Melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise at ever greater rates

Melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise at ever greater rates
Melting glaciers in Russia's Arctic territory. This image shows the blue glaciers on the reddish-brown Franz Josef Land archipelago. The glaciers (blue) are covered with little or no snow (white), which is a clear indicator of significant loss of mass. Credit: Copernicus Sentinel data 2017

Melting ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic as well as ice melt from glaciers all over the world are causing sea levels to rise. Glaciers alone have lost more than 9 trillion tons of ice since 1961, raising water levels by 27 millimeters, an international research team under the lead of the University of Zurich has now found.

Glaciers have lost more than 9 trillion tons (that is 9,625,000,000,000 tons) of ice between 1961 and 2016, which has resulted in global sea levels rising by 27 millimeters in this period. The largest contributors were in Alaska, followed by the melting ice fields in Patagonia and glaciers in the Arctic regions. Glaciers in the European Alps, the Caucasus and New Zealand were also subject to significant ice loss; however, due to their relatively small glacierized areas, they played only a minor role when it comes to the rising global sea levels.

Combination of field observations and satellite measurements

For the new study, the international research team combined glaciological field observations with geodetic . The latter digitally measure the surface of the Earth, providing data on ice thickness changes at different points in time. The researchers were thus able to reconstruct changes in the ice thickness of more than 19,000 glaciers worldwide.

The researchers used a comprehensive database compiled by the World Glacier Monitoring Service maintained by a worldwide network of observers. The researchers combined this data with their own satellite analyses. "By combining these two measurement methods and having the new comprehensive dataset, we can estimate how much ice has been lost each year in all mountain regions since the 1960s," explains Michael Zemp, who led the study. "The glaciological measurements made in the field provide the annual fluctuations, while the satellite data allows us to determine overall ice loss over several years or decades."

Melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise at ever greater rates
Regional share of glaciers in sea-level rise from 1961 to 2016. Credit: Zemp

335 billion tons of ice lost each year

The global mass loss of glacier ice has increased significantly in the last 30 years, and currently amounts to 335 billion tons of lost ice each year. This corresponds to an increase in sea levels of almost one millimeter per year. "Globally, we lose about three times the ice volume stored in the entirety of the European Alps—every single year," says glaciologist Zemp. The melted ice of glaciers therefore accounts for 25 to 30 percent of the current increase in global sea levels. This ice loss of all glaciers roughly corresponds to the mass loss of Greenland's , and clearly exceeds that of the Antarctic.


Explore further

Ice volume calculated anew

More information: Global glacier mass changes and their contributions to sea-level rise from 1961 to 2016, Nature DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1071-0 , https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1071-0
Journal information: Nature

Citation: Melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise at ever greater rates (2019, April 8) retrieved 24 April 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-glaciers-sea-greater.html
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Apr 08, 2019
Man they don't stop with this nonsense.

Apr 08, 2019
Oh the humanity !!!! That works out to 2 inches in 100 years. WOW in 10,000 years we will all be doing that backstroke. This just proves that there is WAY too much funding out there.

Apr 08, 2019
Stipulating that the facts here are true ...

... and without jumping to the conclusion that the rise in CO2 level is causing it all by itself ...

... why is this alarming? We are in the 12,000th year of a melt, AKA the Holocene interglacial. It is normal for ice to melt in an interglacial.

Yes, man-release GHG may be either a) accelerating the melt; or b) delaying the onset of the next glaciation. We might wish someday the melt was more, or lasted longer -- when ice 2 miles thick covers Chicago.

Apr 08, 2019
I am willing to bet that the 27mm/50year figure is a power of 10 error made by one of their scientifically illiterate journalism students. The seas are rising about 3 mm/year or so and I would expect the majority of the rise is due to melting and not sea temperature increases.

Apr 08, 2019
I would expect the majority of the rise is due to melting and not sea temperature increases.


Really? Where have you written this up?

Apr 08, 2019
Gosh I wish there was something we could do about all this. If its real that is.

Uh oh fidel is reporting me again sob snore

Apr 08, 2019
We need an AGW Cult BULLSHIT tax. All the heat from it is melting the glaciers.

Apr 08, 2019
We need an AGW Cult BULLSHIT tax. All the heat from it is melting the glaciers.


The only BS I'm seeing is from uneducated clowns like you.

Apr 08, 2019
Maybe we should try this

"An opinion article authored by Joshua S. Goldstein, Staffan A. Qvist and Steven Pinker was published in yesterday's New York Times titled "Nuclear Power Can Save the World".
https://www.nytim...wer.html

"The authors argue that in the quest for carbon-free energy, only nuclear power has the ability to deliver the quantities of clean energy needed by a world increasingly energy-hungry. They state that it is "fantasy" to think that renewables — wind and solar — can do the job as they require fossil fuel backups since battery technology is not sufficient for energy storage."

-Might work.

Apr 08, 2019
So Alaska was HOTTER during the 1920s -- https://www.john-...ska2.jpg
A 600 year reconstruction of temperature for Chile, shows AGW is afraid of that country -- http://www.co2sci...c/a3.php
A recent study shows Greenland glacier growing.

Yet manmade GloBULL warming is responsible for melting the glaciers.

Apr 08, 2019
So Alaska was HOTTER during the 1920s -- https://www.john-...ska2.jpg


Apparently not;

https://www.clima...e-action

Apr 08, 2019
LMAO.
Only Chicken Little and his AGW Cult believe Barrow is Alaska. That's why they cooked the data.
https://notricksz...aw-data/

Apr 08, 2019
So heres some good news

"Sunshine today, snow tomorrow: A winter storm is expected to hit Utah on Tuesday"

-Yay! Catastrophe averted! And all it took as a few electric cars and some solar panels.

That was easy.

Apr 08, 2019
LMAO.
Only Chicken Little and his AGW Cult believe Barrow is Alaska. That's why they cooked the data.
https://notricksz...aw-data/


Not interested in crank websites. Link me to his paper on this.

Apr 08, 2019
Yup Castro it is all about the agenda isn't it. Destroyed historical data means absolutely nothing to you does it.

Apr 08, 2019
Yup Castro it is all about the agenda isn't it. Destroyed historical data means absolutely nothing to you does it.


Some unqualified denialist crank claiming such things have happened, without having the cojones to write up his data for scientists to refute, is just a big mouthed coward, as far as I'm concerned. Who is this idiot, anyway?

Apr 09, 2019
Hey Jones, when did Miami go underwater? you arrogant buffoon.

Apr 09, 2019
''write up his data for scientists to refute, is just a big mouthed coward,''

Catch-22s often result from rules, regulations, or procedures that an individual is subject to, but has no control over, because to fight the rule is to accept it. Another example is a situation in which someone is in need of something that can only be had by not being in need of it (e.g, a bank will never issue someone a loan if they need the money). One connotation of the term is that the creators of the "catch-22" situation have created arbitrary rules in order to justify and conceal their own abuse of power.

Apr 09, 2019
noah ! save us from the flood !

https://m.phys.org/news/2018-02-pacific-nation-bigger.html?fbclid=IwAR0XA8bcpNhosf577Wmz5RRNAq-0Ln_cOwRHdTBiGII8uW4_R7_Ug9gzj1Y

Apr 09, 2019
Hey Jones, when did Miami go underwater? you arrogant buffoon.


What's that crap supposed to mean? There really are some idiots on this site.

Apr 11, 2019
On the one hand we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but& which means that we must include all the doubts, caveats, ifs and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists, but human beings as well. And like most people, we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we have to get some broad-based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This double ethical bind which we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

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