Earth is now losing 1.2 trillion tons of ice each year. And it’s going to get worse.

The Oceans Melting Greenland mission carried out depth and salinity measurements of Greenland’s fjords by boat and aircraft. Global ice loss has increased rapidly over the past two decades, and scientists are still underestimating just how much sea levels could rise, according to alarming new research published this month. […]

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Global ice loss has increased rapidly over the past two decades, and scientists are still underestimating just how much sea levels could rise, according to alarming new research published this month.

From the thin ice shield covering most of the Arctic Ocean to the mile-thick mantle of the polar ice sheets, ice losses have soared from about 760 billion tons per year in the 1990s to more than 1.2 trillion tons per year in the 2010s, a new study released Monday shows. That is an increase of more than 60 percent, equating to 28 trillion tons of melted ice in total — and it means that roughly 3 percent of all the extra energy trapped within Earth’s system by climate change has gone toward turning ice into water.

“That’s like more than 10,000 ‘Back to the Future’ lightning strikes per second of energy melting ice around-the-clock since 1994,” said William Colgan, an ice-sheet expert at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. “That is just a bonkers amount of energy.”

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