Study Reveals Earth’s Shocking Ice Imbalance, Prodigious Ice Loss over Past Years
The planet is rapidly warming up and changing climatic patterns are not making anything easier. The Impacts of global warming are distressing and quite irreversible. Not entirely unforeseen, the unprecedented melting of ice sheets and glaciers is one of the most drastic outcomes of climate change. Recently a study has revealed earth’s shocking ice imbalance exhibiting a prodigious ice loss of 28 trillion tons in the past 23 years.
Published in the journal The Cryosphere, the study states that the world has lost a shocking 28 trillion tons of ice between 1994 and 2017. The study was led by a team of scientists from the University of Leeds, UK. The researcher examined about 215,000 mountain glaciers on the earth, along with the polar ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, the ice shelves of Antarctica, and the drifting sea ice of the Arctic and Southern Oceans.
A first-of-its-kind, study surveyed the global ice loss with the help of satellite data, revealing that the amount lost is equivalent to a 100 meters thick ice sheet covering the entire United Kingdom.
Through the study, the scientists have warned that the rate of ice loss is gaining momentum across the globe, especially over the past three decades. In the 1990s, the ice loss was recorded at 0.8 trillion tons per year, while it increased to 1.3 trillion tons by 2017. Imagine, one trillion tons of ice being equivalent to a cube of ice larger than Mount Everest – it is unnerving.
The data comparison of the past 23 years estimates that there has been a 65 percent increase in the rate of ice loss with noticeable changes witnessed in certain regions such as Antarctica and Greenland.
Thomas Slater, the lead author of the study said,
Although every region we studied lost ice, losses from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets have accelerated the most. The ice sheets are now following the worst-case climate warming scenarios set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sea-level rise on this scale will have very serious impacts on coastal communities this century.
The study highlights that almost half of all losses were accounted for ice present on the land. The estimated ice loss on land in 24 years is maximum on mountain glaciers at 6.1 trillion tons, followed by Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets at 3.8 trillion tons and 2.5 trillion tons, respectively. Moreover, a total loss of 7.6 trillion tons of Arctic sea ice and 6.5 trillion tons of Antarctic ice shelves is estimated in the study.
An official statement from the European Space Agency said that this drastic increase in the ice loss is primarily because of the increasing temperature on land and oceans. Since 1980, both atmospheric and oceanic temperatures have risen by 0.26 degrees Celsius and 0.12 degrees Celsius per decade, respectively.
Combined, this loss is estimated to have increased the global sea levels by 35 millimeters. Even a centimeter of sea-level rise can catastrophically impact the millions of people living in the low-lying regions of the world. Unless the rising temperatures of the planet are halted, billions of living beings are doomed, and the rest would be living on a scorching hotbed.