This information is truly astounding…and very alarming. A team of scientists recently published a report that states that between 1961 and 2016, the Earth‘s glaciers lost 9 trillion metric tons of ice.
That’s the equivalent of 27 billion 747 airplanes (each weighs 735,000 pounds). That means that the Earth is losing 335 billion metric tons of ice per year.
Michael Zemp, the lead author of the study, said, “Every single year we are losing about three times the volume of all ice stored in the European Alps, and this accounts for around 30 percent of the current rate of sea-level rise.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Alaska has lost the most ice in its glaciers during the period of the study. The Arctic is warming two to three times faster than the rest of the planet.
The melting of the 9 million metric tons of ice over the 55-year period led to a sea level rise of 27 millimeters, or just over an inch. The ocean is also absorbing heat and expanding – in fact, oceanic waters absorb up to 90% of the heat that is trapped by greenhouse gas emissions. And the pace of ice melting around the world is supposed to accelerate due to global warming.
It is believed that by the year 2100, sea levels might rise by as much as 2 to 3 feet, or possibly even up to 6 feet. And the melting so far is very clear – in 1950, Glacier National Park in Alaska had 150 noticeable glaciers. Today, only 26 are large enough to be counted.
Here’s a time-lapse video of Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska that depicts the loss of ice from 2007-2014.
Scary stuff, indeed…