While it's not a topic most people associate with global warming, vacations and international travel could see major impacts from climate change.
Colder climates, such as popular areas for skiing, would presumably see fewer travelers if there's no snow.
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Scientists predict the glaciers at Glacier National Park in Montana could disappear by 2030 as the planet warms, and the ice atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, has shrunk by about 85 percent since 1912, according to a 2012 study published in The Crysophere journal
"It is highly unlikely that any body of ice will be present on Kilimanjaro after 2060 if present-day climatological conditions are maintained," the researchers wrote.
Higher sea levels resulting from melting ice could also threaten coastal cities. "Projections for sea level rise in New York City increase from 11 inches to 21 inches by the 2050s, 18 inches to 39 inches by the 2080s, and, 22 inches to 50 inches, with the worst case of up to six feet, by 2100," according to NASA
. And in London, "There is significant risk of ... being hit by a devastating storm surge in the Thames estuary by 2100 that could breach existing flood defences and cause immense damage to the capital," according to a study reported by The Independent
The Washington Post reported in 2001
that 27 percent of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed due to factors like rising water temperatures. The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network predicts by 2050, another 32 percent could be destroyed.
However, it's not just the ice and water that will be affected: Global warming could also impact transportation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency
. Extreme heat could cause cargo to be restricted and flights to be delayed or canceled. Increases in rains, hurricanes, and flooding could cause entire airports to be closed.
Shipping and traveling by boat could face challenges as inland lakes become shallower and ocean ports flood due to rising sea levels.
Nonetheless, not all the impacts could be bad.
The EPA notes warmer winters could reduce the need for planes to be de-iced, extend the shipping season, and perhaps even open a Northwest Passageway, though concerns of invasive species could arise.
Ironically, a large contributor to what is deemed as “global warming” is the travel industry, which uses huge amounts of energy in plane trips, providing heating and air conditioning in hotels, and in the upkeep of pools and other amenities, The Post noted.
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Travel and Leisure reported
companies within the travel industry have been looking into how to better use their energy.
Virgin Atlantic Chairman Richard Branson made an announcement looking into towing planes between gates and runways with engines off since jets burn more fuel on takeoff and landing than while in the air, and Travelocity and Expedia offer opportunities to balance carbon use of travel through companies that plant trees, build wind turbines, and contribute to solar power facilities.
The hope, however, is that with the growth of technology, travel will become more efficient and less costly — both economically and environmentally.
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