By Cass Marrett
Researchers at the University of Toulouse, France, analysed half a million satellite stereo images to study mass changes of glaciers worldwide.
Globally they estimate glaciers lost 267 gigatonnes of mass per year between 2000 and 2019. That’s equivalent to the weight of roughly 200 million elephants.
Smaller glacial regions had some of the most drastic results.
Between 2015 and 2019 New Zealand glaciers melted at 1.5m per year - almost seven times more than between 2000 and 2014.
The study published today in Nature concluded the glacier melt accounted for 21 percent of observed sea level rise.
Researchers hope it will provide more certainty around measuring the impacts of climate change.
The study’s authors say predictions of further glacier melt are “critically needed” to better manage water and ice resources and “for the global-scale mitigation of sea-level rise”.