A Massive Study of Nearly Every Glacier on Earth Just Revealed a Devastating Trend

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Earth’s glaciers are shrinking, and in the past 20 years, the rate of shrinkage has steadily sped up, according to a new study of nearly every glacier on the planet.

Glaciers mostly lose mass through ice melt, but they also shrink due to other processes, such as sublimation, where water evaporates directly from the ice, and calving, where large chunks of ice break off the edge of a glacier, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 

By tracking how quickly glaciers are shrinking, scientists can better predict how quickly sea levels may rise, particularly as climate change drives up average global temperatures. 

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