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Day 14 – Q 3. What role do ice bodies play in maintaining earth’s heat budget? Discuss the threats posed to ice bodies by global warming.

3. What role do ice bodies play in maintaining earth’s heat budget? Discuss the threats posed to ice bodies by global warming.  

पृथ्वी के ताप बजट को बनाए रखने में बर्फ निकायों की भूमिका क्या है? ग्लोबल वार्मिंग द्वारा बर्फ निकायों पर  खतरों की चर्चा करें।


Heat budget is the phenomenon through which earth maintains a constant temperature by reflecting the equal amount of heat as received by it from the atmosphere.


Role of ice bodies in maintaining heat budget:

  • Albedo- Ice bodies reflect most of the sunrays falling on them, thus preventing the earth from becoming warmer.
  • Temperature diffusion- Ice bodies along with other global phenomenon helps in creating ocean and wing cycles around the earth which carry surplus heat to poles, thus maintaining the overall global heat balance.
  • Carbon sequestration- Ice bodies in the polar region are a sink for a large amount of carbon present on earth and helps to lock it away, so as to prevent it from increasing global temperature.

Threats to ice bodies by global warming:

  • Ice melting- the Increasing surface temperature has resulted in an increased pace of glacial melting.
  • Loss of permafrost- There is a constant loss of permafrost layer in polar and sub-polar regions endangering the stability of land in those regions.
  • Poleward migration of species- Due to increased temperature, species are migrating polewards, thus endangering the survival of the native species of these regions.
  • Release of carbon dioxide- Ice melting in certain areas releases the locked carbon dioxide, thus increasing global warming further, leading to a vicious cycle.
  • Shrinking Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves- Breaking of Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica and several smaller ice shelves in the Arctic are a result of global warming.
  • Upward movement of snowline in mountainous regions- the Increased pace of melting of glaciers has resulted in the upward shift of snow line, thus reducing albedo of the region.


Ice bodies are vital for maintaining the constant global temperature and any threat to their survival will create a vicious cycle of constantly rising earth’s temperatures. Governments must come together and change the consumption patterns to arrest the rise in temperature as well adopt adaptation strategies to ensure the well-being of the population in coastal regions.

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