Study: Human actions strongest driver of melting glaciers

By on August 25, 2014

A glacier in Prince William Sound (Credit: Maureen, via Flickr)

Scientists at the University of Innsbruck in Austria have found that glacier melting driven by human activity has increased in the past two decades, according to The Guardian. This outpaces much of the melt that occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries.

To make the connection, researchers reconstructed glaciers that existed in the mid 1800s. They kept changes in solar activity and volcanic eruptions constant and then built models incorporating land-use changes and greenhouse gas emissions.

Between 1851 and 2010, researchers found that about a quarter of the mass lost by glaciers was caused by climate change. During the last two decades, however, human-caused climatic shifts have contributed two-thirds more to the ice loss.

Full results of the study are published in the journal Science.

Image: A glacier in Prince William Sound (Credit: Maureen, via Flickr)


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