“Iceland’s glaciers unlikely to be saved”

23.09.2021 - 16:21
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Þorvarður Árnason
The history and status of Iceland’s glaciers should be recorded and action needs to start right away, according to geologist Oddur Sigurðsson, who says it is essential to keep records as the glaciers melt.

Iceland’s glaciers are totally dependent on climactic conditions and they will disappear, he says. In their place, the children of the future will see plants and rocks, and even birch forests. The glaciers will be completely gone in about 200 years, in all likelihood. Regardless of what humans do to tackle climate change, it is probably already too late to save Iceland's glaciers.

“And with them goes their history as well, which would be a real loss if we don’t record it,” Oddur told RÚV TV news; likening the potential loss to the Copenhagen harbour fire of 1728.  

Land and sea levels both rise with the melting of glaciers. Oddur says people will notice widespread effects of the melting which have not yet been recorded or even envisaged. There is therefore no benefit to waiting: we are already losing history, and quickly. 

“Every year we lose five years of history, because a thousand years of glacial history is melting in 200 years.” 

(This article has been updated. A previous version mistakenly described Oddur Sigurðsson as a geographer. He is, in fact, a geologist.)

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