Global Warning and Climate Change: How will Earth change if all the ice melted?

“Global warming and climate change isn’t real because I was cold today. Also, great news: World hunger is over because I just ate today.” – Stephen Colbert

If the Titanic were to sail today, I believe the one constant that would change in hindsight would be the iceberg. It simply doesn’t matter whether or not you believe climate change is real because while climate change is being put up for debate, the ice caps and all the glaciers are still melting into the water bodies. It is needless to say that the accelerating effect that this creates diagnoses our earth further with climate change.

What does ice melting have to do with global warming? 

The ice is responsible for reflecting around 90% of solar radiation to space.  Global warming is already caused by the greenhouse effect, i.e., the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide have heat-trapping properties and trap most of the sun’s energy which warms up the Earth’s surface. The warming causes more ice to melt and the more the ice melts, the more heat gets absorbed instead of getting reflected. This effect is known as feedback

Less ice on land is equivalent to a rise in sea levels. Sea level has been rising about 1-2 millimetres each year as the Earth has become warmer. Greenland is an area with relatively less stable ice and recently experienced its third-largest single-day loss of ice. Greenland’s ice loss has increased approximately four times the rate before 2000. Sea levels would increase by roughly 20 feet (6 metres) if all of Greenland’s ice melted.

Ice sheets in Greenland, as well as Antarctica, make up 99% of Earth’s freshwater. Regrettably, both of these regions have been losing their ice sheets at an accelerated rate; a combined 7 trillion tons of ice has melted away since 1994. 

What will happen to Earth if all the ice melted?

New York floods 2021

Most of the Atlantic coast, Florida, and the gulf coast will be underwater.  Continents like Australia would be most affected since most of the population and habitation are either on or near the water coastline. There is an interesting situation that would be created; while some regions go underwater or are affected by floods, this would mean less water and more drought for other regions such as Africa. 

This doesn’t make sense at first but if you think about it, the ice is responsible for reflecting the sun’s rays to prevent the lands from heating up, but if all the ice is gone, there is not a lot left to 

bounce away from the sun’s radiation. Africa as we know already lies directly on the equator and the lack of ice caps will only make it worse. 

The rising sea levels and temperatures will wreak havoc on the weather. All the freshwater that has melted into the water bodies will aggressively disrupt the ocean currents causing regions like the Gulf stream to lead to cold snaps and storms across Europe. 

As cities and countries drown, the number of refugees would spike up more than ever. The lack of availability of resources such as food and concrete shelter would force a refugee crisis. Governments wouldn’t be able to provide immediate aid or infrastructure as nations will be tackling their own economic, environmental, and social issues. Global chaos, such as the collapse of the world economy would lead to wars and anarchy and while this seems far-fetched, it is very likely to transpire.  

This is an impact that will go beyond affecting humans

By all means, we humans would not be the only ones at risk of extinction; many earthly animals would straight up cease to exist. Global warming and climate change is considered to be one of the greatest threats to biodiversity; erratic temperatures indicate early ecological responses, pushing nature out of rhythm, such as disrupting egg hatching time. 

It is surprising that the species at risk include some marine animals. The changes in ocean currents decrease salinity levels. While certain animals adapt to this, others would die. Along with the many marine animals, Emperor Penguins lie at risk of extinction too.

They are the world’s biggest penguin species, yet even they will be extinct by the end of the century if present greenhouse gas emissions and melting sea ice continue.

The idea of all ice caps present on Earth melting away seems far from our daily concerns and poses an issue that will marginally impact us to make any change. While the majority of the population seconds this statement, more than half of the overall population will be wiped off if the ice sheets continue to melt. 

What can we do?

Neither of us wants our future generation or our legacies to grow up in an ambience where masks are worn not to be safe from contaminated air but solely to breathe. Everything contained inside our ozone layer has a connection to everything else and every action has an equal reaction. The one common connecting dot and climate’s gravest enemy is carbon dioxide. “When oil, coal and 

other fossil fuels are burned for energy, which is used to power our homes, vehicles and smartphones, carbon dioxide is released”. 

We can prevent a good amount of carbon dioxide from getting emitted by switching to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) from your typical light bulbs. Throughout its lifespan, each CFL may avoid more than 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. 

The CO2 produced in the creation of the energy that the light bulb uses is the culprit, not the light bulb itself. The quantity of CO2 produced depends on the kind and efficiency of the power station; coal power stations produce the most CO2 but if your energy is provided by wind power, your light bulb will not emit any CO2 over its lifetime. 

Approximately 10% of the energy used in the United States is used to cultivate, prepare, package and distribute food, with about 40% of it ending up in landfills. You’re presumably consuming less energy if you waste less food. Eating meat-free meals may also make a huge difference because animal products are among the most resource-intensive to manufacture.

In conclusion to all the musings, even though it will take years before our Earth loses all its ice, the climate is in a very delicate situation. We as humans are threatening our lives and other living species as well as the only planet we can call home until Elon Musk can make Mars habitable. Till the latter is possible try to engage the smallest changes towards rectifying climate change and don’t forget the three crucial Rs- reduce, reuse and recycle!

Editor: Sharmistha Dey

Visual Content:

Amit Abhishek

Anubhav Maharana

Nandini Rao

Nandini Rao


Nandini is a published blog author at Panorama361 and the Content Lead at PRCI YCC, Shoolini University. She likes to spend her time with novels and cats. Being a Math enthusiast, she also has her own blog: Math Hysteria ( ).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *