The world is losing ice at a record and increasing rate, according to a study published by the European Space Agency.
A total of 28 trillion tonnes of ice melted around the world between 1994 and 2017, the equivalent of a 100-metre-thick block the size of Britain, researchers said in a study published in the journal The Cryosphere.
One trillion tonnes of ice, if it took the form of a cube, would stand taller than Mount Everest, the authors said.
Meanwhile, the rate of melt is increasing as the atmosphere and oceans warm.
In the 1990s, the world had an annual loss of 0.8 trillion tonnes of ice.
By 2017, that figure stood at 1.2 trillion tonnes a year.
ESA researchers analysed global satellite data for the study and supplemented their findings with ground-based studies of the polar regions and some of the world’s 215,000 mountain glaciers.
“The ice sheets are now following the worst-case climate warming scenarios,” lead author Thomas Slater said in a statement.
The resultant sea-level rise would have “very serious impacts on coastal communities this century,” he warned.
Also problematic is the loss of sea ice, which reduces the earth’s reflective surface, intensifying the effect of global warming.
“As the sea ice shrinks, more solar energy is being absorbed by the oceans and atmosphere, causing the Arctic to warm faster than anywhere else on the planet,” study co-author Isobel Lawrence said.