There are 215,000 glaciers in the world today. Even if the 1.5 degree target is retained in the Paris Agreement, more than half of this will melt away by the end of the century.
A new study published in the journal Science.
– Every increase in temperature ensures more melting, says study co-author Regine Haag.
If global warming continues at its current rate, which corresponds to an increase of 2.7°C, more than 68 percent of the glaciers will disappear.
The scope and consequences of such a meltdown may be greater than previously thought.
Greenhouse gas cuts are needed
Melting glaciers will contribute to sea level rise, threaten water supplies for billions of people and increase the risk of floods and other natural disasters.
If temperatures rise by just 1.5 degrees, average sea level could rise by 9 centimeters. If the current trend continues, a rise of 11.5 centimeters is likely.
These figures are 23 percent higher than previous research has shown.
Now researchers are sounding the alarm and pointing to the importance of reducing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions to limit the effects of melting glaciers.
– The end of skiing
Above all, it will affect small glaciers, which are the main source of water and employment for millions of people. This is especially true in central Europe and the high mountains of Asia.
– There are many small glaciers in these areas. “They are really at the center of society and economy in these places,” said Dr. David Rones, lead author behind the study. Guardian.
The Alps and the Pyrenees are at risk of losing most of their glaciers. By 2050, glaciers are expected to be 70 percent smaller, and even the smallest of them will already be completely gone.
Snow-capped mountain peaks are later replaced by rocks. This creates challenges for ski resorts. Wim Thierry, climate professor at the University of Brussels Sky News That he is pessimistic about their future
– By the end of the century, skiing in the Alps will be over, he says.
This winter has been particularly warm in Europe. Several countries have set January heat records, including Poland, which was 4 degrees warmer than the previous record.
– There is hope
Although the study’s findings aren’t very encouraging for the climate, study author Regine Haag believes the worst losses can be avoided.
– Whether that happens or not depends on the world’s decision makers, she says.
– If you reduce the temperature increase, the loss of glaciers will decrease. In that sense, he adds, there is some hope.
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