Two-thirds of the glaciers will be melted by 2100, study indicates

The study was conducted by inspecting 215,000 land-based glaciers worldwide.
Nergis Firtina
Melting glaciers.
Melting glaciers.

halbergman/iStock 

Climate change is a primal environmental problem of our century, and it’s getting worse day by day. The melting of glaciers increases the temperatures on the Earth and causes extreme cold. According to new research, glaciers melt faster than we thought. Apparently, two-thirds of glaciers on track will be disappeared by 2100, researchers say.

As reported by Phys, the study also predicted that hat slightly less than half of the world's glaciers would vanish if efforts were made to restrict future warming to only a few more tenths of a degree and achieve international targets, which is technically feasible but very implausible in the opinion of many experts. The majority of small, well-known glaciers are on the verge of extinction.

Published on January 5 in Science, the study looked at the 215,000 land-based glaciers worldwide. They also utilized computer simulations to estimate how many glaciers would vanish, how much ice would melt, and how much it would contribute to sea level rise under various warmer scenarios.

Two-thirds of the glaciers will be melted by 2100, study indicates
Iceberg peak.

Depending on how much the planet heats and how much coal, oil, and gas are consumed, the study estimates that between 38.7 trillion metric tons and 64.4 trillion tons of ice will have been lost by the year 2100.

What are the experts’ opinions?

David Rounce, the lead author of the study, suggested that by the year 2100, the Earth's temperature will have risen by 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, which would result in the loss of 32 percent of the glacier mass, or 48.5 trillion metric tons of ice, as well as the disappearance of 68 percent of the glaciers. In addition to the rising seas due to the melting of ice sheets and warmer water, that would accelerate sea level rise by 4.5 inches (115 millimeters).

"No matter what, we're going to lose a lot of the glaciers. But we have the ability to make a difference by limiting how many glaciers we lose," he added.

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"For many small glaciers, it is too late," said study co-author Regine Hock, a glaciologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Oslo in Norway. "However, globally, our results clearly show that every degree of global temperature matters to keep as much ice as possible locked up in the glaciers."

Study abstract:

As global mean temperature rises in pace with increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the future of the world’s glaciers looks bleak. Rates of glacier mass loss have increased over the past two decades, a trend that will continue even if emissions are capped. Despite their small size relative to the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, these dwindling ice stores are important. They currently contribute as much to sea level as the ice sheets, their disappearance means water insecurity for millions, and their retreat increases glacier hazard frequency, such as glacier outburst floods and landslides. Although most countries have agreed to pursue temperature limits within 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, these targets are unmet. On page 78 of this issue, Rounce et al. Present a model of the fate of all 215,547 glaciers under different climate scenarios. Their findings emphasize the need to act now to prevent substantial glacier loss.

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