Study Of 120 Years Of Data Shows Today’s Glacier Melt Unprecedented

By on August 6, 2015

Glaciers have been melting at unprecedented rates. (Credit: Simon Oberli)


Scientists at the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich have found that glaciers all over the world are melting at unprecedented rates, according to a recent University of Zurich press release. Although exact measurements are available for only a few hundred glaciers, the unusually high melt trend holds for thousands of glaciers globally.

Satellite, airborne, in-situ, written and pictorial records comparing 21st century glacier ice loss to the previous century show losses of a half meter to a meter each year of glacier ice, two to three times the loss of the prior century. And scientists found the past twenty years to be especially damaging in terms of ice loss.

Such ice losses have not been seen for such a time period and are likely to be unprecedented for all time. Researchers have noted that the severity of the ice loss is so great at this point due to climate change that it has reached a point of no return. Data suggest that, even if the global warming trend were halted, glacier ice melt would still continue at unprecedented rates.

Top image: Glaciers have been melting at unprecedented rates. (Credit: Simon Oberli)

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