From Iceland — Climate Change Brings Irreversable Consequences, Icelanders Must Prepare

Climate Change Brings Irreversable Consequences, Icelanders Must Prepare

Published September 1, 2022

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Even if humanity stops all greenhouse gas emissions today, it is impossible to avert more disasters due to climate change. Icelanders, like other nations, must adapt to this reality, says the director of the Icelandic Met Office in an interview with Vísir.

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Icelanders, like other nations, must adapt to this reality, Árni Snorrason was reported to have said.

Ocean acidification and rising sea levels are part of the climate changes that are currently taking place. They happen faster on the ice caps than anywhere else in the world. The latest research indicates that the melting of the Greenland glacier could lead to sea levels rising by almost 30 centimetres by the end of the next century.

If we don’t take measures, worst-case scenarios suggest that sea levels could rise by up to two metres. Such an increase, together with more continuous storms, could have major consequences in Iceland as elsewhere in the world.

Árni Snorrason, director of the Icelandic Met Office, says: “Yes, the situation is very alarming. It has, of course, been clear for a long time around the snow and ice in the mountains, the Alps, and elsewhere that we have long reached a point where it will be very difficult to turn back.”

“People need to face the fact that summers like this one could be familiar scenarios in the year 2100,” he adds.

The rise of the sea level can bring great challenges for Iceland. This needs to be taken into account when developing infrastructure in Reykjavík and elsewhere in the country.

“Scenarios and risk assessments must, of course, be developed. So we adjust land use and our infrastructure to meet these challenges,” says Árni.

The effects of climate change on water management, glaciers, and more, have been researched in the energy sector for decades. The government has also taken steps to develop a regulatory framework for integration and presented a policy in a white paper. The work is underway for action plans for most areas of society.

“It is clear that sea level changes are one of the key issues going into the future. But there are also changes in water flow and drainage issues in municipalities, which will be a big challenge,” says Árni.

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