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Iceland Mag


Icelandic glaciers have shrunk by 500 square km since turn of the century

By Staff

  • Hoffellsjökull glacier This photo taken in 2017 shows the lagoon which has formed at the tip of this outlet glacier from Vatnajökull. Photo/IMO

  • Hoffellsjökull 35 years ago This photo shows hom much the glacier has retreated. Photo/IMO

Icelandic glaciers could all but disappear by the end of the century if current trends hold. Vatnajökull will be the last Icelandic glacier to disappear. Langjökull glacier will lose 85% of its volume, while the volume of Hofsjökull and the southern part of Vatnajökull glacier will shrink by 60% according to a report prepared for the Ministry of Environment by scientists at the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Read more: Glaciers in North Iceland shrank during the winter of 2016-17

Icelandic glaciers have shrunk by 2,000 square kilometers since the the end of the 19th century when they were at their maximum size since the settlement of Iceland in the ninth century. The glaciers have shrunk by 500 square kilometers since the turn of the 20th century. The result of the receding of the glaciers includes rivers shifting and new glacial lagoons being formed, while other lagoons have disappeared.

The report looks at different scenarios. Temperatures are expected to rise by at least 0.3°C by the end of this century, and by as much as 4.8°C. Scientists at IMO expect the temperature in Iceland to rise by 1.3-2.3°C.

Read more: Only 3% of Icelanders deny humans are responsible for global climate change

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