reason why someone decides to leave their home, but it’s almost certainly a compounding factor in many cases.