ALL THE WATER IN THE WORLD in cubic miles
- 262 Living organisms
- 2,752 Swamp water
- 3,095 Atmosphere
- 3,959 Soil moisture
- 42,829 Lakes and rivers
- 71,970 Ground ice and permafrost
- 5,614,000 Groundwater
- 5,773,000 Ice sheets, glaciers and permanent snow
- 321,000,0000 Oceans, seas and bays
How the ultimate sea-level catastrophe would reshape our world
There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth, and no one really knows how long it would take to melt it all. Probably more than 5,000 years, some scientist say. But if we burn all the coal,oil and gas,adding some five trillion more tons of carbon to the atmosphere, we’ll very likely create an ice-free planets. It would be a hot planet, with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58. Large swaths of it might become too hot for humans; deserts would doubtless expand.
GREENLAND AND THE ARCTIC OCEAN In a few decades the Arctic Ocean may be ice free in summer. The ice sheet that covers nearly all of Greenland is up to two miles thick and will last far longer. But it’s still at risk. It shrank or vanished during earlier interglacial periods, when Earth was only a few degrees warmer than it is today. Since 1992 it has lost more than 140 billion metric tons of ice a year on average.
WEST ANTARCTICA Like the Greenland ice sheet, the West Antarctic one was apparently much smaller during earlier warm periods. It’s vulnerable because most of it sits on bedrock that’s below sea level. The warming ocean is melting the floating ice shelves that buttress it and could eventually melt the ice sheet itself from below, causing it to collapse. Since 1992 it has averaged a net loss of 65 billion metric tons of ice a year.
EAST ANTARCTICA The East Antarctic ice sheet is so large – it contains four-fifths of all the ice on Earth – that it might seem to be thickening slight – because of global warming. The warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour, which falls as snow on East Antarctica. But even this behemoth is unlikely to survive a return to an Eocene climate.
- Total sea-level rise if all ice melts: 216 feet
- Contribution from Greenland ice sheet: 25 feet
- Contribution from West Antarctic ice sheet: 14 feet
- Contribution from East Antarctic ice sheet: 175 feet
- Contribution from other ice: 2 feet
See the full story at: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/if-ice-melted-map