The Matanuska Glacier is located about 100 miles northeast of Anchorage, close to Palmer. It is thinning off like many glaciers in Alaska.
According to a recent analysis, glaciers are expected to lose a lot more ice and contribute more to sea level rise than current scientific projections indicate. Even if the world’s ambitious global climate targets are met, researchers determined that up to half of glaciers could disappear by the end of the century using new satellite data to forecast various climate change scenarios.
Over 215,000 glaciers slither and crawl over the mountains of the planet, expanding when it snows and contracting when it is hotter. They are a major cause of sea level rise, a threat to the billions of people who live along the world’s coastlines, and they supply fresh water to roughly 2 billion people.
Although it has long been understood that these enormous ice “rivers,” some of which are hundreds of thousands of years old, are extremely vulnerable to the climate problem, it has been difficult to predict how glaciers will respond to various climate scenarios.
However, in recent years there has been “a revolution in using satellite photos to track glacial changes,” according to Rounce, a glaciologist at Carnegie Mellon University enabling researchers to estimate the size of each glacier.
The researchers forecasted what would happen to the world’s more than 215,000 mountain glaciers by the end of the century under a range of temperature increases, including 1.5 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees Celsius, 3 degrees Celsius, and 4 degrees Celsius, excluding the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
If temperature increases reach 4 degrees Celsius, their modelling predicts that glaciers will lose 41% of their mass by the end of the century compared to 2015.
Glaciers are expected to lose 26% of their mass by the end of the century, even if temperature increases are maintained to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a goal that the world is not currently on track to fulfil. According to the analysis, even the best-case climatic scenario could result in up to half of the world’s glaciers disappearing by 2100.
The disappearance of these glaciers, particularly across time frames that are within our lifetimes or the lifetimes of our children, is really concerning, according to Rounce.Sea level rise will undoubtedly be impacted by shrinking glaciers. According to the study, a 1.5-degree Celsius warming would result in a rise in sea level of 90 millimeters (3.5 inches), as opposed to 154 millimeters (6 inches) under a 4-degree Celsius warming. Even though some glacier loss is inevitable, Rounce emphasized that any attempt to combat climate change will assist to stop further losses. Even a slight decrease in temperature change can have a significant effect.