Glaciers Shrink at Unprecedented Rates

  • 07 Dec 2023

Recently, the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) latest Decadal State of the Climate report discloses distressing trends, indicating unprecedented glacier shrinkage and a 75% increase in Antarctic ice loss from 2011 to 2020.

Key Points

  • Long-term Warming: Each decade since the 1990s has been warmer than the preceding one, signaling an uninterrupted warming trend.
  • Accelerating Sea-Level Rise: Warming oceans and melting ice sheets have nearly doubled the rate of sea-level rise within a generation, posing severe threats to low-lying coastal regions and countries, according to WMO.
  • Glacial Decline: Glaciers worldwide experienced an average annual thinning of about one meter from 2011 to 2020.
  • Notably, glaciers near the Equator are rapidly diminishing, with projections of disappearance in locations like Papua, Indonesia, and forecasts of glacier loss on African mountains by 2030-2040.
  • Ice Sheet Thaw: Greenland and Antarctica witnessed a 38% increase in ice loss from 2011 to 2020 compared to the previous decade.
  • This acceleration contributes to a faster sea-level rise, heightening concerns about its impacts on coastal regions globally.