Trends for the future

Land Ice

Since 1850 the glaciers of the European Alps have lost about 30 to 40% of their surface area and about half of their volume. However, the range of extremes observed on individual glaciers is roughly one order of magnitude higher than the mean value of length or mass changes. (TOPtoTOP)  

This constitutes the largest measured contribution to rising sea levels by glacial melt

The Greenland Ice Sheet is also experiencing increased melting. The area that experiences some melting has increased by about 16% between 1979 and 2002. (

The area of melting reached unprecedented levels in 2002.

Glacier shrinkage seems to have accelerated during the last years, and the glaciers appear to evolve at a high rate of change towards or even beyond the "warm" limit of natural holocene (=actual warm period after last ice age) glacier variability. (TOPtoTOP)

The 1991 discovery of the 5,000 year-old "ice man," preserved in a glacier in the European Alps, fascinated the world. But this also points to the fact that this glacier is retreating farther now than it has in 5,000 years. (TOPtoTOP)