According to a new study, global ice melt has accelerated so much over the past 30 years that it’s now in line with the worst-case climate warming scenarios.

What is Happening?

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global ice melt

Global ice loss 1994–2017 (Source: Slater et. al, 2021)

global ice melt

Ice lost between 1994–2017 (Source: Slater et. al, 2021)

In a statement, lead author Thomas Slater said, “The ice sheets are now following the worst-case climate warming scenarios set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Although every region we studied lost ice, losses from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets have accelerated the most.” 

Isobel Lawrence, a researcher at the Leeds’ Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, says, “One of the key roles of Arctic sea ice is to reflect solar radiation back into space, which helps keep the Arctic cool. 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.”