4.8 Article

Global glacier change in the 21st century: Every increase in temperature matters


Volume 379, Issue 6627, Pages 78-83


DOI: 10.1126/science.abo1324



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Glacier mass loss, resulting from temperature increase, will lead to sea level rise and glacier disappearance. By 2100, glaciers are projected to lose 26% to 41% of their mass, equivalent to 90mm to 154mm sea level rise, and 49% to 83% of glaciers will disappear. Reductions in temperature increase can reduce mass loss. Based on COP26 climate pledges, a global mean temperature increase of 2.7 degrees C is projected, which would contribute to a sea level rise of 115mm and widespread deglaciation in most mid-latitude regions by 2100.
Glacier mass loss affects sea level rise, water resources, and natural hazards. We present global glacier projections, excluding the ice sheets, for shared socioeconomic pathways calibrated with data for each glacier. Glaciers are projected to lose 26 +/- 6% (+1.5 degrees C) to 41 +/- 11% (+4 degrees C) of their mass by 2100, relative to 2015, for global temperature change scenarios. This corresponds to 90 +/- 26 to 154 +/- 44 millimeters sea level equivalent and will cause 49 +/- 9 to 83 +/- 7% of glaciers to disappear. Mass loss is linearly related to temperature increase and thus reductions in temperature increase reduce mass loss. Based on climate pledges from the Conference of the Parties (COP26), global mean temperature projected to increase by +2.7 degrees C, which would lead to a sea level contribution of 115 +/- 40 millimeters and cause widespread deglaciation in most mid-latitude regions by 2100.


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