Global glacier mass loss commitment

New study published in Nature Climate Change

Posted by Nicolas Champollion on March 28, 2018

A recent study jointly conducted by the University of Bremen and the University of Innsbruck has just been published in Nature Climate Change about glacier mass loss commitment. The main message can be summarized as follow: if all Greenhouse gas emissions stop today, one third of the total glacier ice mass is commited to melt at long-term ; if we reach a new climate equilibrium of the global mean temperature at 1.5, 2 and 3K above pre-industrial values, around 50, 60 and 75\% respectively are commited to melt. Those results can be translated into CO2 emissions thanks to the quasi-linear relationship between cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions and global mean temperature. It results that today each kg of emmited C02 into the atmosphere generates the commitment of ice melt around 15 kg at long-term. This amount of commited ice melt drops to 10, 9 and 6 kg if the global mean temperature is stabilized to 1.5, 2 and 3K respectively.

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Review of media articles

Two main press releases were written as well as a research highlight in the Nature journal:

  1. University of Bremen: Glacier mass loss: past the point of no return
  2. University of Innsbruck: Glacier mass loss: past the point of no return
  3. Nature journal: Glacier shrinkage is past the point of no return

Numerous medias wrote articles concerning this study among them Carbon Brief, The Weather Channel, Science Daily, Daily Mail, Phys.Org and International Business Times. Surprisingly, the main study message is best communicated in Breitart.

The whole press review is available here.

One interview has been done by Fabien Maussion for the Radio Television Suisse, in French.

The diffusion of the paper can be followed here, especially for Tweeter and Facebook. Valerie Masson-Delmotte, the lead of the Working Group 1 of IPCC, has shared information on Tweeter !

Future work

The Marzeion et al., 2012, model’s used in this study inspired the developpment of OGGM ! More about the study and the futur used of OGGM will respectively be presented at the European Geoscience Union in two weeks and at the OGGM workshop in Innsbruck next May.


Marzeion, Ben, Kaser, Georg, Maussion, Fabien and Champollion, Nicolas (2018). Limited influence of climate change mitigation on short-term glacier mass loss, Nature Climate Change, 10.1038/s41558-018-0093-1.

The paper is available here.