Glacier melt has accelerated since 2000, study finds

Paris, Apr 28 (EFE).- The world’s glaciers are melting at a record pace due to global warming and the Earth has lost an average of 267 billion tons of ice a year since 2000, according to a study appearing in Nature magazine.

The annual rate of ice loss increased from 227 billion tons in 2000-2004 to 298 billion during the 2015-2019 period, an international team led by scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) Laboratory for the Study of Space Geophysics and Oceanography found.

The conclusions derive from the first complete, precise mapping of the evolution of the thickness and mass of all the world’s glaciers, CNRS said.

Glaciers located in the Alps, Iceland and Alaska have been melting at the fastest pace since 2000, while the pace of melting slowed in Scandinavia, Iceland and the east coast of Greenland during the interval from 2010 to 2019.

“This local deceleration could be due to a meteorological anomaly that caused an increase in rainfall and a drop in temperatures, slowing down the loss of ice,” the researchers said.

“Regional variability in mass loss is largely determined by changes in precipitation. On the contrary, the global acceleration of the loss of mass of the glaciers is the result of the increase of the temperatures,” they said.

The scientists carried out the research based on 500,000 images captured by NASA’s Earth Observing System satellites, which allowed them to create a series of digital models of glacier heights.

These new observations should make it possible to more accurately predict the evolution of glaciers and in turn, contribute to better planning in mountainous regions where glacier runoff is an important source of water, the experts said. EFE


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