Source: Reuters news article (25th Jan. 2021) – Earth’s ice is melting faster today than in the mid-1990s, new research suggests, as climate change nudges global temperatures and sea-level’s ever higher.
Altogether, an estimated 28 trillion metric tons of ice have melted away from the world’s sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers since the mid-1990s. Annually, the melt rate is now about 57 % faster than it was 30 years ago, scientists report in a study published Monday in the journal The Cryosphere.
“It was a surprise to see such a large increase in just 30 years,” said co-author Thomas Slater, a glaciologist at Leeds University in the UK.
The melting of land ice – on Antarctica, Greenland and mountain glaciers – added enough water to the ocean during the three-decade time period to raise the average global sea level by 3.5 centimeter’s (1.38 inches). Ice loss from mountain glaciers accounted for 22 % of the annual ice loss totals, which is alarming considering it accounts for only about 1 % of ice atop land, Slater said.
Across the Arctic, sea ice is also shrinking to new summertime lows. Last year saw the second-lowest sea ice extent in more than 40 years of satellite monitoring. As sea ice vanishes, it exposes dark water that absorbs solar radiation, rather than reflecting it back out into space. This phenomenon known as Arctic amplification, boosts regional temperatures even higher.
The global atmospheric temperature has risen by about 1.1 degrees Celsius (33 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. But in the Arctic, the warming rate has been more than twice the global average in the last 30 years.
Using 1994–2017 satellite data, site measurements and some computer simulations, the team of British scientists calculated that the world was losing an average of 0.8 trillion metric tons of ice per year in the 1990s, but about 1.2 trillion metric tons annually in recent years.
So if you are considering purchasing that dream coastal property to retire to (whether it be beach-front or cliff top) – this research should give you pause to think ahead and consider the escalating effects of climate change and sea-level rise on the future insurability and value of that intended dream property. Call Geohazard Assessment Services for a property appraisal before you buy – ‘know the ground beneath your feet’.