Taking Stock of Earth’s Melting Land Ice
A 2012 study by the University of Colorado-Boulder used GRACE data to do a comprehensive measurement of ice loss in all of Earth’s land ice between 2003 and 2010, with particular emphasis on glaciers and ice caps outside of Greenland and Antarctica. The study found that about a quarter of the average global annual ice loss came from glaciers and ice caps outside of Greenland and Antarctica (roughly 148 billion tons, or 39 cubic miles). These small glaciers and ice caps, in places like Alaska, South America and the Himalayas, were found to contribute about 0.02 inches per year to sea level rise. This map shows average yearly change in mass, in centimeters of water, during 2003-2010, as measured by GRACE, for all the world’s glaciers and ice caps (excluding Greenland and Antarctica), and for the plains across northern India and adjacent regions. Blue represents ice mass loss, while red represents ice mass gain.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Colorado