Home Environment Global ice sheets melting at extreme rates recorded till date: UK scientists

Global ice sheets melting at extreme rates recorded till date: UK scientists

In recent findings, a group of UK scientists reports global ice sheets melting at an extreme rate and this might be the worst-case ever faced to date. With almost 64 percent of people agreeing that the climate crisis has assumed emergency levels, this is alarming news.

January 27, 2021: Global warming is a term almost everyone is familiar with. But its meaning is still not clear to most of us. Global warming actually refers to the gradual rise in the overall temperature of the atmosphere of the Earth. In recent findings, a group of UK scientists report global ice sheets melting at an extreme rate and this might be the worst-case ever faced till date. 

There are various activities like the increase in population; deforestation; pollution; the advancement of gadgets and science and technology, which is taking place and have been increasing the temperature gradually. 

Global warming is melting our ice glaciers rapidly. This is extremely harmful to the earth as well as humans. It is quite challenging to control global warming; however, it is not unmanageable. 

The first step in solving any problem is identifying the cause of the problem and how it affects our environment and the living beings and then solving it.

And now the UK scientists after doing research on the matter, have found out that the rate at which ice is disappearing across the world matches “worst-case climate warming scenarios”.

Impact of Global Warming

The impact of global warming on earth is extremely serious and it will be too late if we don’t start looking into the matter right now.  There are many hazardous effects that are happening and will happen in the future if global warming continues. 

It includes the melting of polar ice caps, leading to an increase in sea level drowning coastlines, and slowly submerging continents.

Recent studies by the National Snow and Ice Data Center warns that “if the ice melted today the seas would rise about 230 feet”.

 Another effect is climate change leading to the extinction of various species. More hurricanes, cyclonic storms, heat waves, drought, extreme rainfalls, and other natural disasters will occur causing disaster to humankind.

Global ice sheets melting at ‘worst-case’ rates

As UK scientists have warned that global ice sheets are melting all over the world and this is also because of the increase in climate temperature due to global warming.

And the rate of loss rose from 0.8 trillion tonnes per year in the 1990s to 1.3 trillion tonnes per year by 2017, with potentially disastrous consequences.

Image – Ocean Today

A team from the universities of Edinburgh and Leeds and University College London said the rate at which ice is melting across the world’s polar regions and mountains has increased markedly in the last three decades with the rise in the temperature of the Earth.

“The ice sheets are now following the worst-case climate warming scenarios set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),” said Dr Thomas Slater, a research fellow at Leeds’ Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling.

“Sea level rise on this scale will have very serious impacts on coastal communities this century.”

The universities’ research, published Monday in the European Geosciences Union’s journal The Cryosphere, was the first of its kind to use satellite data and surveyed 215,000 mountain glaciers around the globe, polar ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, ice shelves floating around Antarctica, and sea ice drifting in the Arctic and Southern Oceans.

The survey found the largest losses in the last three decades were from Arctic Sea ice and Antarctic ice shelves, both of which float on the polar oceans.

“As the sea ice shrinks, more solar energy is being absorbed by the oceans and atmosphere, causing the Arctic to warm faster than anywhere else on the planet,” Dr Isobel Lawrence said.

“Not only is this speeding up sea ice melt, but it’s also exacerbating the melting of glaciers and ice sheets which causes sea levels to rise,” she added.

Also Read: Climate change continues relentless march this year: World Meteorological Organization

Impact on Arctic and Antarctic

The polar regions are particularly sensitive to small rises in the annual average temperature.

The mean annual climate temperature of the Antarctic Peninsula has increased by nearly 3°C in the region in the last 50 years, the only comparable regions are in the Arctic.

The Antarctic Ice Sheet has thinned significantly as a result of warmer temperatures in the surrounding Antarctic Ocean. Many glaciers have retreated and 10 ice shelves have been seen to retreat in recent years. 

Image – Wikipedia

The collapse of the glacier and rise in sea levels is thought to progress slowly for about two hundred years, but then it probably will speed up considerably and this will also lead to the extinction of many animals living in the polar regions.

Another study, published in 2019 by the US-based Climate Central said up to 300 million people may be affected by devastating flooding by 2050, about three times more than previously estimated. The number could go up to 630 million by 2100.

The study also warned that key coastal cities such as India’s Mumbai, China’s Shanghai, and Thailand’s Bangkok could be submerged over the next 30 years, thus changing our future and the geographical structure.



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