THIS Sept 2017 photo provided by researcher Brian Menounos shows a glacier in British Columbia, Canada. The Klinaklini glacier and the adjacent ice field have lost 16 billion tons of snow and ice since 2000 — 10.7 billion tons of that since 2010, according to a study.—AP
THIS Sept 2017 photo provided by researcher Brian Menounos shows a glacier in British Columbia, Canada. The Klinaklini glacier and the adjacent ice field have lost 16 billion tons of snow and ice since 2000 — 10.7 billion tons of that since 2010, according to a study.—AP

PARIS: Nearly all of the world’s glaciers are losing mass at an ever increasing pace, contributing to more than a fifth of global sea level rise this century, according to unprecedented research released on Wednesday.

Glaciers — vast bodies of frozen water that sit above ground — have been melting fast since the middle of the 20th century, but until now the full extent of ice loss had only been partially understood.

An international team of researchers has for the first time observed all of Earth’s some 220,000 glaciers, excluding the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, to properly evaluate the amount and rate of melt over the past two decades.

Analysing images taken by Nasa’s Terra satellite, they found that between 2000-2019, the world’s glaciers lost an average of 267 billion tonnes of ice each year.

That’s enough water to submerge Switzerland under six metres (20 feet) of water — every single year.

But the team also found that the rate of glacier melt had accelerated sharply during the same period.

Between 2000 and 2004, glaciers lost 227 billion tonnes of ice per year. But between 2015-2019, they lost an average of 298 billion tonnes each year.

This glacial melt has contributed to 21 percent of sea level rises in the study period, the researchers said — equivalent to 0.74 millimetres a year.

The study, published in the journal Nature, found that the fastest-melting glaciers were situated in Alaska and the Alps.

The authors also expressed concern about the retreating mountain glaciers in the Pamir Mountains, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas, which provide water for more than 1.5 billion people.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

No end to hostility
Updated 17 Aug, 2022

No end to hostility

It is time for all parties to rise above petty tactics and hostilities for political gains and pull country back from brink.
Deadly accidents
17 Aug, 2022

Deadly accidents

TWO horrific accidents on Tuesday, which resulted in high death tolls, illustrate the dangers people face while ...
New banknote
17 Aug, 2022

New banknote

PAKISTAN has a new currency note to mark the diamond jubilee of independence. The 75-rupee banknote, issued by the...
Shared goals
Updated 16 Aug, 2022

Shared goals

It is high time that all parties realise that negotiation on the economy does not need to be held hostage to political rivalries.
Making amends?
16 Aug, 2022

Making amends?

WHERE relations with the US are concerned, there has been a distinct shift in Imran Khan’s tone. While the PTI...
Hazardous celebration
16 Aug, 2022

Hazardous celebration

CAN celebratory actions that often result in death or lifelong injuries really be described as such? Be it Eid, New...