Scientists assure that the Antarctic sheet is melting because there is too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The excessive presence of the gas is weakening the ozone layer which protects Earth from Sun’s harming rays.

A study published in Science magazine backs up the claim. The study reveals that there is a direct relation between the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the concentration of ice. About 30 million years ago, concentrations of the gas decreased and at the same time, ice started to form.

Thwaites Glacier. Image credit: NASA

It started as only snow, but as it accumulated, the weight compacted the particles creating impressing structures, such as icebergs. However, CO2 concentrations raised and the structures formed by ice crumbled into a sheet that covers kilometers of land. The evidence still exists in Antarctica and Greenland.

Even though glacial ice only represents 1.7% of all the water in earth, once melt, its mass would greatly affect the sea level. If the problem is not addressed, we might find ourselves dealing with higher tides and even losing a considerate portion of land to sea waters.

But what are the most notable sources of CO2?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted a chart on its website addressing the matter. According to a chart 31% of CO2 emissions comes from electricity production, 27% from transportation, 21% from industry, 12% from commercial and residential zones and lastly, 9% from agriculture.

The top three sources have something in common, burning fossil fuel and natural gas. Everyday products also contain greenhouse gasses and our current methods of dealing with waste also pile up on the issue. Approximately 67% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas and 90% of transportation is also powered by it.

There might be a direct relationship between development and gas polluting emissions. Union of Concerned Scientists posted on their website the top 20 emitting CO2 countries. China is positioned number one with 27% of global greenhouse gas emissions followed by the United States and Russia with 17% and 5% respectively.

Scientists say that to amend the damage done to the ozone layer and restoring CO2 to a healthy balance seems to be in the hands of World’s superpowers. As science evolves, governments worldwide will have to look for a cleaner and more efficient source of energy if the problem is to be solved.

Source: EPA