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COP 21 – Dr Georg Kaser – Mountain Glaciers


The University of Earth: Urgent Action Series: COP 21 Paris 2015: Dr Georg Kaser – Mountain Glaciers

This video sees Pam Pearson and Dr Georg Kaser about glaciers and their slow decline over many years. It is a sad truth about climate change and how the mountain glaciers are melting. Sadly the shrinkage of the glaciers all over the worlds altogether make up about 40cm of sea level but they make up 1/3 of the current sea level rise. Sadly their disintegration is symbolic of a global struggle and inability to tackle the real negatives of climate change.

 

Mountain glaciers around the world, from the Himalayas to the Andes, are shrinking in the face of climate change—and that could pose a major threat to water resources for nearby communities.

 

Greenland and Antarctica house the world’s largest ice sheets, but ice can be found in high-altitude locations around the world, from Asia to Europe to South America. These mountain glaciers are important resources for human settlements. Glacial runoff, especially during the spring and summer, can provide a critical source of fresh water downstream.

 

Pause he video at 4:36 to see a perspective of 3 different scenarios that show in the worst case we will lose all glaciers but that is the worst case. There is an ambitious scenario of reaching 2.6degrees Dr Georg tells us and it means that even if we do meet targets we will still lose a massive amount if glaciers. He insists that although the correct aims and targets have been set we will still have a massive loss regardless.

 

When glaciers disappear, you have changes in downstream ecosystems, you might lose some species somewhere, others may take their place. But we still don’t know how this will cascade and affect the function of overall ecosystem. For example, aquatic insects are a vital source of food for other species higher up in the food chain, such as fish, which then sustain us.

The continued heating up of the planet will result in melting glaciers and other negative outcomes around the globe and this isn’t something we can continue to do. Lets hope we can continue with global warming targets and make good progression.

 

Links: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/shrinking-mountain-glaciers-are-affecting-people-downstream/ , http://sciencenordic.com/scientists-prepare-loss-mountain-glaciers

 

By Alex Mitchison

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