The loss of ice from Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets has increased threefold in the last three decades, according to a new global study. According to a study using 50 satellite estimates, Greenland's annual ice melt has increased by 20% in recent years and is over seven times higher than in the early 1990s. Between 2017 and 2020, the combined annual ice melt from Greenland and Antarctica was 410 billion tons, more than three times the rate from 30 years ago, with over two-thirds coming from Greenland. The two ice sheets hold 99% of the world's freshwater ice.
Since 1992, the Earth has lost 8.3 trillion tons of ice from the two ice sheets, which is equivalent to flooding the entire United States with almost 0.9 meters of water or submerging France in nearly 15 meters of water. However, the actual sea level rise caused by this ice loss is less than an inch on average, as the world's oceans are enormous. Although ice sheet melt contributed 5% to the sea level rise in the past, it now accounts for over one-quarter of the total sea level rise, with the rest coming from warmer water expanding and glacier melt, according to the study.