From Antarctica to the Arctic, the world’s ice is melting faster than ever, according to a new global satellite survey that calculated the amount of ice lost from a generation of higher temperatures.
The survey showed that the Earth lost 28 trillion metric tons of ice between 1994 and 2017. The scientists said this amount is roughly equivalent to a 100-meter-thick ice sheet covering the state of Michigan or the entire United Kingdom – and the meltwater from much of the ice loss raised the level. The sea surface is just over an inch or so worldwide.
“It’s a huge amount that is hard to imagine,” said Thomas Slater, a research fellow at the Center for Polar Observation and Modeling at the University of Leeds, UK and lead author of a paper describing the new research. “Snow plays a critical role in regulating global climate, and losses will increase the frequency of extreme weather events such as floods, fires, storm surges and heat waves.”
The paper was published on Monday in the European Geophysical Union journal Cryosphere.
Adding up Loss from glaciers, ice shelves, polar ice caps, and sea iceDr. Slater and his colleagues determined that the global melt rate has accelerated by 65% since the 1990s.