From Iceland — Unlikely That Icelandic Glaciers Could Be Saved

Unlikely That Icelandic Glaciers Could Be Saved

Published September 23, 2021

Reetta Huhta
Photo by
Art Bicnick

According to a geologist Oddur Sigurðsson, it is unlikely that Icelandic glaciers could be saved. He emphasises the importance of recording the history of the glaciers, so the story of them is not lost as well, reports RÚV.

On the report of Hrafnhildur Hannesdóttir et al.’s research article about the national glacier inventory, Icelandic glaciers have decreased by over 2,200 square kilometres. Larger glaciers have lost up to 10-30% of their area, while the number for medium-sized glaciers is 80%.

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During the first two decades of 21st century, glaciers have shrunk approximately 40 square kilometres per year. During this period, several dozen small glaciers have disappeared altogether.

As glaciers melt, the land and sea level rise, which will most likely cause several types of problems that have not yet occurred.

The only way to slow down the change would be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep global warming less than one and a half degrees, Oddur commented to RÚV earlier this year. However, he was not optimistic that the glaciers could be saved. Therefore, he underlined that the history of the glaciers should be captured. “With the glaciers melting, their story will also be lost,” he said.

According to Oddur, the recording should start immediately. “Every year we lose five years of history, because the thousand-year-old story of glaciers is melting in two hundred years.”

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