Research highlight

Ice-cap melt

Nature Geoscience

January 10, 2011

Mountain glaciers and ice caps are projected to lose between 15 and 27% of their volume by 2100, according to a study published online in Nature Geoscience. In some regions, losses in ice volume could be as high as 75%, with potential implications for regional water availability.

Valentina Radic and Regine Hock simulated the response of 2,638 ice caps and 120,229 mountain glaciers worldwide to the changes in climate projected by 10 state-of-the-art climate models. Upscaling these results to 19 regions that contain all of the mountain glaciers and ice caps, they found the smallest losses in glacier volume in Greenland and high-mountain Asia, and the largest losses in the European Alps and New Zealand.

The estimated sea level rise from global glacier wastage falls between 0.087 and 0.161 m which is broadly in line with the range projected by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change.

doi: 10.1038/ngeo1052

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