Iceland’s glaciers have retreated by 500 square kilometres since the turn of the century, and are continuing to melt.
RÚV reports furthermore that the glaciers are shrinking by about 40 square kilometres – an area almost roughly the size of Reykjavík – each year.
Many of Iceland’s glaciers have already exhibited highly visible signs of retreat. For example, Hoffellsjökull glacier has retreated so much that a lake has formed before it, comprised of melted glacial ice.
As reported, if glacial melting continues at its current rate, Iceland could be completely without glaciers within the next 200 years.
The melting of the glaciers has already started to have an environmental impact on the country. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can increase if glaciers that rest upon volcanoes and fault lines melt further, and the melting of Breiðamerkurjökull, an offshoot of the giant Vatnajökul glacier, has already caused the town of Höfn í Hornafirði to rise above sea level by about 20 centimetres since just 1997. In 50 years’ time, the town could rise by as much as half a metre.
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