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Global ice loss acceleration

Global ice loss acceleration 26 January 2021

Global ice loss accelerating at record rate, study finds.

 Fiona Harvey via The Guardian

Rate of loss now in line with worst–case scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The melting of ice across the planet is accelerating at a record rate, with the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets speeding up the fastest, research has found.

The rate of loss is now in line with the worst–case scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading authority on the climate, according to a paper published on Monday in the journal The Cryosphere.

Thomas Slater, lead author and research fellow at the centre for polar observation and modelling at the University of Leeds, warned that the consequences would be felt around the world. “Sea level rise on this scale will have very serious impacts on coastal communities this century,” he said.

About 28tn tonnes of ice was lost between 1994 and 2017, which the authors of the paper calculate would be enough to put an ice sheet 100 metres thick across the UK. About two thirds of the ice loss was caused by the warming of the atmosphere, with about a third caused by the warming of the seas.

Over the period studied, the rate of ice loss accelerated by 57%, the paper found, from 0.8tn tonnes a year in the 1990s to 1.2tn tonnes a year by 2017. About half of all the ice lost was from land, which contributes directly to global sea level rises. The ice loss over the study period, from 1994 to 2017, is estimated to have raised sea levels by 35 millimetres.

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