Nearly half of the world’s mountain glaciers are expected to disappear by the end of the century, even if the world achieves its most ambitious climate goals.
Global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius would destroy about 104,000 glaciers and raise global sea levels by about 3.5 inches in the process, a new study finds.
This is the best case scenario.
Keeping global temperatures within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels is the most aggressive goal under the Paris climate agreement. However, this threshold is rapidly approaching, and the world may pass it in a decade or so.climate pledge currently in place would result in global warming exceeding 2°C.
This could be devastating for alpine glaciers.This new researchPublished in Magazine Thursday scienceIt was found that each fraction of a degree resulted in more ice melting.
At 1.5C, the world would lose half of its mountain glaciers. This includes many smaller glaciers that contain about a quarter of all mountain ice on Earth.
At 2C, nearly 60% of glaciers will disappear. At 3C, more than 70% of all living things would disappear and sea levels would rise by nearly 5 inches.
It’s a dire warning of a dangerous future for the world’s frozen regions. But it’s also a message of caution and hope. Every bit of future warming the world can prevent saves a bit of ice.
The new study examined all of Earth’s glaciers except the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. This mainly includes mountain ice across Alaska and Canada, the European Alps, the high mountains of Asia, South America and New Zealand.
The study incorporates many recent advances in glacier modeling, allowing it to produce some of the most accurate estimates to date of how the world’s ice will respond to future warming. It explains complex factors, such as the way the ocean accelerates the melting of seaside glaciers.
These frozen places are smaller and often receive less attention than the vast Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. However, they are of enormous cultural, environmental, economic and hydrological importance.
Mountain glaciers are often an important source of freshwater for downstream communities. They attract tourists and winter sports enthusiasts. Some are of great cultural or religious significance to Aboriginal communities.
Melting glaciers also contribute significantly to sea level rise, which affects islands and coastal communities around the world.scientists estimate Glaciers off Greenland and Antarctica currently account for 21% of global sea level rise.
The new study found that some parts of the world are more sensitive than others — especially mountainous regions with smaller glaciers in the world’s subtropics.
The study found that most glaciers in Europe, northern Asia, New Zealand, western Canada and the United States would lose almost all of their glaciers if global temperatures rise by 3 degrees Celsius. Even at 2C, most of the ice in these places would disappear.
Still, the study highlights that preventing as much future warming as possible can make a big difference.
in a Comment About the new study, also published Thursday in scienceScientists Guðfinna Aðalgeirsdóttir and Timothy James say the study has both stern warnings and an optimistic message.
“While it is too late to avoid the loss of many glaciers, any effort to limit the rise in global average temperature will have a direct impact on reducing the number of glaciers lost,” they wrote.
They added that the findings “could provide critical incentive information that is needed in this critical decade of climate action.”
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