Residents of the Alaskan capital, Juneau, are experiencing one emergency evacuation from Monday due to severe flooding triggered by an eruption of a glacial lake. This is a situation where a dam containing a glacial lake – in this case the Suicide Basin, a tributary of Mendenhall Glacier – ruptures. The rupture in the Suicide Basin was so severe that the ensuing flooding washed away and severely damaged homes along the Mendenhall River.
According to FEMA, this region of Alaska had less than a 1 percent chance of experiencing “extreme” flooding like this one. “We didn’t even think it was possible,” said Aaron Jacobs, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service Juneau abc news.
scientists have forecast since 2021 that melted glaciers will increase the risk of flooding as climate change continues to worsen. Climate change is mainly caused by human burning of fossil fuels, which releases carbon emissions into the atmosphere. These carbon emissions then trap heat, overheating the planet and causing problems like melting glaciers.
When all the glaciers and ice caps on earth melt, Sea levels are estimated to rise by 230 feet (70 meters) and inundates the billions of people who live in surrounding communities. The melted ice will also significantly alter weather patterns, particularly ocean current systems such as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). When AMOC closes, temperatures are expected to drop across Europe, storms will become more frequent and intense, and food shortages will occur.