Glaciers are melting faster, losing 31% more snow and ice per year than they did 15 years earlier, according to three-dimensional satellite measurements of all the world’s mountain glaciers.
Scientists blame human-caused climate change.
Using 20 years of recently declassified satellite data, scientists calculated that the world’s 220,000 mountain glaciers are losing more than 328 billion tons (298 billion metric tons) of ice and snow per year since 2015, according to a study in Wednesday’s journal Nature. That’s enough melt flowing into the world’s rising oceans to put Switzerland under almost 24 feet (7.2 meters) of water each year.
The annual melt rate from 2015 to 2019 is 78 billion more tons (71 billion metric tons) a year than it was from 2000 to 2004. Global thinning rates, different than volume of water lost, doubled in the last 20 years and “that’s enormous,” said Romain Hugonnet, a glaciologist at ETH Zurich and the University of Toulouse in France who led the study.
— Read on www.pbs.org/newshour/science/glaciers-are-melting-faster-than-they-did-15-years-ago-study-shows
As rising global temperatures continue to melt the ice in Antarctica, scientists predict that we’ll face serious problems in the coming decades — from rising sea levels to devastating storms to temperatures rising even faster because there’s less ice to reflect heat.
Now, it turns out all those problems could be even worse than scientists predicted, according to research published in the journal Climate Dynamics. Existing models tended to predict ice melt based on average conditions over time, but accounting for fluctuating extremes paints a far more dire picture.
Climate models need to represent how chaotic weather patterns can be, study author and Penn State climate researcher Chris Forest argued in a press release. Accounting for those fluctuations, Forest’s work shows that the Antarctic ice sheet could retreat 20 years sooner than expected.
Factoring that in, the melting ice could raise the sea level by an additional 2.7 to 4.3 inches on top of the 10.6 to 14.9 inches that simpler models predict by the year 2100.
“We know ice sheets are melting as global temperatures increase, but uncertainties remain about how much and how fast that will happen,” Forest said in the release.