24. Antarctica is home to 70% of the Earth’s freshwater.
To put it differently: about 70% of our freshwater is frozen! Fully 90% of the planet’s ice is trapped in Antarctica. The southernmost continent was almost entirely frozen over. This “Antarctic ice sheet” covers nearly fourteen million square kilometers and contains over thirty million cubic kilometers of ice. Were all of the ice in Antarctica to melt, sea levels would rise by over 180 feet worldwide. This action makes the rapid warming of Antarctica and the rest of the world particularly troublesome. As temperatures rise, the melting of the polar ice sheets accelerates.
As Dr. David Wilson, a researcher from Imperial College London, puts it, “With current global temperatures already one degree higher than pre-industrial times, future ice loss seems inevitable if we fail to reduce carbon emissions.” In some parts of Antarctica, the ice is so thick that it is nearly 16000 feet deep, which means the ice is about three miles thick! Most of the rest of the world’s ice is trapped in glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland, Alaska, and Canada, but those only make up about 2% of the world’s ice sheets volume.