According to unprecedented research released Wednesday, almost all of the world’s Near Glaciers are losing mass at an ever-increasing rate and contributing to one-fifth of the world’s levels in this century.
Glaciers – vast bodies of frozen water that lie above the ground – have been melting rapidly since the mid-20th century, but so far the extent of ice damage has only been partially understood.
For the first time, an international team of researchers has observed about 220,000 glaciers on Earth, excluding the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, to accurately estimate the amount and rate of melting over the past two decades.
Analyzing images taken by NASA’s Terra satellite, they found that between 2000-2019, the world’s glaciers ate an average of 267 billion tons of ice each year. There is enough water to submerge Switzerland six meters (20 feet) – every year.
But the team also found that glacier melting rates have risen sharply over the same period. Between 2000 and 2004, glaciers lost 227 billion tons of ice annually. But between 2015-2019, they lost an average of 298 billion tons each year.
Researchers say that this melting of ice has helped to increase sea level by 21% during the study period. That’s 0.74 millimeters a year. The study, published in the journal Nature, found that the fastest melting glaciers were in Alaska and the Alps.
The authors also expressed concern about the retreat from the Pamir Mountains, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayan mountain glaciers, which provide water to more than 1.5 billion people. “During the dry season, melting glacial water is an important source that feeds major waterways such as the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Indus.”
“Right now, it acts as a buffer for people living in this growing melting region, but if the Himalayan glaciers are shrinking, populated countries like India and Bangladesh will face water or food shortages in a few decades.” Can. ” The authors also explored areas where melting rates in Iceland and Scandinavia on the east coast of Greenland actually decreased between 2000-2019.