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

Afghan puzzle
Updated 28 May, 2024

Afghan puzzle

Unless these elements are neutralised, it will not be possible to have the upper hand over terrorist groups.
Attacking minorities
28 May, 2024

Attacking minorities

WHILE Pakistan has watched many perish in the cauldron of sacrilege, the state has done little to turn down the...
Persistent scourge
28 May, 2024

Persistent scourge

THE challenge of polio in Pakistan has reached a new nadir, drawing grave concerns from the Technical Advisory Group...
Mercury rising
Updated 27 May, 2024

Mercury rising

Each of the country's leaders is equally responsible for the deep pit Pakistan seems to have fallen into.
Antibiotic overuse
27 May, 2024

Antibiotic overuse

ANTIMICROBIAL resistance is an escalating crisis claiming some 700,000 lives annually in Pakistan. It is the third...
World Cup team
27 May, 2024

World Cup team

PAKISTAN waited until the very end to name their T20 World Cup squad. Even then, there was last-minute drama. Four...