It's no secret that the ice caps are melting, but it turns out they're melting at a much more alarming rate than scientists first thought.
Technology might be pretty great right now and humankind has come on leaps and bounds over the last few hundred years, but at what cost? Our incessant use of fossil fuels has done what might well be irreparable damage to the planet. Despite indisputable evidence pointing towards that fact, some still continue to deny that climate change is a major issue.
As it turns out, it may be an even bigger problem than we originally thought. Hard to imagine, we know. A study recently published in Nature has revealed that the world's glaciers and ice caps are melting at an alarming rate. Again, not necessarily news, we know. What is news is the discovery that our glaciers are disappearing much faster than was initially thought.
18% faster to be exact. That's compared to an estimate that was reached by a group of scientists six years ago. As if that wasn't scary enough, that rate is five times faster than the one at which our glaciers were disappearing during the 1960s. Yet more evidence that the technological advances we have made, even over a relatively short space of time, are having a detrimental effect on the planet.
In the world's most affected areas, glaciers and ice are losing more than 1% of their mass each and every year. "At the current glacier loss rate, the glaciers will not survive the century," explained Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich. All of that ice melting is responsible for almost a third of the rising sea levels.
To hark back to that time during the 1960s when climate change wasn't as pressing an issue as it has now become, how about we leave you with the amount of ice that has melted since the beginning of that decade? A staggering 10.6 trillion tonnes. Hard to picture exactly how much ice that is. A better way to picture it would be as a 1.2 meter sheet of ice that could cover the entirety of the lowest 48 US states. Scary.