Rivers of Ice: Earth’s Glaciers

The global rise in temperatures during the past century have directly impacted the health of the world’s glaciers.  These massive “rivers of ice” are home to 2.1% of the world’s water, but with nearly 75% of the world’s freshwater, glaciers are the largest reserves for freshwater on Earth.  The health of glaciers is critically important to ecosystems worldwide (glaciers are found on every continent, excluding Australia).  

As temperatures rise, glacier ice melts and drives freshwater into rivers, oceans and other bodies of water.  Alpine glaciers (found in mountainous areas) are sources for freshwater for many communities worldwide as well as providing water for energy plants.  Disappearing alpine glaciers would have devastating effects on many countries and millions of people worldwide.  Melting ice sheets (these types of glaciers are found in Antarctica, Greenland and in the Arctic) contribute to rising sea levels and deposit large amounts of freshwater into oceans and inland seas, significantly affecting their ecosystems. Prolific landscape photographer Martin Zwick (represented by UIG contributing partner Cubo Images) captures the natural beauty and raw power of these massive, ever-moving ice fields and their importance to our planet.

All photos ©Martin Zwick / Cubo Images / UIG

Text sources:

National Geographic Society


United States Geological Survey



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