Antarctica and Greenland have lost 7.56 trillion tons of ice

Melt of this huge amount now contributes more than a quarter of global sea level rise, equivalent to about 21 millimeters since 1992

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Antarctica and Greenland have lost 7.56 trillion tons of ice

According to data from the new Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise report, funded by NASA and ESA, Antarctica and Greenland have lost 7.560 billion tons of ice in the last 30 years. Melt of this huge amount now contributes more than a quarter of global sea level rise, equivalent to about 21 millimeters since 1992.

The polar ice caps have lost ice every year since satellite monitoring began in 1992. The peak was reached in 2019 when 612 billion tons of ice were recorded in the Arctic region due to a heat wave less: of these, 444 billion tons were lost in Greenland alone.

In the early 1990s, melting ice sheets accounted for only a small fraction (5.6%) of sea level rise. Since then, though, melting has increased five-fold and is now responsible for more than a quarter (25.6%) of all raising.

If ice loss continues at the same rate, the IPCC predicts that Antarctica and Greenland will cause global sea level rises of between 148 and 272 millimeters by the end of the century.

Antarctica and Greenland have lost 7.56 trillion tons of ice

The new study, led by the University of Leeds, involved 68 experts from 41 research centers and organizations and made use of the measurements carried out by 17 NASA and ESA satellite missions, such as that of the European Copernicus programme.

We recall globally, the last 8 years have been the warmest on record, and concentrations of greenhouse gases have reached the highest levels ever detected by satellites: 417 parts per million for carbon dioxide and 1,894 parts per billion for the methane.

In 2022, the average global temperature was 1.2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate expects to keep temperatures below 2 degrees from the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average, and the Glasgow Cop26 lowered this threshold to 1.5 degrees.

Not only that: last year was the second warmest year on record in Europe since there are scientific records. 0.9 C above the 1991-2020 historical average, a record only surpassed by 2020. 2022 had the hottest summer ever recorded: 1.4 C above the thirty-year average. The same goes for Canada, which experienced truly exceptional temperatures.