A new study conducted by the researchers from the Universities of Bremen and Innsbruck have shown that Earth’s glaciers have passed the point of no return. The study has warned that melting over the next 100 years cannot be stopped even if emissions are slashed. The new study claims that 30 percent of glacier ice will melt regardless. The researchers concluded that even if all emissions were curtailed then also the melting of glaciers during the following 100 years would not be stopped.
One of the most destructive impacts of Global Warming and climate change is the melting of the Glaciers. These are considered as the sensitive indicators of climate change. The volume of ice contained by the glaciers is determined by the balance between accumulated snow and ice (input) and melting and calving (output). The climate change is disturbing the balance between inputs and outputs, resulting in a change in thickness and the advance or retreat of the glaciers. There are several factors like temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind speed, etc affect the balance between inputs and outputs.
However, research works published across the globe suggest that glaciers in the world are more sensitive to temperature than to other climatic factors. It is globally indicated that during the last century the wastage of mountain glaciers has raised sea level by between 0.2 to 0.4 mm/year, or roughly 20% of the observed change. It is estimated that by 2100 the sea level will rise by an additional 46 to 58 cm.
In the Paris Agreement, the member states agreed to restrict the rise in global average temperature to significantly below 2°C, if possible to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. It was concluded that this would put a check on global climate change. To investigate how much this plan mean for the evolution of glaciers, climate researchers Ben Marzeion and Nicolas Champollion from the Institute of Geography at the University of Bremen and Georg Kaser and Fabien Maussion from the Institute of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences at the University of Innsbruck, conducted this research. They investigated this by calculating the effects of compliance with these climate goals on the progressive melting of glaciers. They found that melting of glaciers have a great impact on the development of sea level rise. While conducting their research, they took into account all glaciers worldwide—without the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and peripheral glaciers—and modeled them in various climate scenarios.
The investigation suggests that one kilogram of CO2 emitted costs 15 kilograms of glacier ice. It further suggests that whether average temperature rises by 2 or only 1.5°C, it would not make any significant difference in the development of glacier mass loss over the next 100 years. The research also concluded that even if there would not be further emissions of greenhouse gases, around 36 percent of the ice still stored in glaciers today would melt. This means that more than a third of the glacier ice that still exists today in mountain glaciers can no longer be saved, even with the most ambitious measures says Ben Marzeion.