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Home / Science / The ice that Earth's glaciers have lost weighs up to 27 billion tons

The ice that Earth's glaciers have lost weighs up to 27 billion tons



  The total ice loss in the world between 1961 and 2016.
The total ice loss in the world between 1
961 and 2016.

Image: European Space Agency / adapted by Zemp et al. (2019) Nature / Data by courtesy of World Glacier Monitoring Service

Nine trillion tons.

So much ice has been lost to Earth's glaciers in the 55 years between 1961 and 2016. An international team of scientists used satellite and direct field observations to conclude that Earth's glaciers have melted so much ice in the last half-century. They published their report Monday in the journal Nature .

Assuming an average weight of 735,000 pounds for a 747 passenger plane (not for the colossal Alaskan bear), that would mean about 27 billion 747s of ice during that period.

This large number also means that the planet loses an average of 335 billion tons of ice per year. (By comparison, there are 2 trillion pounds of ice in just 1 billion tons.)

"In other words, every year we lose about three times the total ice volume stored in the European Alps, around 30 percent of the current sea-level rise." said Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service of the University of Zurich and lead author of the study, in a statement.

The map developed by the European Space Agency below shows where this loss of ice occurred. Alaska leads the race with over 3019 gigatons of total loss or 816 million 747.

  The total ice loss of the world between 1961 and 2016.

The total loss of ice in the world between 1961 and 2016.

Image: EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / ADAPTED BY ZEMP ET AL. (2019) NATURE / DATA COURTESY OF WORLD GLACIER SURVEILLANCE SERVICE

The pronounced meltdown in Alaska is unsurprising. The Arctic is the fastest warming region on earth, warming two to three times faster than the rest of the world.

In total, more than 9 trillion tonnes of molten ice corresponds to sea level rise of just over one inch (27 millimeters) over the 55-year period.

But critically, it's not just melting glaciers that drive sea-level rise, which has raised sea levels by 9 inches along the east coast along the east coast in the last century. The ocean absorbs large amounts of heat and expands. In particular, the absorbing oceans absorb over 90 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, it is expected that the rate of the melt will continue to accelerate as the planet continues its accelerated warming – fueled by the highest levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide in millions of years.

Forecasts of sea-level rise by the end of the century are between two and three feet, though NASA scientists admit that this is almost certainly a "conservative estimate." In more extreme scenarios, the number could even be six feet by 2100.

There is only one region in the world, Southwest Asia, that has gained some ice mass since the 1960s. But his neighbor, Southeast Asia, lost a similar amount of ice and ruined those fleeting gains.

Overall, the picture is clear. Greenland is in hot water. Ice loss in the Antarctic is picking up speed. The huge Himalayan glaciers have a terrible future at best. And you do not have to be a scientist using sophisticated satellite technology to see what's going on on Earth.

Alaska's famous Mendenhall Glacier disappears before the eyes of the public. In 1850, there were an estimated 150 significant glaciers in today's Glacier National Park. Today, there are 26 glaciers big enough to be counted.

The reason for such a far-reaching planetary change is not the weather conditions, natural fluctuations, volcanoes or other factors that climate scientists have been considering for decades.

"These greenhouse gases," said NASA marine scientist Josh Willis, who has seen Greenland fusing in the sea, toward Mashable. "The basic physics of the warming planet has been known for more than a century." For more than a century, more than 25 years experience has been gained https% 3a% 2f% 2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws "src =" https://mondrian.mashable.com/uploads%252Fvideo_uploaders%252Fdistribution_thumb%252Fimage%252F85981% 252F120f5e1f-7646-4214-ac05-8e5ec6b6f03d.png?% 252Foriginal.png? Signature = Xh6iamCtwjA5xROqIR8HV1SKfZY = & source = https% 3A% 2F% 2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com "data-fragment =" m! 0011 "data -image = "https://mondrian.mashable.com/uploads%252Fvideo_uploaders%252Fdistribution_thumb%252Fimage%252F85981%252F120f5e1f-7646-4214-ac05-8e5ec6b6f03d.png%252Foriginal.png?signature=Xh6iamCtwjA5xROqIR8HV1SKfZY=&source=https%3A% 2F% 2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com "data-micro =" 1 "/>


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