IF ALL THE ICE MELTED
Aside from the Oceans, the biggest reservoir of water on Earth is tied up in ice; a whopping 20,840 million cubic kilometres of ice, to be exact.
However, as our climate changes, this number is steadily decreasing. Since the industrial revolution, enormous releases of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide have been bellowing into our atmosphere, primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels. As a result, we have watched, year on year, as the global mean temperature has risen at an unprecedented rate. Consequently, ice caps have been melting, glaciers have been retreating and this coupled with thermal expansion has resulted in a rise in sea levels.
If we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere it is probable that we will eventually have an ice free planet; the first time in 30 million years.
What would this look like?
Well, the world as we know it would be a very different place. For a start, the maps that we have all come so familiar with would have to be redrawn. If all the ice melted, global sea level would rise 65.8 metres (216 feet), creating new shorelines for our continents and inland seas.
To help you visualise this scenario, National Geographic have created this interactive map showing the effect of such a significant rise in sea level on the seven continents.
Take a gander and see how sea level rise would impact the world: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/if-ice-melted-map