It’s no secret that climate change is one of the biggest issues facing the world today. And wrapped up in that issue is the melting of the polar ice caps. However, this particular part of the problem is one that can often feel difficult to comprehend. Now, though, NASA has released a time-lapse that illustrates the reality of the situation – and it makes for harrowing viewing.
Global warming is just one part of the broader issue of climate change, although the two terms are colloquially used to refer to the same thing. In simple terms, however, the former covers the process by which the Earth has warmed as a direct result of human actions. And while there are historical examples of periods of global warming, it’s the rate at which it’s currently happening that’s most alarming.
Indeed, it’s widely agreed that since the 1950s global warming has occurred at unprecedented levels. And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report in 2013 warned that the temperature of the Earth’s surface could rise as high as 8.6 °F this century – which is a significant increase on the current level. Of course, these changes are largely the result of human influences such as accelerated greenhouse gas emissions, including nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide. And as well as its increased surface temperature, the Earth faces a host of other effects, too.