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Ninety-nine percent of all freshwater ice in the world is sitting on top of Greenland and Antarctica, and each year, a bit more of it merges the ocean. Generally, it would take hundreds to countless years for everything to disappear. However what if something occurred that triggered an enormous worldwide melt over night?

As we slept, water level would increase by a massive 66 meters. Coastal cities like New York, Shanghai, and London would drown in the apocalyptic mass flood, requiring approximately 40% of the world’s population out of their houses. While all this mayhem occurs aboveground, something similarly ominous is occurring below. All that increasing saltwater will penetrate groundwater reserves further inland, requiring its method into close-by freshwater aquifers. You understand, the ones that provide our drinking water, watering systems, and power-plant cooling systems? All those aquifers would be ruined. Bad.

On top of that, the ice on Greenland and Antarctica is made from freshwater, so when it melts, that has to do with 69% of the world’s freshwater supply that’s going directly into the oceans. This will ruin our ocean currents and weather condition patterns. Take the Gulf Stream, for instance. It’s a strong ocean current that brings warm air to northern Europe and counts on thick, salted water from the Arctic in order to work. However a flood of freshwater would water down the present and might deteriorate and even stop it entirely. Without that warm air, temperature levels in northern Europe would plunge, which might generate a tiny glacial epoch, according to some professionals.

That’s not even the worst of it. Have a look at what will occur when that last 1% of freshwater ice that’s not part of Greenland or Antarctica defrosts. A few of that 1% is being in glaciers further inland. The Himalayan glaciers particularly position among the biggest dangers since of what’s caught inside: hazardous chemicals like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT. Researchers found that glaciers like this can save these chemicals for years. However as they thaw, those glaciers launch the chemicals into rivers, lakes, and groundwater reserves, poisoning every one as they go.

The rest of that 1% is hanging out underground, primarily in the Arctic tundra, as something called permafrost. Permafrost is raw material that’s been frozen in the ground for two-plus years. Now, among the most instant issues with defrosting permafrost would be mercury poisoning. That’s right: There are an approximated 15 million gallons of mercury accumulated in the Arctic permafrost. That’s nearly equivalent to the quantity of mercury all over else in the world. On top of that, the raw material in permafrost is a delicious meal for microbes. After they absorb everything, they fart out 2 of the most powerful greenhouse gases out there, co2 and methane. Researchers approximate this might double the present levels of greenhouse gases in the environment, and possibly trigger worldwide temperature levels to increase by 3.5 degrees Celsius compared to today.

That may not seem like much, however bid farewell to that small European glacial epoch, and even rivers and lakes all over the world. They ‘d vaporize from the greater temperature levels and trigger mass dry spells and desert-like environments. And all that additional water vapor in the environment would sustain more regular and more powerful storms, floods, and typhoons. So all of that recently developed shoreline on the eastern United States would be among the last locations you ‘d wish to live. Rather, there would be mass migrations to Canada, Alaska, the Arctic, and even what remains of the Antarctic.

And you’re right, this is most likely never ever going to occur. After all, there suffices ice today to cover the whole continent of The United States and Canada in a sheet a mile thick. So the next time you find out about record-breaking heat or ultra-powerful typhoons, a minimum of you understand that it might be even worse. However researchers approximate that if we do not act and worldwide temperature levels increase by simply 1 degree Celsius, the results of environment modification we currently see today will be irreparable. So yes, it might be even worse, and it will be if we’re not mindful.