Dial it back, Chirpy. We’re in Iceland, not on a ship that’s about to hit an iceberg and sink! Although, I have to admit I have been thinking of that famous disaster as I walk along Jokulsarlon Lagoon.
It’s true. As I look into the water I see that only 1/3 of the iceberg is poking out of the water. 2/3 of it is under the water. That’s A LOT of water frozen solid!
That got us thinking: Where did these icebergs come from? Where are they going? What happens when the ice melts? We’d have to go EXPLORING (Chirpy’s favorite word) to find out!
It became clear that the icebergs were coming from the glacier on the other side of the lagoon. The glacier is the large field of ice on the land in the background of the picture above. Can you see it? It’s very thick – LOTS of ice – so it’s there all year ’round, even now in the summertime. Part of the glacier melts every summer. As it melts from the bottom, the sheet of ice slides downhill.
Parts of the glacier break off and slide into the lagoon. When the ice is floating it’s called an iceberg. We wanted a closer look, so we hopped into a boat to get to the other side of the lagoon.
The view from the boat was incredibly beautiful in the evening.
We came close to the edge of the glacier that’s sliding into the lagoon.
The lagoon opens into the Atlantic Ocean, so eventually the icebergs float out into the ocean. As they float, they melt. The water, which was once ice on land, now becomes part of the liquid water in the ocean. I’m sure you can see the cause and effect relationship here: land ice into the ocean → more water in the ocean.
Here’s the really important part….
The more water that’s added to the ocean, the higher the water level on land. This is called sea level rise.
In the video below, you’ll see an iceberg that floated out of the Jokulsarlon Lagoon and into the ocean. Now it’s melting rapidly.
The extra water has to go somewhere. Right? When you add ice or water to an already-full glass of water, what happens? The water level gets higher and it overflows the glass! Same with the ocean. When you add more ice and water, the water level gets higher and it overflows onto land.
This isn’t a problem if no one is living near the ocean, but if people are living on the coast (where the land meets the ocean), then that becomes a BIG problem.
In the video below, the animation shows years passing on the right, and what will happen if sea level keeps rising on the left.
As you can see, it’s happening slowly, over the years, but we need to pay attention to sea level rise now, so we can help slow it down. Let’s get to the nitty gritty….
What’s causing the land ice to melt and slide into the ocean? GLOBAL WARMING. We all know that warmer temperature causes ice to melt. That’s a no brainer. As our planet gets warmer, more and more land ice ends up in the ocean. Let’s work together to do something about it.
Click here to find out more about global warming, and what we can do to slow it down and help our planet.