Green - Glaciers Get Expiration Dates
The world's glaciers are shrinking five times faster than they were in the 1960s because of man-made Global Warming, losing 369 billion tons of ice and snow annually.
New research appearing in the journal Nature looked at 19,000 glaciers to determine which were melting the fastest. The answer turned out to be "most of them", with the most-rapid melting going on in New Zealand and near the tropics, central Europe, the Caucasus region, western Canada, and the continental United States. These glaciers are experiencing average losses of more than one percent of their mass per year.
"In these regions, at the current glacier loss rate, the glaciers will not survive the century," said Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich, the lead author of the study.
The European Alps have more than 4,000 glaciers which provide seasonal water to millions and form some of Europe's most stunning landscapes. But if the nations of the world continue to ignore the Global Warming crisis - as they largely have been - the Alps would be practically ice-free in about eight decades.
"In this pessimistic case, the Alps in Europe will be mostly ice free by 2100, with only isolated ice patches remaining at high elevation, representing five percent or less of the present-day ice volume," said study co-author Matthias Huss, a researcher at the ETH Zurich university.
A third of Alpine ice could survive, but only if the nations of the world get it together and greenhouse gas emissions peak within a few years followed by a rapid reduction towards the century's end.