Articles | Volume 15, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 15, 233–246, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-15-233-2021
The Cryosphere, 15, 233–246, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-15-233-2021

Review article 25 Jan 2021

Review article | 25 Jan 2021

Review article: Earth's ice imbalance

Thomas Slater et al.

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Cited articles

Adusumilli, S., Fricker, H. A., Medley, B., Padman, L., and Siegfried, M. B.: Interannual variations in meltwater input to the Southern Ocean from Antarctic ice shelves, Nature Geosci., 13, 616–620, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-020-0616-z, 2020a. 
Adusumilli, S., Fricker, H. A., Medley, B. C., Padman, L., and Siegfried, M. R.: Data from: Interannual variations in meltwater input to the Southern Ocean from Antarctic ice shelves [Data set], UC San Diego Library Digital Collections, https://doi.org/10.6075/J04Q7SHT, 2020b. 
Armitage, T. W. K., Manucharyan, G. E., Petty, A. A., Kwok, R., and Thompson, A. F.: Enhanced eddy activity in the Beaufort Gyre in response to sea ice loss, Nature Commun., 11, 761, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14449-z, 2020. 
Bevis, M., Harig, C., Khan, S. A., Brown, A., Simons, F. J., Willis, M., Fettweis, X., Broeke, M. R. van den, Madsen, F. B., Kendrick, E., Caccamise, D. J., Dam, T. van, Knudsen, P., and Nylen, T.: Accelerating changes in ice mass within Greenland, and the ice sheet's sensitivity to atmospheric forcing, P. Natl. Acad. Sci., 116, 1934–1939, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1806562116, 2019. 
Bintanja, R., van Oldenborgh, G. J., Drijfhout, S. S., Wouters, B., and Katsman, C. A.: Important role for ocean warming and increased ice-shelf melt in Antarctic sea-ice expansion, Nature Geosci., 6, 376–379, https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1767, 2013. 
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Short summary
Satellite observations are the best method for tracking ice loss, because the cryosphere is vast and remote. Using these, and some numerical models, we show that Earth has lost 28 trillion tonnes (Tt) of ice since 1994 from Arctic sea ice (7.6 Tt), ice shelves (6.5 Tt), mountain glaciers (6.1 Tt), the Greenland (3.8 Tt) and Antarctic ice sheets (2.5 Tt), and Antarctic sea ice (0.9 Tt). It has taken just 3.2 % of the excess energy Earth has absorbed due to climate warming to cause this ice loss.