glacier recession

Changing Alaska

The icefields of Alaska are dramatically thinning, resulting in a significant contribution to global sea level rise. This is partly because there is a large volume of ice in Alaska (see Millan et al., 2022), but also due to warming in this region. Juneau Icefield This section of the website includes a series of articles …

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New paper: Millan et al. 2022: a new estimate of global glacier ice volume and ice velocity

An interesting new paper has just been published in Nature Geoscience by Romain Millan, Jeremie Mouginot, Antoine Rabatel and Mathieu Morligheim on the velocity and thickness of the world’s glaciers. They make a revised estimate of global glacier ice volume. They aren’t looking at ice in the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets, just glaciers worldwide. …

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What does COP26 mean for global glacier and ice sheet change?

Earth’s glaciers are shrinking at an alarming rate. Each year they are losing more mass than is being replenished in each accumulation season.28 trillion tonnes of ice was lost from 1994 to 2017, and rates have risen by 57% since the 1990s. At present, global ice volume is shrinking at a rate of 267±16 Gt/year, …

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Water resources

Mountains around the world provide water for downstream communities. Glaciers and snowpacks store the water, and release it in dry seasons as the snow and ice melts. Glaciers are therefore a water resource, but this water resource is threatened by glacier recession. Water is essential for life on Earth. Human societies use water to irrigate …

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The world’s mountain ‘water towers’ are melting, putting 1.9 billion people at risk

Bethan Davies, Royal Holloway The year 2019 concludes a decade of exceptional heat, and is on track to be the second or third warmest year on record. While the global average temperature teeters on 1.1°C above the pre-industrial record, the world’s glaciers are in stark retreat. In high mountain areas, the steady trickle of melting …

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Glaciers as a water resource

Mountains as Water Towers of the World In many mountainous parts of the world with a seasonal rainfall, glaciers are a reliable water resource in the dry season. Mountains could be called the “Water Towers of the World”1, providing water from glacier melt and orographic rainfall to lowland regions.  Glacierised drainage basins cover 26% of …

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Antarctic Peninsula has strong sensitivity to surface warming

The Antarctic Peninsula is warming very rapidly, about six times the global average[1-3]. There has been a 95% increase in positive degree day sums since 1948[4]. Glaciers in the region are accelerating, in response to frontal thinning and recession[5]. In addition, ice shelves are collapsing[6], glacier fronts are retreating[7]. The causes for much of these …

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Global glacier recession

Worldwide, glaciers are shrinking and receding. In fact, glacier recession and thermal expansion of the ocean together account for 75% of today’s observed sea level rise. Glaciers are small and have short response times, so they react quickly to changes in air temperature and precipitation. Glaciers around the Antarctic Peninsula are shrinking particularly rapidly, and …

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