The rate at which ice on the planet is disappearing is increasing, according to new research. The results also show that the Earth lost 28 trillion tons of ice between 1994 and 2017. This is the equivalent of a 100 m thick layer of ice covering the entire UK.
The new global ice loss data was released today, January 25, by the research group that was the first to survey global ice loss using satellite data. A team led by the University of Leeds found that the rate of ice loss from Earth has increased markedly over the past three decades, from 0.8 trillion tons per year in the 1990s to 1.3 trillion tons per year by 2017. …
Melting ice worldwide is raising sea levels, increasing the risk of flooding for coastal communities, and threatening to destroy natural habitats on which wildlife depends.
The findings of the research team, which includes the University of Edinburgh, University College London and scientists from the Earthwave project, are published in the European Union Earth Sciences journal The Cryosphere.
The study, funded by the British Environmental Research Council, shows that overall, there was a 65% increase in ice melting rate over the 23 years of the study. This was mainly due to a sharp decrease in the polar ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland.
“The ice sheets are now following the worst-case climate change scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Rising sea levels on this scale will have a very serious impact on coastal communities this century, ”said study lead author Dr. Thomas Slater, Research Fellow at the Center for Polar Observation and Modeling in Leeds.
Dr. Slater added that the study was the first of its kind to study all of Earth’s disappearing ice using satellite observations.
The increase in ice loss was caused by warming of the atmosphere and oceans.
The study covers 215,000 mountain glaciers scattered across the planet, including the polar ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, ice shelves floating around Antarctica, and drifting sea ice in the Arctic and Southern Oceans. Just over half (58%) of ice loss occurred in the northern hemisphere, while the remainder (42%) was in the southern hemisphere.