From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Location of the glacier
Mains level : Sea level rise and global warming
- Iceland loses about 11 billion tonnes of ice per year, and scientists fear that all of the island country’s 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200.
- In Iceland, people gathered to commemorate the loss of the glacier Okjokull, which was officially declared dead in 2014 at the age of 700.
Okjokull Glacier is now dead
- Okjokull, also called OK (jokull is Icelandic name for “glacier”), was part of the Langjökull group.
- The glacier was officially declared dead by the Icelandic Meteorological Office when it was no longer thick enough to move.
- What once was glacier has been reduced to a small patch of ice atop a volcano.
- The people attending the ceremony will walk up the volcano northeast of the capital Reykjavik to lay a plaque which carries a letter to the future.
- The plaque is also labelled “415 ppm CO2”, referring to the record level of carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere in May 2018.
Why is Iceland mourning?
- An ice-free Iceland represents more than just an identity crisis for Icelanders.
- If global leaders don’t take action to slow rising temperatures, the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet alone could raise sea-levels more than five feet in the next 200 years.
- Enormous quantities of methane slumbering in the Arctic permafrost are threatening to come alive as record temperatures fry the poles.
- Two fast-melting glaciers in Antarctica are holding back enough sea ice to flood oceans with another 11 feet of water.