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Journal Articles Nature Geoscience Year : 2022

Ice velocity and thickness of the world's glaciers

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Abstract

The effect of climate change on water resources and sea-level rise is largely determined by the size of the ice reservoirs around the world and the ice thickness distribution, which remains uncertain. Here, we present a comprehensive high-resolution mapping of ice motion for 98% of the world's total glacier area during the period 2017-2018. We use this mapping of glacier flow to generate an estimate of global ice volume that reconciles ice thickness distribution with glacier dynamics and surface topography. The results suggest that the world's glaciers have a potential contribution to sea-level rise of 257 ± 85 mm, which is 20% less than previously estimated. At low latitudes, our findings highlight notable changes in freshwater resources, with 37% more ice in the Himalayas and 27% less ice in the tropical Andes of South America, affecting water availability for local populations. This mapping of glacier flow and thickness redefines our understanding of global ice-volume distribution and has implications for the prediction of glacier evolution around the world, since accurate representations of glacier geometry and dynamics are of prime importance to glacier modelling.
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Dates and versions

insu-03706390 , version 1 (27-06-2022)

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Romain Millan, Jérémie Mouginot, Antoine Rabatel, Mathieu Morlighem. Ice velocity and thickness of the world's glaciers. Nature Geoscience, 2022, 15, pp.124-129. ⟨10.1038/s41561-021-00885-z⟩. ⟨insu-03706390⟩

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