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Glaciers are Melting on Double Speed in 20 Years

Glaciers are Melting on 2X Speed in Last Twenty Years

According to the detailed worldwide study of ice rivers ever undertaken, the melting of the glaciers of the world almost doubled in speed during the last twenty years and resulted in more sea-level rise than either the Antarctic ice sheets or Greenland. Scientists also say that the reason behind the accelerating loss of high-altitude glaciers is global heating that led by a human. It will affect coastal regions all over the Earth and create heavy flows of meltwater from glaciers for several individuals who live downstream of these natural towers of water.

Between the nineteen years from 2000 and 2019, glaciers lost around 267 gigatons of ice annually, equivalent to around twenty-one percent of sea-level rise, discloses a paper published in Nature. Furthermore, the authors said that the mass loss was corresponding to plunging the surface of the United Kingdom under two meters of water every year. It was forty-seven percent greater than twice that from the Antarctica ice sheet. As a reason for the rise of sea level, glacier loss was 2nd only to thermal increase, driven by higher ocean temperatures.

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The World’s Glaciers are Losing 267 Gigatons of Ice Yearly, Driving a 5th of Global Sea Level Rise

Glaciers are Melting on Double Speed in 20 Years
Glaciers are Melting on Double Speed in 20 Years
Source: Hugonnet et al.


The authors of the report found the thinning pace of the glacier outside of Antarctica and Greenland picking up from around a 3rd of meter per year in 2000 to two-thirds in the year 2019. In simple words, the ratio is equivalent to an acceleration of sixty-two gigatons yearly each decade.

Furthermore, the study uses the statistics of historical Nasa satellite and new statistical methods to make three-dimensional features going back twenty years and covering 99.9 percent of the glaciers of the world. So, the result is the most wide-ranging and accurate assessment of the world’s 175,217 glaciers to date. Experts said the accuracy of the statistics allowed them to be more specific than before that glacier loss is enormous and accelerating.

Past evaluations of mass loss were almost twenty percent more damaging, but those had an even bigger margin of error because they were either induced from ground measurements at some hundred reference glaciers and limited handling of satellite imagery or depends on the analysis of hydrometric signals, which have a coarse resolution.

The research found glaciers lost four percent on average of their volume over twenty years. However, the picture differs from region to region across time. Alaska reported twenty-five percent of the worldwide mass loss, the Greenland margin twelve percent, and south and north Canada tech percent. In addition, the Himalayas and other areas of high-mountain Asia lost eight percent, as did the subantarctic regions and the southern Andes.

Lower, smaller glaciers didn’t contribute as much in volume, but they were the most susceptible to change. The thinning of glaciers of New Zealand increased seven-fold between 2000-2004 and 2015-2019. Whereas thinning rates in the European Alps were double the worldwide average.