There’s a widespread idea propagated by the mass-media that there is a debate surrounding the climate change. Firstly, one question is if there is indeed a climate change happening. Secondly, do humans influence the process and how. An overwhelming number of scientists claim that yes, climate change happens and our industrial activity is the biggest culprit.
Another research comes once again to confirm the hypothesis, this time related to glacier mass loss. Ben Marzeion, of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, lead a research team who conducted a study on the evolution of glaciers around the world. The research team used two methods to assess how glaciers changed over time.
Human activity influences the glacier mass loss, but oceans are influenced directly through increased mercury pollution, according to another recent study.
Rate of glacier mass loss increased in the last two decades
One method was the collection of observation on the glaciers’ evolution from 1851 until 2010. The other method rested on computer models which described the same evolution. Scientists reached the conclusion that one quarter of the glacier mass lost during the last one and a half century was lost as a result of human activity. Moreover, the rate of human influence on the loss of glacier mass increased up to around two thirds in the last two decades. We talk here about an acceleration of the process, as it increased steadily over time.
Marzeion says that glaciers need a long period to adjust to climate changes, ranging from decades to centuries. It means that the glaciers might react today to changes witnessed one to two centuries ago.
There was a Little Ice Age taking place in the Middle Ages that ended in the nineteenth century causing the glaciers to retreat all over the world. But the human influence accelerated the process. With the help of the recently established Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI), scientists were able to discern between natural and human causes of the glacier mass loss.
“While we keep factors such as solar variability and volcanic eruptions unchanged, we are able to modify land use changes and greenhouse gas emissions in our models,” says Ben Marzeion, who sums up the study: “In our data we find unambiguous evidence of anthropogenic contribution to glacier mass loss.”
The findings about the glacier mass loss are published in the article “Attribution of global glacier mass loss to anthropogenic and natural causes,” in Science journal.