Recent 3D modelling estimates how climate change will affect the Aletsch Glacier. In the worst case scenario modeled by researchers at the federal technology institute ETH Zurich, only a few small patches of ice would remain.
Aletsch, the largest glacier in Switzerland and the Alps, currently stretches over 23 km from its 4,000m high starting point in the Jungfrau region to the Massa Gorge, roughly 2500 m below.
The glacier has already receded by a kilometre since 2000 and scientists predict this trend will continue.
Researchers at ETH Zurich used a 3D glacier model to map three different regional global warming scenarios. Each scenario uses different atmospheric greenhouse concentrations that result in different temperature increases.
The three scenarios include temperature increases of 2 degrees, 2-4 degrees and 4-8 degrees – higher than the 1960–1990 reference period.
In the worst scenario nearly all of the ice will be gone by 2100. Even in the best scenario of 2 degrees of warming, around half of the glacier will melt.
ETH Zurich study (In English)