Written by on January 11, 2023

A twitter post claiming that glaciers are growing is false.

” Glaciers are growing, the earth is safe!” states the claim.

Glaciers are slow moving masses of ice over land, and are sensitive indicators of climate change.  

According to a research by two glaciologists from the University of Ottawa Canada, William Kochtitzky and Luke Copland, over 1,700 glaciers across the Northern Hemisphere ultimately dip their icy snouts into the ocean. Majority of these glaciers are floating, while some spread out into wide, flat ice shelves. Others are grounded, connected to the seafloor below, and almost all of them are retreating.

Referring to images from Landsat and Terra satellites, the researchers outlined the position of each glacier’s front in the years 2000, 2010 and 2020. They established that there was 85% glacier retreat in the two decades, which accounted to a total loss of over 7500 square kilometers of ice.

Taking a look at glaciers at the Glacier National Park in the USA, there has been a 34% decrease in the total surface area of the glaciers between the year 1966 and 2015. This is according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Total Glacier Surface Area in Glacier National Park, between 1966–2015

Source: EPA

In 2015, each glacier had a smaller surface area compared to 1966 however, during part of the overall time period, three glaciers gained some area temporarily.

Change in Glacier Surface Area in Glacier National Park, between 1966–2015

Source: EPA

A long running study of three ‘benchmark’ glaciers in Washington and Alaska states, conducted by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 2006, indicated that climate change was melting America’s glaciers at the fastest rate in history.  The study indicated a sharp rise in the melt rate for over 10-15 years.

According to a new study published in the journal Science on 5th January 2023, half of the earth’s glaciers including the smaller ones will disappear by the end of the century. The study also figured out how to assist in orienting policy makers, by looking at four scenarios on glaciers, where global mean temperature change is 1.5 degrees Celsius, 3.0 degrees Celsius and 4.0 degrees Celsius.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even if global temperature rise is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels which is the biggest goal of the Paris Agreement, 49% of the world’s glaciers would vanish by the year 2100.

We looked into this claim stating that glaciers are growing and found it to be false. It misleads the public.

This fact-check was produced by Sky 106.1 FM with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

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