HARTFORD, Conn. — Advanced, high-tech satellites are giving scientists a new look at glaciers around the world.
A new study, published in the Journal Nature Geoscience on Monday, finds the world’s glaciers are made up of less ice than first thought.
“This new estimate puts the total amount of ice stored in mountain glaciers at 20 percent lower than our previous guess and I think guess is a good word because previously we relied upon really sparse field measurements...and that just wasn't good enough," according to Andy Shepherd, Director for the Center for Polar Observation and Modeling.
The new findings present a bit of a double-edge sword.
On one hand, it suggests the most extreme sea level rise projections may be less likely.
"The one positive is that ultimately when all glaciers melt, sea level rise will be less than we thought," according to Shepherd.
On the other hand, less water inside melting glaciers is a bad thing, as communities around the world rely on water from melting glaciers each summer for all aspects of life.
Mountain glaciers have been in retreat for decades, as a warmer climate melts the ice at a faster rate.
"We want to preserve the ice on Earth and that now, overnight, becomes a more difficult challenge," Shepherd suggests.
Back here in New England, this finding doesn't suggest sea level rise is any less of a concern for our shoreline; it's still happening.
Ice sheets, like Greenland and Antarctica, weren't included in the study, which focused only on land-based mountain glaciers.
Glaciers aren't the only contributor to sea level rise.
Warmer ocean water is a factor too, due to a process known as thermal expansion. As water warms, it expands and takes up more room, essentially pushing the sea level up.
Additionally, our land is slowly subsiding or sinking, meaning all other climate-related factors aside, there would be a very gradual rise in the sea level over time.
Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at email@example.com
HERE ARE MORE WAYS TO GET FOX61 NEWS
Download the FOX61 News APP
iTunes: Click here to download
Google Play: Click here to download
Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61.
Steam Live on FIRE TV: Search ‘FOX61’ and click ‘Get’ to download.