A staggering 28 trillion tonnes of ice has vanished from the face of the earth in less than 28 years, a group of United Kingdom-based scientists has said.
To come to the conclusion, the scientists analyzed satellite data of ice sources found across the planet – in glaciers, mountains, poles, and measure the amount of ice lost from the surface as a result of global warming and human-induced climate change.
According to the scientists, based out of Leeds and Edinburgh universities, the ‘staggering’ loss of ice from the earth will seriously impart the planet’s natural mechanism to reflect back the solar radiation into space.
They have also warned about an impending rise of sea level caused by the humongous volume of ice-melt, which will cause the waters to rise by a meter by the fall of the century.
“To put that in context, every centimeter of sea-level rise means about a million people will be displaced from their low-lying homelands,” director of Leeds University’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, Professor Andy Shepherd told The Guardian.
The research is pioneering in the sense other studies in the past recorded ice-cover in a specific area, and in comparison “this is the first time anyone has looked at all the ice that is disappearing from the entire planet,” Professor Andy Shepherd said, adding: “What we have found has stunned us.”
Furthermore, the dreadful loss of ice revealed by the scientists is in tandem with the prediction made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Andy Shepherd said.
Area of ice covered by the researchers included – glaciers in Asia, South America, Canada, and other regions; Antarctica and Arctic sea ice; Greenland and Antarctic ground ice; ice shelves that protrude from the Antarctic mainland into the sea from 1994 to 2017.
“The majority of all ice losses from were driven by atmospheric melting (68 % from Arctic sea ice, mountain glaciers ice shelf calving and ice sheet surface mass balance), with the remaining losses (32 % from ice sheet discharge and ice shelf thinning) being driven by oceanic melting,” the researchers cited in the journal The Cryosphere.
The researchers stated that all the ice loss is not a contributor to the rising sea level. 54% of the ice lost in the stipulated period was sea ice and ice shelves. “These float on water and their melting would not have contributed to sea level rises,” said Leeds University researcher Isobel Lawrence.
The study that measured the outcomes of three decades is a resounding alarm that he bane of climate change is real and it is all-pervading.
According to last week’s report by Met Office, there has been an average spurt of a maximum of 0.2C a decade measured from 1980 and is expected to rise by 0.3C a decade.