The loss of ice on the Earth has surprisingly accelerated, scientists warn

2021 - 01 - 25

The melting of ice has accelerated due to climate change. A recent scientific study indicates that ice is globally declining at an annual rate 57 percent higher than in the mid-1990s. According to the authors of the research, the results of which were published in the scientific journal The Cryosphere, this rate of acceleration is surprising.

The scientists state that the change is especially visible in areas where potable water comes from mountain glaciers or where the ice layer on the sea protects shore dwellings against winter storms.

In three decades, ocean levels have risen by 3.5 cm on average due to the melting of terrestrial ice in the Antarctic, Greenland and from mountain glaciers. A total of 22 percent of the annual volume loss comes from mountain glaciers, which represent only one percent of the volume of the ice layer on the surface of the Earth.

The decline of ice is also apparent in the Arctic, where sea ice is melting in the summer at an unprecedently alarming rate. During satellite observations in the Arctic last year, scientists recorded the second smallest ice surface in the last 40 years. The disappearance of glaciers is also further hastening the warming of the area. As the uncovered sea surface is dark, it absorbs more sun rays than ice, which reflects them. While the average temperature compared to the pre-industrial era has globally increased on average by 1.1 °C, warming in the Arctic is roughly double this average.

Based on satellite observations, local measurements and models, British scientists calculated that in the 1990s approximately 0.8 billion tons of ice were lost globally, a figure that has grown in recent years to 1.2 billion tons.

“The melting of glaciers is one of the most visible manifestations of climate change. In many areas of the world, glaciers are the main source of drinking water and are behind the formation of the sources of many important rivers. The accelerated deterioration of the condition of the world’s most important glaciers further increases the importance of climate protection and the need for the timely introduction of a carbon-free economy,” said Dalibor Dostal, director of the European Wildlife conservation organization.

Photo: Sergio Cerrato / Pixabay

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