By 2100, two out of three glaciers could disappear due to climate change. The study published in the journal Science and led by the US Carnegie Mellon University leaves no way out, and this is the worst case scenario. Research indicates that the most threatened glaciers are the smallest, those less than 1 square kilometer in size, and are found in central Europe, including the Alps, western Canada and the United States.
The study authors said: "The way glaciers respond to climate change takes a long time. Even an immediate reduction in emissions will not remove previously emitted greenhouse gases, nor can it instantly shut down all the ongoing processes that contribute to climate change.
This means that even a complete shutdown of emissions would still take between 30 and 100 years to be reflected in glacier mass loss rates."
By 2100, 2 out of 3 glaciers will become extinct due to the climate crisis
Glacier melt rates, observe researchers led by David Rounce, have steadily increased in recent decades and these processes will profoundly affect, among other things, sea level rise and the availability of fresh water for billions of people.
Being able to predict glacier mass loss as accurately as possible is therefore critical to understanding how the environment will change and to guiding future global climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. Based on current climate policy commitments, which project global temperatures to rise by 2.7 degrees, we are likely to see almost all sea ice disappear from entire regions.
This, in turn, will result in a much greater contribution to rising sea levels than expected, with major impacts on water supply, tourism and local culture.
The new model, based on an unprecedented amount of data on all of the Earth's glaciers, more than 215,000, and on the various forecasts of global temperature increase.
The results show that glaciers will lose between 26% and 41% of their mass by the end of the century, depending on a temperature increase of between 1.5 and 4 degrees. This means that, in the best case, about 50% of the glaciers will disappear, while in the worst case scenario, 80% will be lost, about two out of three.