Glaciers are shrinking by one meter a year

05 December, 2023

Climate change occurred at an ominously high rate between 2011 and 2020, a new report shows.

It looks particularly bad for the world’s glaciers, which shrank by around 1 meter a year.

Photo: Becky Bohrer/AP/TT

– We are losing the battle to save our melting glaciers and ice caps, says the head of the UN Meteorological Organization WMO, Professor Petteri Taalas.

The WMO’s new report lands in the middle of the ongoing UN climate meeting in Dubai. It shows that the last decade, 2011–2020, is the warmest on record.

– Every decade since the 1990s has been warmer than the previous one and we see no signs that the trend is reversing, says Taalas.

He points out that more countries have reported record high temperatures than in any other decade. The oceans are warming faster, and faster and sea level rise has almost doubled in less than a generation.

Droughts, heat waves, tropical cyclones and fires cause great damage to agriculture, infrastructure, and water availability. In addition, it contributes to driving people away.

Above all, the risk of high temperatures has increased over the last decade.

But of particular concern is what has happened in polar and mountain areas, WMO believes.

The glaciers shrank on average by around one meter a year during the period. Furthermore, the Antarctic ice sheet lost 75 percent more ice than in the previous decade. It affects sea level rise, which in turn can have life-threatening consequences for people living in states with low-lying coasts.

Text: Maria Davidsson/TT
Photo: Becky Bohrer/AP/TT

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