I have heard the world’s ‘permanent ice’ is melting. Is this true?

Dear Tom,
I have heard the world’s “permanent ice” is melting. Is this true?
— James Colgren

Dear James,
Yes. “Permanent ice” is ice that lasts for decades or longer. It is found in the world’s glaciers and in Greenland and Antarctica, and all three are melting. Complete melting would cause the ocean to rise about 230 feet. Ninety percent of the Earth’s permanent ice is contained on Antarctica, 10 percent on Greenland and a fraction of one percent in other glaciers around the world. The water from melting land ice could contribute 6 inches to the world sea level by 2100, a grave concern for the Earth’s coasts. “This has got to be a cause for concern for the governments we trust to protect our coastal cities and communities,” said Andrew Shepherd, lead author of a new study detailing the ice loss.