Long before the dawn of humanity, icy bulldozers slowly swept parts of the world, carving landforms like lakes and fjords. Glaciers are massive ancient bodies of ice and snow – and some of the coldest things on planet Earth.
Click start to play today’s crossword puzzle – our coldest yet – where you have to name other frigid things from around the world.
Not all pieces of old ice can be called a glacier. The minimum required size is 0.1 square kilometer – that’s the size of 19 football fields! The Lambert Glacier in Antarctica is the largest form of ice in the world, and is 96 km wide and 434 km long.
Although shaped like rivers, glaciers are in fact considered to be the largest reservoirs of fresh water in the world. They contain 69% of the world’s freshwater supply.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that the oldest glacial ice in Antarctica may be nearly a million years old! At the height of the last Ice Age, glaciers covered about a third of the Earth’s land area. Today, they cover about 10 percent.
As global warming increases, glaciers are melting rapidly and contributing to sea level rise, which in turn has devastating effects on coastal erosion and ocean temperatures. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), when it comes to sea ice, 95% of the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has already disappeared. The Greenland ice sheet is also disappearing four times faster than in 2003 and is responsible for 20 percent of the current sea level rise.
We desperately need glaciers to remain the solid, seemingly still structures that they have been for millennia. The USGS website explains what would happen if all of Earth’s glaciers and ice caps melted: Global sea level would rise by about 230 feet, inundating every coastal city on the planet.
Let’s take root in the colder regions of the Earth. Play today’s crossword puzzle and let us know if you enjoyed it at [email protected]