Scientists have warned that global levels of ice melt reach the worst-case scenarios for climate change, with groundbreaking new research indicating the situation is getting worse. While the impact of rising atmospheric temperatures is widespread, its contribution to melting glaciers around the world is arguably the biggest concern, given the potential for dramatically rising sea levels.
In fact, tracking these changes in ice melt has been practical on a large scale recently. That’s when the increase in the number of satellites – and the more affordable satellite images – made viewing a constantly panoramic view more likely.
That’s what a team led by the University of Leeds, along with the University of Edinburgh, University College London, and Earthwave data science professionals have benefited. It was described as the first study of its kind to examine all of the ice loss around Earth, using satellite observations for its data source, and came to a grim conclusion. The results were published in the journalCryosphere“This month.
“Although every region we studied lost ice, losses from ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland have accelerated the most,” said Dr. Thomas Slater, research fellow at the Leeds Center for Observing and Polar Modeling and lead author of the study. Says. “Ice sheets are now following the worst warming scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sea level rise at this scale will have very serious impacts on coastal communities this century.”
The research focused on 215,000 mountain glaciers, along with the polar ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, and ice shelves floating around Antarctica. It also included the drift of sea ice in the Arctic and the Southern Ocean.
Researchers found that the Earth lost more than 30 trillion tons of ice between 1994 and 2017. Arguably the most dangerous thing is that the rate of loss has risen over the past 30 years. The rate of melting was 1.65 times faster in 2017 than the average in the 1990s.
In 23 years of data covered by the study, Arctic sea ice has melt equal to 8.4 trillion tons, while Antarctic ice shelves saw 7.2 trillion tons of ice lost.
In addition to complexity, different types of ice melt have different impacts on the planet. Sea ice, for example, is not necessarily related to direct changes in sea level. However, it could reduce the amount of solar radiation reflected back into space, and thus contribute to the warming Arctic temperatures. This makes glaciers and melting ice run faster.
Back in September 2020, a study led by NASA warned that uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions could lead to more than 15 inches rise in sea levels by the year 2100. This would lead to dramatic flooding in coastal areas, in addition to shortages. Possibly in fresh water.