Earth's Glaciers Are Unilaterally Shrinking

In a release featuring scientific findings concerning the activity of glaciers across the planet during 2008 and 09, the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) released it’s Glacier Mass Balance Bulletin 08/09 which includes confirmation of 2009 news reports that the Bolivian glacier Chacaltaya has indeed melted away.

As many global warming skeptics will be pleased to remind us, one melting glacier does not a warming planet make.

However, 90% of 136 glaciers is a pretty staggering statistic.

The Glacier Mass Balance Bulletin is set up to monitor a number of glaciers that are regularly visited by scientists and, in this case, provide us with strong evidence for a warming world. Satellites and aircraft measure thousands of glaciers worldwide, but the 136 glaciers located from Antarctica to Canada and from Bolivia to Japan are glaciers that have had scientific boots on the ground.

Here’s a very simple graph depicting the disparity between glaciers that are shrinking compared to those that aren’t.

Proportions of growing and shrinking glaciers in 2009

According to the authors of the Glacier Mass Balance Bulletin there is now a set of 37 ‘reference’ glaciers for which information is now available dating back to 1980 thanks to continuous mass balance records. These glacier provide ‘ideally based … long-term measurement series” showing the mean mass balance shown in ‘millimetres of water equivalent’ which is the depth of water that would be left behind if the ice melted and was not allowed to drain away (as would be normal).

“Corresponding results from this sample of glaciers in North and South America and Eurasia are summarized” in the table below;

Glacier Mass Balance Table

What does all of this mean? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Source: World Glacier Monitoring Service (pdf)
Image Source courtesy of Skeptical Science who turned the pdf into images to save me the trouble

1 thought on “Earth's Glaciers Are Unilaterally Shrinking”

  1. We are indeed rapidly destructing our wonderful global home.
    We need to extract our inner Viking fast if we want to save the planet!
    Our modern lifestyle has greatly reduced our connection and symbiotic relationship with nature and we have caused much irreparable destruction. The below 2 minute film link looks back at a time when our connection to the land also meant great respect for nature as expressed by Icelandic viking poems that accompany the visuals from an ancient Scandinavian warrior burial site.


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