Rising temperatures are already melting the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Recent studies indicate that a combination of melting ice sheets and glaciers, plus the thermal expansion of the ocean as it warms could raise sea level by up to six feet during this century.
Yet even a three-foot rise in sea level would sharply reduce the rice harvest in Asia, a region home to over half the world's people that grows 90 percent of the world's rice. It would inundate half the riceland in Bangladesh and submerge part of the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam. Viet Nam, second only to Thailand as a rice exporter, could lose its exportable rice surplus.
This would leave the 20 or so countries that import rice from Viet Nam looking elsewhere. Numerous other rice-growing river deltas in Asia would be submerged in varying degrees.
While the ice sheets are melting, so too are mountain glaciers. The snow and ice masses in the world's mountain ranges and the water they store are taken for granted simply because they have been there since before agriculture began. Now we risk losing the "reservoirs in the sky" on which so many farmers and cities depend.
The World Glacier Monitoring Service reported in 2010 the 19th consecutive year of shrinking mountain glaciers. Glaciers are melting in all of the world's major mountain ranges, including the Andes, the Rockies, the Alps, the Himalayas, and the Tibetan Plateau. More >>>
Location: Cayman Islands