The White Cap Is Melting — Will They Disappear Completely?

Aiswarya R Nair
2 min readOct 8, 2021

Will we see an iceless planet in the near future?

The stats are actually bleak. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets lose an average of 427 billion metric tonnes of ice per year.

Every day, more than 1.1 billion tonnes are produced. Water from the melting ice sheets streams into the oceans, rising sea levels.

The ice caps store 99 per cent of the world’s freshwater. It’s a startling amount of water. All that water, enough to resemble an inland sea, is a drop in the bucket compared to what’s carried within Antarctica’s solid core.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels
Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels

But are Glaciers entirely different from sea ice?

Glaciers form on land, whereas sea ice forms and melts only in the ocean. Icebergs are chunks of glacial ice that break off and fall into the ocean after detaching from glaciers.

As the water stored on land is released like glaciers melt, the runoff considerably increases the volume of water in the ocean, contributing to global sea-level rise.

On the other hand, sea ice is frequently compared to ice cubes in a glass of water. When it melts, the amount of water in the glass does not alter instantaneously.

Instead, melting Arctic sea ice has a slew of other negative implications, ranging from a lack of usable ice for walrus to haul out or polar bears to disrupting weather patterns worldwide by altering the Jet Stream’s path.

What causes glaciers to melt?

Many glaciers throughout the world have been quickly melting since the early 1900s. Human actions cause this phenomenon. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions have elevated temperatures since the industrial revolution, even higher in the poles. As a result, glaciers rapidly melt, calving off into the sea and retreating on land.

Well, not just the Arctic and Antarctic glaciers are melting. The glacial mass on Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise, has lost two metres in height over the past year alone.

Thus, according to organisers of the private project, the first of its kind in Scandinavia, a cloth covering deployed to shield part of the Helags glacier in northern Sweden over the summer rescued at least 3.5 metres in height from melting.

The cloth experiment took place on Sweden’s highest mountain south of the Arctic Circle, the Helags glacier. The team consisted of Huss, a communications consultant with a degree in glaciology who had the idea along with Swedish adventurer Oskar Kihlborg, and his colleagues. They plan to replicate their experiment on a bigger scale than the 40 square metres covered by Helags and enlist the help of glaciology academics for a more scientific approach.

Well, covering glaciers to prevent further shrinkage has been tried in other places, such as Presena, Italy, but never in a Nordic country.