MELTING ICE & SNOW

Melting glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica have a direct and profound impact on sea-level rise.

Greenland’s ice sheet is losing mass about six times faster than it was a few decades ago. In the past fifty years, the sheet has already shed enough to add about half an inch of water to the world’s oceans. In just this last summer’s heat wave, meltwater — equivalent to over 4 million swimming pools — sloughed into the ocean in a single day.

Antarctica, that frigid expanse of land at the Earth’s Southern pole, is covered by 90% of the planet’s ice. If all of its ice were to melt, sea levels would rise by 190 feet. It is melting at an alarming rate, with the rate of thaw tripling over the past decade and losing 2.71 trillion tons of ice between 1992 and 2017 with half of these losses occurring in the past five years, shrinking to record low levels

Melting ice is not limited to the poles and is happening around the world: Alaska’s sea ice has all melted; the glaciers of the Himalayas are melting twice as fast as they were in 2000; the Patagonian icefields are a fraction of their previous size. Iceland marked its first loss of a glacier to climate change with a funeral, and the Swiss followed suit with a funeral for the Pizol glacier in the Alps. 

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

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Polar Tales: The Future of Ice, Life, and the Arctic (2020)

By Fredrik Granath. Published by Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
The Arctic is the ground zero of climate change, and the polar bear is on the front line. Filled with groundbreaking photography that reveals the breathtaking landscapes of the Arctic and the transformations of the…
antarctica_melting_ccr_2021

Antarctica: The Waking Giant (2020)

By Sebastian Copeland. Published by Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
Winner of three 2020 International Photography Awards and named Photographer of the Year from the Tokyo International Awards, explorer Sebastian Copeland’s stunning photography delivers unparalleled access to the least explored continent on Earth and galvanizes…

MORE NEWS

nsidc

Ho, ho, ho-hum December

1/5/21
The Arctic climate was extraordinary in 2020, but the year ended with a less spectacular December. Ice growth was faster than average throughout the month, but extent at month’s end remained among the lowest in…
national geographic

The Big Thaw

By Daniel Glick 12/16/20
So far, the results have been positively chilling. When President Taft created Glacier National Park in 1910, it was home to an estimated 150 glaciers. Since then the number has decreased to fewer than 30,…
fracking_ccr19

Sailing to the Antarctic Peninsula

By Peter Sinclair 11/25/2020
An iceberg roughly the size of Delaware that is headed toward the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia has experts worried about the possibility of it blocking wildlife from food sources and threatening the island’s ecosystem.
Glacier_in_Antarctica

Why are glaciers and sea ice melting?

By Lorin Hancock By Wim Van Passel
Glaciers around the world can range from ice that is several hundred to several thousand years old and provide a scientific record of how climate has changed over time. Through their study, we gain valuable information…