According to a study published Thursday in the journal Science, Earth could lose 83% of its glaciers by 2100 if temperatures increase by several degrees — a worst-case scenario the study considers unlikely.
Even in a low-emissions scenario — where temperature rises are kept within +1.5°C over baseline — the study finds 26% of Earth’s glaciers are expected to disappear by the end of the century.
The study presents a worrying picture. Scientists have raised the alarm —ice is melting faster worldwide, and it's going to get worse. While the melt itself is a natural process, global warming is not a process that will stop itself. It's high time the world comes up with bold new plans to prevent the potentially devastating rise in sea levels before they eventually inundate humanity living along the coastlines.
Ice melt is complicated. Whether discussing glaciers in Greenland, Antarctica, or otherwise, there are often conflicting data sets, and not all ice melt results in sea level rise. A nuanced understanding of Earth's "cryosphere" is superior to simple climate alarmism.
There are multiple methods to keep global warming in check besides slashing emissions — including capturing carbon from the Earth's oceans. But even these methods should not be seen as a silver bullet. Before countries start experimenting with the ocean's health, they must consider ecological, environmental, and economic benefits or risks to communities solely dependent on the sea for survival. This is a tricky and messy issue.
There's a 41% chance that large-scale solar radiation management will be used to mitigate the effects of climate change in the 21st century, according to the Metaculus prediction community.