Get there while you can; Iceland's glaciers are shrinking fast

iceland
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter

It's probably the worst photo ever posted on TreeHugger, taken by me near the Solheimajokull glacier in Iceland on a very foggy hike. I may not get another opportunity; on the Daily Climate, Cheryl Katz describes how the glacier is disappearing.

The glacier, Solheimajokull, a tongue of ice reaching toward Iceland's southeast coast, has become an apologue of climate change in recent years: Retreating an average of one Olympic pool-length every year for the past two decades due to climbing temperatures, warming ocean currents and disrupted seasons.

Crouching under 90-mile-an-hour gusts on a stormy autumn day, visitors to Solheimajokull see a rash of dirt cones poking through grey-streaked snow, while piles of rocks, gravel moraines and a now-empty glacial bed about a half-mile away attest to the former reach of this dying giant.

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

It is a rapidly accelerating problem.

And with the melt rate speeding up as climate change effects intensify and feed off each other, Iceland could lose 30 percent of its glacial mass by 2050 according to [glaciologist] Bjornsson.

If temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the next century – the maximum acceptable increase set by nations at the United Nations climate talks – Bjornsson calculates that Iceland's glaciers will be no more than small "ice museums" atop the highest peaks as early as the mid-2100s.

Read the whole article at The Daily Climate and read about my Lessons in Living With Less on Iceland's Laugavegurinn Hiking Trail.

Tags: Global Warming Effects | Iceland

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