Mass loss from 2007 to 2017 due to melt-water and crumbling ice aligned almost perfectly with the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change’s (IPCC) most extreme forecasts, which see the two ice sheets adding up to 40 centimetres (nearly 16 inches) to global oceans by 2100, they reported in Nature Climate Change. Such an increase would have a devastating impact worldwide, increasing the destructive power of storm surges and exposing coastal regions home to hundreds of millions of people to repeated and severe flooding.
Between 1994 and 2017, an incredible 28 trillion tonnes (31 trillion tons) of ice was lost from the Earth’s ice sheets, glaciers, and mountains, according to a new report in the journal The Cryosphere. The extent of this worldwide melting has been described as “staggering” by the study authors, who warn that the ongoing loss of ice could lead to catastrophic rises in sea levels.
Researchers from University College London, Leeds University, and Edinburgh University studied satellite data in order to determine global changes in ice coverage over several decades. Speaking to The Guardian, study author Andrew Shepherd explained that “in the past researchers have studied individual areas – such as the Antarctic or Greenland – where ice is melting. But this is the first time anyone has looked at all the ice that is disappearing from the entire planet.”