Review article: Earth's ice imbalance

25 January 2021

Satellite observations are the best method for tracking ice loss, because the cryosphere is vast and remote. Using these, and some numerical models, the authors show that Earth has lost 28 trillion tonnes (Tt) of ice since 1994 from Arctic sea ice (7.6 Tt), ice shelves (6.5 Tt), mountain glaciers (6.1 Tt), the Greenland (3.8 Tt) and Antarctic ice sheets (2.5 Tt), and Antarctic sea ice (0.9 Tt). It has taken just 3.2 % of the excess energy Earth has absorbed due to climate warming to cause this ice loss.

The press release by the University of Leeds can be found at:

Review article: Earth's ice imbalance
Slater, T., Lawrence, I. R., Otosaka, I. N., Shepherd, A., Gourmelen, N., Jakob, L., Tepes, P., Gilbert, L., and Nienow, P.
The Cryosphere, 15, 233–246,, 2021

Contact: Thomas Slater (

Credit: CPOM