New Report Paints Worrying Picture of Glacier Melt


UNESCO says some of the most well-known glaciers in the world will have melted by 2050. They include the Dolomites in Italy, Mt Kilimanjaro and those in the Yosemite & Yellowstone parks in the USA. Alpine glaciers will also be affected. NEW

UNESCO monitors around 18,600 glaciers, about 10% of the world’s glacier areas, across 50 of its World Heritage sites.

It says that a third of those could melt by 2050.

UNESCO-protected glaciers are losing 58 billion tonnes of ice every year – that’s equivalent to the total combined annual amount of water used in France and Spain.

The report makes its projections based on satellite data and comes as world leaders prepare to meet in Egypt for next week’s COP27 climate change conference.

“As glacier keep retreating at an accelerated rate, glacial hazards such as glacial lake outburst floods are likely to increase and have disastrous consequences for the populations and biodiversity of entire regions downstream,” warns the UNESCO report.

Limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is the only way to save the remaining glaciers according to scientists.

Last summer a collapsing glacier in the Dolomites in Italy killed 11 people.

Marmolada ice collapse. Image c/o Alpine rescue services.

Marmolada ice collapse. Image c/o Alpine rescue services.

Other mountain regions watched the situation closely as warm summer temperatures gripped the Alps.

The summer heat had a significant impact on glacier skiing with resorts closing their slopes.

Les2Alpes, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Les2Alpes, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Here at the World Heritage sites listed as having glaciers that will disappear by 2050:

  • Hyrcanian Forests (Iran)
  • Durmitor National Park (Montenegro)
  • Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
  • Huanlong Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
  • Yellowstone National Park (United States of America)
  • Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest (Kenya)
  • Pyrenees Mont Perdu (France, Spain)
  • Rwenzori Mountains National Park (Uganda)
  • Putorana Plateau (Russia)
  • Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona (Switzerland)
  • Nahanni National Park (Canada)
  • Lorentz National Park (Indonesia)
  • Natural System Of Wrangel Island Reserve (Russia)
  • Kilimanjaro National Park (Tanzania)
  • Yosemite National Park (United States of America)
  • The Dolomites (Italy)
  • Virgin Komi Forests (Russia)
Mont Fort glacier, Verbier. Image © PlanetSKI

Mont Fort glacier, Verbier. Image © PlanetSKI

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