According to a new study in the Journal of Glaciology, the world’s glaciers are losing ice at a greater rate than at any time in recorded history.
Researchers collected data from hundreds of glaciers, dating back as far as 120 years, and found they lost between about 1.5 and three feet per year. Michael Zemp, the study’s lead author, explained that number was unprecedented, in a statement from the University of Zurich. “This is two to three times more than the corresponding average of the 20th century,” he said.
Though climate change likely played a role in the shrinking glaciers, now even an unchanging climate would not be able to halt their retreat. “These glaciers will suffer further ice loss, even if climate remains stable,” said Zemp.