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Humans 'to blame' for 70pc of melt in glaciers

More than two-thirds of the recent rapid melting of the world's glaciers can be blamed on humans, a new study finds.

Scientists looking at glacier melt since 1851 didn't see a human fingerprint until about the middle of the 20th century.

Even then, only one-quarter of the warming wasn't from natural causes.

But since 1991, about 69pc of the rapidly increasing melt was man-made, said climate scientist Ben Marzeion.

"Glaciers are really shrinking rapidly now," he said. "I think it's fair to say most of it is man-made."

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Scientists fault global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Glaciers in Alaska and the Alps have more human-caused melting than the global average, Marzeion said.

The study is published in the journal Science.

The research is the first to calculate just how much of the glacial melting can be attributed to people and "the jump from about a quarter to roughly 70pc of total glacier mass loss is significant and concerning," said geophysicist Regine Hock, who wasn't part of the study.

The study showed that it took time for global warming and other factors to build up and cause melting.

That lag effect means the world is already locked into more rapid melting from the warming that has already occurred.

hnews@herald.ie


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