Friday, January 02, 2015

Another year and glaciers are another metre thinner

Dec. 31, 2014

The world's glaciers act like frozen water towers, storing snowfall in winter before releasing meltwater in the summer. This water flows downstream to thirsty cities such as La Paz in Bolivia. Since 1980, the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) reports every other year on how a sample of worldwide glaciers are doing. They report the "annual mass balance", which tells you how much ice the glaciers have gained or lost each year, and the latest values have just been released.

Over the last 2 years, the glaciers measured lost almost a metre of thickness each year, bringing the total since 1980 to over 19 metres [62 feet].

2013/2014 falls into 5th place for loss rate, but it continues the accelerated trend. Since 2000, ice loss has been about 100% faster than it was between 1980-2000. This fits with results of a scientific study by Marzeion et al. (2014) that reported that most of the recent glacier loss is due to human-caused global warming.


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