Earth loses 1.2 trillion tons of ice each year

Earth loses 1.2 trillion tons of ice each year

New research shows that globally, ice is melting faster and more sea level rise is expected.

Global ice loss has increased rapidly over the past two decades, and scientists still do not have accurate data on how much sea level may rise due to glacier loss.

From the thin ice sheet covering much of the Arctic Ocean to the mile-thick mantle of polar ice sheets, ice loss has grown from 760 billion tons a year in the 1990s to more than 1.2 trillion tons a year in the 2010s. A new study released Monday shows that the increase has reached more than 60 percent, amounting to 28 trillion tons of melted ice. That means about 3 percent of all the extra energy held in the Earth’s system by climate change has gone into turning ice into water.

“That’s like more than 10,000 “Back to the Future” lightning strikes per second by melting ice around the clock since 1994. That’s just an insane amount of energy,” said William Colgan, an expert with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.

There is good reason to believe that the rate of ice melt will increase. A second NASA-supported study of the Greenland Ice Sheet found that at least 74 large glaciers terminating in deep, heated ocean waters are seriously weakening. Together, these two studies present an alarming picture.