Earth could lose up to 80% of its glaciers by 2100 due to climate change, study predicts

The number of glaciers on Earth could decline by 80 percent by the year 2100, a worrying new model predicted.

Climate scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in the US have predicted what ice loss the planet could experience under different emission scenarios.

Their findings suggest that even if we are able to limit the increase in global average temperature to 2.7°F (1.5°C), nearly half of the planet’s total glacial mass.

This loss can negatively impact local hydrologic cycles and result in an increase in glacier hazards such as avalanches and flooding.

Climate scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have predicted what ice loss the planet could experience under different emission scenarios.  In the photo: Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina

Climate scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have predicted what ice loss the planet could experience under different emission scenarios. In the photo: Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina

Glacial loss can negatively impact local hydrologic cycles and result in an increase in glacial hazards such as avalanches and flooding.  Pictured: An arctic glacier in Canada

Glacial loss can negatively impact local hydrologic cycles and result in an increase in glacial hazards such as avalanches and flooding.  Pictured: An arctic glacier in Canada

Glacial loss can negatively impact local hydrologic cycles and result in an increase in glacial hazards such as avalanches and flooding. Pictured: An arctic glacier in Canada

Major glaciers will DISAPPEAR by 2050 due to global warming

Some of the world’s most famous glaciers will disappear by 2050 due to global warming, regardless of the temperature rise scenario, according to a UNESCO report.

Think of the Dolomites in Italy, the Yosemite and Yellowstone parks in the United States and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

UNESCO monitors some 18,600 glaciers at 50 of its World Heritage Sites and said a third of them will disappear by 2050.

While the rest could be saved by keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5°C (2.7°F) compared to pre-industrial levels, in a business-as-usual emissions scenario, about 50 percent of these World Heritage glaciers would almost completely disappear by 2100.

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Many studies have shown that glaciers around the world are melting rapidly due to global warming.

In November 2022, scientists described Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier as “holding on to its fingernails,” after finding that it has been retreating twice as fast over the past 200 years as previously thought.

This could cause global sea levels to rise by 3 meters alone, but other researchers have predicted the increase that would be caused by other large ice masses.

For example, Antarctica’s Pine Island Ice Shelf could contribute as much as 1.6 feet (0.5 m), while the East Antarctica Ice Shelf could contribute as much as 16 feet (4.9 m) by 2500.

Sea level rise threatens cities like Shanghai and London, low-lying parts of Florida and Bangladesh, and even entire nations like the Maldives.

In the UK, for example, a rise of 2 meters or more could threaten to flood areas such as Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of East London and the Thames Estuary.

Rising sea levels have also been linked to devastating coastal erosion, storm surges and wind-driven wave impacts.

The loss of glaciers not only plays a role in these environmental disasters, but will also have a negative impact on tourism and cultural values ​​in their regions.

For the new study, published today in Sciencethe Pennsylvania-based team made predictions about how many of Earth’s 215,000 mountain glaciers will be lost if global temperatures continue to rise.

Two-thirds of the Earth's glaciers make up 41 percent of the total glacier mass, as the majority are relatively small -- less than one square kilometer.  According to the study, all of these would be lost if we continued to invest in fossil fuels as we do now.  Pictured: Global glacier change in the 21st century

Two-thirds of the Earth's glaciers make up 41 percent of the total glacier mass, as the majority are relatively small -- less than one square kilometer.  According to the study, all of these would be lost if we continued to invest in fossil fuels as we do now.  Pictured: Global glacier change in the 21st century

Two-thirds of the Earth’s glaciers make up 41 percent of the total glacier mass, as the majority are relatively small — less than one square kilometer. According to the study, all of these would be lost if we continued to invest in fossil fuels as we do now. Pictured: Global glacier change in the 21st century

They considered large amounts of data tailored to different types of glaciers, including tidal and debris-covered glaciers.

Tidewater glaciers have a boundary that is in contact with the ocean, which exacerbates melting, while debris can have a positive or negative effect on ice melt, depending on its thickness.

While these minute differences appeared to have no effect on global glacier projections, they did play a major role in the mass loss of individual glaciers.

Two-thirds of the Earth’s glaciers make up 41 percent of the total glacier mass, as the majority are relatively small — less than one square kilometer.

According to the study, all of these would be lost if we continued to invest in fossil fuels as we do now.

‘[E]a very high temperature rise has significant consequences with respect to the contribution of glaciers to sea level rise, the loss of glaciers around the world, and changes in hydrology, ecology and natural hazards,” the authors said.

For the new study, published today in Scinece, the Pennsylvania-based team made predictions about how many glaciers will be lost if global temperatures continue to rise.  Pictured: The Kangiata Nunata Sermia Glacier melting undersea in southwest Greenland

For the new study, published today in Scinece, the Pennsylvania-based team made predictions about how many glaciers will be lost if global temperatures continue to rise.  Pictured: The Kangiata Nunata Sermia Glacier melting undersea in southwest Greenland

For the new study, published today in Scinece, the Pennsylvania-based team made predictions about how many glaciers will be lost if global temperatures continue to rise. Pictured: The Kangiata Nunata Sermia Glacier melting undersea in southwest Greenland

Since glaciers take a long time to respond to changes in climate, cutting emissions won't suddenly stop melting.  Pictured: SE Devon Ice Cap outlets on Devon Island, Canada

Since glaciers take a long time to respond to changes in climate, cutting emissions won't suddenly stop melting.  Pictured: SE Devon Ice Cap outlets on Devon Island, Canada

Since glaciers take a long time to respond to changes in climate, cutting emissions won’t suddenly stop melting. Pictured: SE Devon Ice Cap outlets on Devon Island, Canada

However, since glaciers take a long time to respond to changes in climate, cutting emissions won’t suddenly stop the melting of all glaciers.

Dr. David Rounce, who led the study, says that even if we completely phase out fossil fuels today, it will be another 100 years before this is reflected in glacier melt rates.

If we could limit global temperature rise to 2.7°F (1.5°C), as set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, we would still lose 26 percent of global glacier mass.

Central Europe, western Canada and the US are home to smaller glaciers, which risk disappearing completely if the world warms by 3°C.

Dr. Rounce hopes his work will inform world leaders and policymakers to move towards a lower goal and save the glaciers.

The authors say: ‘While sending a stark warning about the consequences of insufficient action, this framing delivers an important message: While it is too late to prevent many glaciers from being lost, any attempt to reduce the global average temperature rise will have a direct effect on climate change. reduce how many glaciers are lost.’

Dr.  Rounce hopes his work will inform world leaders and policymakers to move towards a lower goal and save the glaciers.  In the photo: Lake Palcacocha, Peru

Dr.  Rounce hopes his work will inform world leaders and policymakers to move towards a lower goal and save the glaciers.  In the photo: Lake Palcacocha, Peru

Dr. Rounce hopes his work will inform world leaders and policymakers to move towards a lower goal and save the glaciers. In the photo: Lake Palcacocha, Peru

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The melting Greenland ice sheet could raise sea levels by 0.5 INCH by the end of the century

Melting of the Northeast Greenland Ice Sheet could raise sea levels by half an inch by the end of the century, a new study warns.

This is consistent with the contribution of the entire Greenland ice sheet over the past 50 years, meaning that the rate of ice loss has been significantly underestimated.

Researchers from Denmark and the US used satellite data and numerical models to examine the plate’s ice loss since 2012.

They found that it could contribute up to six times more to global sea level rise by 2100 than current climate models.

Read more here

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