Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Glaciers are melting faster

Glaciers in the Americas Are Melting Faster

By Chelsea Harvey, E&E News on January 18, 2019


Glaciers in the snowy mountains of western Canada are melting faster than they were a decade ago, according to scientists.

New research suggests that ice loss in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia is happening at nearly five times the rate it was in the early 2000s.

Overall, glaciers in western North America—not including Alaska—have lost about 117 billion tons of ice since 2000; they are currently losing about 12 billion tons a year.


The vast ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica get the most global attention when it comes to melting glaciers, largely because of their immense potential to contribute to sea-level rise. Greenland is currently the biggest loser, pouring nearly 300 billion tons of ice into the ocean each year, by recent estimates. But Antarctica is a rising concern—research published this week finds that the Antarctic ice sheet is losing about 250 billion tons of ice annually, and the melt rate seems to be accelerating (Climatewire, Jan. 15).

Still, Greenland and Antarctica aren’t the only important frozen places on Earth. Glaciers exist in many regions, from the Americas to the Swiss Alps to the Himalayas. Scientists are finding that many of these glaciers are also melting and retreating, likely in response to rising temperatures.

And while most of them aren’t likely to make much of a dent in global sea-level rise—in part because many mountain glaciers don’t empty into the oceans—these losses are still important. Many are a critical source of fresh water, helping to feed the streams and rivers that wildlife and human communities depend on.

As the glaciers shrink, experts worry that these water supplies could begin to dry up. So keeping close tabs on melt rates, and the factors that influence them, can help communities plan for the future.


Greenland’s ice is melting four times faster than thought—what it means

By Stephen Leahy
PUBLISHED January 21, 2019


Greenland, the world’s biggest island, appears to have hit a tipping point around 2002-2003 when the ice loss rapidly accelerated, said lead author Michael Bevis, a geoscientist at Ohio State University. By 2012 the annual ice loss was “unprecedented” at nearly four times the rate in 2003, Bevis said in an interview.


By Chris Ciaccia | Fox News
Jan. 15, 2019

An alarming new study shows that ice in Antarctica is melting more than six times faster than it did in the 1980s, including areas that were thought to be relatively stable and resistant to change.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that Antarctic ice melting between 1979 to 2017 raised global sea levels more than 1.4 centimeters and the ice loss is accelerating dramatically — a key indicator of human-caused climate change.


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