A boat navigates at night next to large icebergs in eastern Greenland. Greenland’s ice has been melting for more than 20 years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Felipe Dana

A boat navigates at night next to large icebergs in eastern Greenland. Greenland’s ice has been melting for more than 20 years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Felipe Dana

Glaciers getting smaller, faster — especially in North America, study finds

Those in western North America have found to be thinning more quickly than almost any others in the world

A new study is using millions of satellite images to generate a clearer picture of the fate of the world’s glaciers than ever before.

Study co-author Brian Menounos of the University of Northern British Columbia says those glaciers are getting smaller, faster — with those in western North America thinning more quickly than almost any others in the world.

The amount of ice that the study says is melting away each year is almost unimaginable.

Menounos says it’s 267 billion tonnes a year.

Just one billion tonnes is equal to the mass of 10,000 fully loaded aircraft carriers.

The pace is picking up, especially in North America, where glaciers are melting four times faster now than they were 20 years ago.

With glaciers being a crucial source of freshwater, Menounos says the findings have important lessons for water managers.

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Climate Change