A study conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that many glaciers which come under UNESCO&rsquos World Heritage Site are likely to disappear by 2050.
Due to global warming, these glaciers lose 58 billion tons of ice every year. They are those 10 per cent of the Earth&rsquos glacerised areas which are protected and support a huge amount of biodiversity.
However, the report also revealed that though one-third out of 50 glaciers that are UNESCO&rsquos World Heritage Sites will disappear, with a rapid reduction in our CO2 emission levels, we can save the rest of the two-thirds.
The report was released in November, ahead of the climate action summit COP27-Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference in Egypt states that the glaciers in a third of the sites are destined to vanish by 2050, irrespective of our efforts to stop the temperature rise. &ldquoBut, it is still possible to save the glaciers in the remaining two-thirds of sites if the rise in temperatures does not exceed 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period,&rdquo said UNESCO.
Lack of sustainable finance is one of the biggest issues preventing effective management and protection of such World Heritage sites. Therefore, UNESCO stated, it is imperative to overcome the funding gap so that policies for effective glacier monitoring can be put into place. This may be done by establishing an international fund for glaciers to support in-depth research and develop effective reaction plans.
UNESCO has been pushing for a global fund for glacier monitoring and preservation in order to support ongoing research, implement early warning systems, and carry out disaster risk reduction strategies for the planet's priceless ice.
Here are five glaciers that are likely to disappear by 2050.
Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, China
The upper Yangtse (Jinsha), Mekong (Lancang), and Salween (Nu) rivers have 2,000-meter-deep gorges that run parallel for more than 300 kilometres between the eight clusters of mountainous protected areas in northwest Yunnan, where the Tibetan plateau bends south and splits into steep glaciated chains running north-south. There are several glaciers, waterfalls, 118 peaks that rise above 5,000 metres, and countless small lakes. It is the centre of China's biodiversity. They are also the list's fastest-melting glacier with the highest mass loss relative to the year 2000 (57.2%).
Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro has a height of 5,895 metres, and glaciers' bases are shielded by the northern and southern icefields. Unfortunately, since the snow on Kilimanjaro has been gradually diminishing over time, the icefields have been more exposed, which has led to greater glacier melting. Studies in Kilimanjaro's Northern Ice Field have determined that glaciers here are most likely 11,700 years old. The ice cover of Mount Kilimanjaro has been mapped since the early 1900s. It's been found that since 1912, more than 80% of Kilimanjaro's entire ice cover has already vanished. Furtwangler, Rebmann, Credner and Arrow glaciers are some of them which are currently endangered.
Mount Kenya, Kenya
Mount Kenya is the second-highest summit in Africa, rising 5,199 metres. It is a long-extinct volcano that is considered to have reached a height of 6,500 m when it was active (3.1&ndash2.6 million years ago). The mountain has 12 remaining glaciers that are all fast melting, and it also has four subsidiary summits that are located at the heads of U-shaped glacial valleys. According to the study, it is anticipated to lose its glacial cover by 2050, making it one of the first complete mountain ranges to do so as a result of human-caused climate change.
Glaciers in Los Alerces National Park, Argentina
Northern Patagonia's Los Alerces National Park is situated in the Andes, and the Chilean border forms its western boundary. The environment in the area has been shaped by several glaciations, resulting in amazing features, including moraines, glacial cirques, and clear-water lakes. Dense temperate woods predominate the flora, which gives place to alpine meadows further up beneath the stony Andean peaks. Its alerce forest, which contains the critically endangered alerce tree, is a particularly unique and symbolic feature. It is the second glacier on the list with the biggest mass loss, at 45.6% compared to 2000.
Yellowstone National Park, The United States Of America
Over the past 2.6 million years, there have been multiple glacial periods in Yellowstone and most of North America. A glacier deposit at Tower Fall in Yellowstone is 1.3 million years old, which is rare to be found. The area was covered by the Bull Lake glaciers between 151,000 and 160,000 years ago. The Pinedale glacial, the last significant ice age in the Yellowstone region, is estimated to have ended 21,000 years ago in the east, 20,000 years ago in the north, and maybe as recently as 15,000&ndash16,000 years ago in the south. Sadly, glaciers in Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park are likely to disappear by 2050.