Iceland Will Be Glacier-Free In 200 Years - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland Will Be Glacier-Free In 200 Years

Published March 17, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Iceland’s glaciers are disappearing at a troubling rate, and the country could be devoid of glaciers in as little as 200 years.

Glaciologist Oddur Sigurðsson told attendees of a meeting of The Iceland Touring Association last night that Iceland’s glaciers have been significantly shrinking for the past 20 years now. This, he said, has been scientifically proven to be a direct result of human-caused climate change.

If the glacial melting continues at its current rate, Iceland could be devoid of glaciers within 200 years – and possibly much sooner than that.

Oddur pointed out that one of the most significantly shrinking glaciers is Breiðamerkurjökull, a glacier stretching off from Vatnajökull and very near to Höfn. As reported, the glacier has melted so much that it is relieving pressure on the surrounding earth, resulting in Höfn rising in elevation by about 20 centimetres since just 1997. In 50 years’ time, the town could rise by as much as half a metre.

The precarious situation that Iceland’s glaciers are in has been known for some time now. Iceland’s remaining glaciers are melting at a rate of about 1.3 to 1.8 metres per year. If global climate trends continue as they have for the past two decades, even Iceland’s largest and thickest glaciers will be all but gone within the next two centuries.


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