Maxwell Bernstein | January 27, 2021
British researchers have combined satellite data and numerical models to show that Earth is now losing 1.2 trillion tonnes of ice each year, according to the study and the Washington Post. Since the 1990s, ice loss has risen by 57%, from .8 to 1.2 trillion tonnes of ice each year due to the losses from mountain glaciers, Antarctic and Greenland ice shelves. Since 1994, Earth has lost a total of 28 trillion tonnes of ice.
To put this amount of energy into context, William Colgan, an ice-sheet expert said in an interview with the Washington Post, “That’s like more than 10,000 ‘Back to the Future’ lightning strikes per second of energy melting ice around-the-clock since 1994…That’s just a bonkers amount of energy.”
By the year 2100, ice sheets could increase sea levels by 16 inches, according to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Scientists are discovering that production of electricity using coal and petroleum, and other uses of fossil fuels in transportation and industry, affects our environment in ways we did not understand before,” said the National Snow & Ice Data Center. “Within the past 200 years or so, human activity has increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 40 percent, and other gases, such as methane (natural gas) by a factor of 2 to 3 or more. These gases absorb heat being radiated from the surface of the earth, and by absorbing this heat the atmosphere slowly warms up. Heat-trapping gases, sometimes called “greenhouse gases,” are the cause of most of the climate warming and glacier retreat in the past 50 years.”