Geneva: Glaciers from almost half of natural World Heritage sites – such as the Khumbu Glacier in the Himalayas – may disappear completely by 2100, if emissions continue at current rate, a study warns. The research is the first-ever global study of World Heritage glaciers – home to some of the world’s most iconic glaciers, such as the Grosser Aletschgletscher in the Swiss Alps, and Greenland’s Jakobshavn Isbrae, scientists said. The study, published in the journal Earth’s Future, predicts glacier extinction by 2100 under a high emission scenario in 21 of the 46 natural World Heritage sites where glaciers are currently found.
Even under a low emission scenario, eight of the 46 World Heritage sites will be ice-free by 2100. The study also expects that 33 per cent to 60 per cent of the total ice volume present in 2017 will be lost by 2100, depending on the emission scenario. “Losing these iconic glaciers would be a tragedy and have major consequences for the availability of water resources, sea level rise and weather patterns,” said Peter Shadie, Director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Heritage Programme
“This unprecedented decline could also jeopardize the listing of the sites in question on the World Heritage list. States must reinforce their commitments to combat climate change and step up efforts to preserve these glaciers for future generations,” Shadie said in a statement. Several iconic landscapes found in World Heritage sites will be impacted by rising temperatures. Glacier conservation could thus serve as a trigger to tackle the unprecedented issue of climate change. –PTI