‘A little bucket with a huge hole …’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The world’s major ice sheets — on Greenland and Antarctica — haven’t really started a major meltdown yet. But the rest of the world’s glacial regions have been losing ice at a rate of about 260 billion metric tons annually, raising sea level by about 0.03 inches per year — about a third of the observed sea level rise.
The biggest ice losses are happening in Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes and the Himalaya. Combined, the areas contribute as much to sea level rise as melting from the major ice sheets, which lock up about 90 percent of the Earth’s land ice, according to a a new study led by Clark University and involving the University Colorado Boulder.
“Because the global glacier ice mass is relatively small in comparison with the huge ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica, people tend to not worry about it,” said CU-Boulder Professor Tad Pfeffer, a study co-author. “But it’s like a little bucket with a huge hole in the bottom: it may not last for very long, just a century or two, but while there’s ice in those glaciers, it’s a major contributor to sea level rise,” said Pfeffer, a glaciologist at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. (more…)
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