Greenland and Antarctica, the two greatest stores of frozen water on the planet, are now losing polar ice at a rate at least six times faster than they were at the close of the last century. The fact that polar ice is melting ever faster has been clear for a decade, but the latest research is authoritative. To establish the rate of loss, 89 polar scientists from 50 of the world’s great research institutions looked at data from 26 separate surveys between 1992 and 2018, along with information from 11 different satellite missions. And the finding is in line with the worst-case scenarios considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). If this rate of increase continues, sea levels at the close of this century will be at least 17 centimetres higher than the gloomiest official forecasts so far. Between 1992 and 2017, the global sea level rose by 17.8 millimetres, as 6.4 trillion tonnes of polar ice turned to water and trickled into the oceans – 10.6 mm from Greenland and 7.2 mm from Antarctica. In the last decade of the last century, the northern and southern icecaps dwindled at the rate of 81 billion tonnes a year. In the last decade, this had risen to 475 billion tonnes a year. This means that a third of all sea level rise is now caused by the loss of polar ice. The most recent assessment by the IPCC is that, by 2100, sea levels will have risen by 53 cms, putting 360 million people who live at sea level at some risk.
Climate News Network 19th March 2020 read more »