Half the planet’s glaciers will have melted by 2100 even if humanity sticks to goals set out in the Paris climate agreement, according to research that finds the scale and impacts of glacial loss are greater than previously thought. At least half of that loss will happen in the next 30 years.
Researchers found 49% of glaciers would disappear under the most optimistic scenario of 1.5C of warming. However, if global heating continued under the current scenario of 2.7C of warming, losses would be more significant, with 68% of glaciers disappearing, according to the paper, published in Science. There would be almost no glaciers left in central Europe, western Canada and the US by the end of the next century if this happened.
This will significantly contribute to sea level rise, threaten the supply of water of up to 2 billion people, and increase the risk of natural hazards such as flooding. The study looked at all glacial land ice except for Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.