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Iceland Bids Farewell to the First Glacier due to Climate Change

Aug 20, 2019

Officials and scientist in Iceland have bid farewell to Okjokull, the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change. About 100 people climbed for two hours on Sunday to the top of the Ok volcano in west-central Iceland, where the Okjökull or “Ok glacier” once stood, to commemorate the funeral with poetry, moments of silence and speeches.

Okjokull stretched to about 16 square kilometers in 1890 and now there is only a small patch of ice left in its place. Researchers also installed a bronze memorial plaque at the site to serve as a tombstone for the glacier.

It also has a message written: A letter to the future” and the plaque is also labeled “415 ppm CO2” — a reference to the record level of carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere in May.

The message on the plaque reads in English and Icelandic, “Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the coming 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same end.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir were also there at the funeral with a group of researchers and Icelanders.

Okjökull was given its glacier status in 2014 by the geologists. According to a 2017 report from the University of Iceland, the 16 square kilometers large Okjökull measured just 0.7 square kilometers by 2012.

Scientists suggest that some 400 other glaciers on the subarctic island are also at the same risk. The island reportedly loses about 11 billion tonnes of ice per year, and scientists fear all the country’s glaciers will be gone by 2200.

As per a study if the greenhouse gas emissions pass at the current rate, then nearly half of the world’s heritage sites might lose their glaciers by 2100.

The melting of glaciers is an outcome of climate change.
Tags: Iceland  Iceland Glacier  Okjokull Glacier  first glacier of Iceland  climate change  nature loss  glacier melting  

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