Earth is losing ice faster today than in the mid-1990s, study suggests
- 25 January 2021
Earth’s ice is melting faster today than in the mid-1990s, new research suggests, as climate change nudges global temperatures ever higher, APA reports citing Reuters.
Altogether, an estimated 28 trillion metric tons of ice have melted away from the world’s sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers since the mid-1990s. Annually, the melt rate is now about 57 percent faster than it was three decades ago, scientists report in a study published Monday in the journal The Cryosphere.
“It was a surprise to see such a large increase in just 30 years,” said co-author Thomas Slater, a glaciologist at Leeds University in Britain.
While the situation is clear to those depending on mountain glaciers for drinking water, or relying on winter sea ice to protect coastal homes from storms, the world’s ice melt has begun to grab attention far from frozen regions, Slater noted.
Aside from being captivated by the beauty of polar regions, “people do recognize that, although the ice is far away, the effects of the melting will be felt by them,” he said.
The melting of land ice – on Antarctica, Greenland and mountain glaciers – added enough water to the ocean during the three-decade time period to raise the average global sea level by 3.5 centimeters. Ice loss from mountain glaciers accounted for 22 percent of the annual ice loss totals, which is noteworthy considering it accounts for only about 1 percent of all land ice atop land, Slater said.