A new study found that limiting global warming might be able to save some of the Earth’s glaciers from extinction by the end of the century, especially the smaller ones.
The research, which was released on Thursday in the journal Science, offers the most thorough examination to date of what will happen to the world’s 215,000 glaciers. The authors emphasized the significance of limiting greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the effects of glacier melt, including sea level rise and the depletion of water supplies. The study examined the effects of four scenarios, where the global mean temperature change is 1 point 5 degrees Celsius (2 point 7 degrees Fahrenheit), 2 point 0, 3 point 0, and 4 point 0, on glaciers in order to inform policy makers.
According to Regine Hock, a co-author of the study from the University of Oslo and University of Alaska Fairbanks, “Every degree increase produces more melt and loss.”.
“But that also means if you reduce the temperature increase, you can also reduce that mass loss,” Hock said to AFP. So there is some hope in that sense as well. “.
Researchers predicted that 49 percent of the world’s glaciers would vanish by the year 2100, even if global temperature rise is kept to 1 point 5C above pre-industrial levels, which is the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement. The smallest glaciers would be the first to be affected, so that would equal about 26% of the total mass of all glaciers on Earth. According to current estimates, the average global temperature is rising by 2°C, which would cause glaciers in Central Europe, Western Canada, the continental United States, and New Zealand to almost entirely disappear.
Hock stated that regions with relatively little ice, such as the western US, the Caucasus, the Andes, or the European Alps, “lose almost all the ice by the end of the century almost regardless of what the emission scenario is.”. This means that the glaciers are essentially doomed. “. Giant glaciers like those in Alaska would be more impacted by the worst-case scenario, which calls for a 4°C increase in global temperature, and 83 percent of glaciers would vanish by the end of the century. Sea level rise would be made worse by glacier loss. When compared to the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the glaciers that we are researching make up only 1% of the planet’s total ice mass, according to Hock.
But in the last three decades, she continued, “they have almost contributed as much to sea level rise as the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet combined.” Average sea levels would rise by nine centimeters with a 1°C warming, and by fifteen centimeters with a 4°C warming. Nine to 15 centimeters may not sound like much, but Hock clarified that the global sea level was not the main cause for concern. She stated that associated storm surges, which have the potential to do “a lot more damage,” are the main problem. “. Because they supply freshwater to about two billion people, the melting of glaciers will also have an effect on water resources. In the summer, when it’s hot and there is little rain, the glaciers make up for the water that is lost, according to Hock.
The study used computer simulations and observations of each glacier’s mass over time to arrive at its predictions, which are more pessimistic than those of UN climate experts. Hock stated that despite the troubling findings, “human action can reduce the mass loss. Of course, the question is whether it will actually happen, she added. “Of course, policymakers will decide whether or not that occurs. “
More data about the Study
Source of study: Global glacier change in the 21st century: Every increase in temperature matters | Science DOI: 10.1126/science.abo132, By AA Science Journal
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