Glaciers: their journey from beginning to end

Presently, 10% of land area is covered with glaciers, but during the last ice age, glaciers covered 32% of the total land area. Glacierized areas today cover over 15,000,000 square kilometers. They store about 75% of the world’s freshwater and in the United States alone, glaciers cover over 75,000 square kilometers, with most of the glaciers located in Alaska. If all land ice melted, sea level would rise approximately 70 meters worldwide. That would drown New Orleans, but don;t count on that happening any time soon.
Most of the world’s glaciers are found near the Poles, but glaciers exist on all of the world’s continents, even Africa. Australia doesn’t have any glaciers; however, it is considered part of Oceania, which includes several Pacific island chains and the large islands of Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Both of these islands have glaciers
Glaciers require very specific climatic conditions. Most are found in regions of high snowfall in winter and cool temperatures in summer. These conditions ensure that the snow that builds up in the winter isn’t lost by melt, evaporation, or calving during the summer. Such conditions are typically found in polar and high alpine regions. There are two main types of glaciers: valley glaciers and continental glaciers (commonly known as ice sheets).
The amount of precipitation, whether in the form of snowfall, freezing rain, avalanches, or wind-drifted snow, is important to glacier survival. In areas such as Antarctica, where the low temperatures are ideal for glacier growth, very low annual precipitation causes the glaciers to grow very slowly.
During the growing years, glaciers grow and expand and start the beginning of a long journey. Basically, a glacier forms when snow accumulates over time, turns to ice, and begins to flow outwards and downwards under the pressure of its own weight. The main growing season for glaciers is during the ice ages. Ice ages are intervals of time w…

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