A new study warns that nearly half of the world's glaciers could be lost by the end of this century, even if humanity manages to meet the global temperature target set out in the 2015 Paris climate change accord.
An international team including US-based researchers at Carnegie Mellon University published the study in the journal Science on January 5.
The researchers used computer simulations to calculate how much of the world's more than 210,000 glaciers would melt under different levels of global warming.
The results show that about 49 percent of the glaciers are likely to disappear in number by 2100, even if the world meets the Paris goal of limiting the rise in global mean temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Under the worst-case scenario of a planet that's 4 degrees warmer, the scientists say about 83 percent of glaciers would be lost. The melting ice would then cause sea levels to rise by about 15 centimeters.
Glaciers are already collapsing and causing floods, with warmer temperatures cited as a cause.
The authors of the latest study say that though it is too late to avoid losing many glaciers, "any effort to limit global mean temperature rise will have a direct effect on reducing how many glaciers will be lost."