Sunday, January 9, 2011

Climate change and glacier melting - Latest data

There have been many studies conducted with the purpose of determining the level of glacier melting and shrinkage in years to come, and the latest comes from the the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Here are some of the most interesting conclusions of this study:

1. Mountain glaciers and ice caps are projected to lose 15-27% of their volume by 2100, though this will significantly vary by region. It is expected that European Alps and New Zealand will shrink the most (by more than 70%) while on the other hand shrinkage is predicted to reach about 10% in Greenland and high-mountain Asia.

2. Melting of the glaciers will threaten the water supplies of cities such as Kathmandu in Nepal and La Paz in Bolivia, which depend substantially on glacial meltwater for drinking and farming.

3. Melting glaciers and ice caps will be responsible for increases in sea levels of 8.7-16.1cm by 2100 (this doesn't include ice loss from calving).

4. Total sea level rise is likely to be considerably higher but glacier melting has made a growing contribution to sea level rise over past decades.

5. Mountain glaciers and ice caps include less than one percent of all water on Earth bound in glacier ice but despite this their retreat has caused half of sea level rises from melting ice over the past 50 years.

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