Regional and global projections of twenty-first century glacier mass changes in response to climate scenarios from global climate models
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- Radić, V., Bliss, A., Beedlow, A.C. et al. Clim Dyn (2014) 42: 37. doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1719-7
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A large component of present-day sea-level rise is due to the melt of glaciers other than the ice sheets. Recent projections of their contribution to global sea-level rise for the twenty-first century range between 70 and 180 mm, but bear significant uncertainty due to poor glacier inventory and lack of hypsometric data. Here, we aim to update the projections and improve quantification of their uncertainties by using a recently released global inventory containing outlines of almost every glacier in the world. We model volume change for each glacier in response to transient spatially-differentiated temperature and precipitation projections from 14 global climate models with two emission scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) prepared for the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The multi-model mean suggests sea-level rise of 155 ± 41 mm (RCP4.5) and 216 ± 44 mm (RCP8.5) over the period 2006–2100, reducing the current global glacier volume by 29 or 41 %. The largest contributors to projected global volume loss are the glaciers in the Canadian and Russian Arctic, Alaska, and glaciers peripheral to the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Although small contributors to global volume loss, glaciers in Central Europe, low-latitude South America, Caucasus, North Asia, and Western Canada and US are projected to lose more than 80 % of their volume by 2100. However, large uncertainties in the projections remain due to the choice of global climate model and emission scenario. With a series of sensitivity tests we quantify additional uncertainties due to the calibration of our model with sparsely observed glacier mass changes. This gives an upper bound for the uncertainty range of ±84 mm sea-level rise by 2100 for each projection.