Even if the planet only warms up by 1.5 degrees Celsius – which is what the signatories to the Paris climate agreement are aiming for – one-third of all Asian glaciers will have melted by 2100, according to a study carried out by Utrecht University researchers, which will be published in Nature on 14 September. The melting of the glaciers constitutes a serious problem, since millions of people are partially dependent on the meltwater of these glaciers.
The researchers used results from 110 different climate models for four different climate change scenarios. The results are alarming. If the planet warms up by just 1.5 degrees Celsius, some 36 percent of all the ice in Asia will have melted by the end of the century. At present, the region still contains so much ice that it is also known as the ‘Third Pole’. There are some 5,000 gigatons of ice in Asia, enough to fill about 2 billion Olympic-size swimming pools.
The consequences of an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius will be all too visible, particularly in the glaciers in the Himalayas and Tibet. More than half of these glaciers will have melted by 2100. And that is not all that will happen, the researchers predict.