By 2100, half of the land now covered by glaciers, excluding Antarctica and Greenland, could be replaced by new ecosystems. From Nepal to Finland: the study published in the journal Nature and led by the Conservatory of Natural Areas of Haute-Savoie in Annecy, France, describes a shivering scenario.
According to the study, these new environments will be able to give refuge to many species adapted to living in cold climates and now in danger due to climate change caused by human activities, however to the detriment of other species.
The new habitats that will take the place of the current ones will be 78% terrestrial, for example forests and grasslands, 14% marine, therefore characterized by the presence of brackish water, and 8% fresh water such as rivers, streams and lakes.
Unbelievable but true: New habitats are replacing the glaciers
Researchers led by Jean-Baptiste Bosson have developed a mathematical model that simulates the global evolution of the 650 thousand square kilometers of glaciers currently present on our planet.
According to the data obtained, the retreat of glaciers will occur at a similar rate for everyone until 2040, regardless of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. If pollutant emissions triple by 2075, about half of the glaciers will be at risk of disappearing.
If by 2050 we manage to eliminate emissions to zero, the losses would be smaller, affecting only 22% of the areas covered by ice. According to the authors of the study, understanding these post-glacial ecosystems is a new goal for researchers working in this field, which complements the ongoing efforts to mitigate the decline of glaciers already underway.
The researchers highlight, in fact, that these environments, still little recognized and quantified, will play a fundamental role when the climate changes further, at least partially counteracting the loss of biodiversity and the problem of scarcity of fresh water.
The future of the planet's glaciers, bar none, is highly at risk, with much uncertainty about the impact there will be on our beloved bu fragile planet.