Iceland mourns its first glacier lost due to global warming
Monday, 19 August 2019
The commemorative plaque was unveiled at the former Okjökull (not pictured) site in western Iceland at 16:00 on Sunday.
Iceland unveiled a plaque to commemorate Okjökull, the country’s first glacier to disappear because of global warming, on Sunday.
Scientists are using it as a symbol and example to warn people about the consequences of climate change.
The commemorative plaque was unveiled at the former Okjökull (literally “Ok glacier” in Icelandic) site in western Iceland at 4:00 PM on Sunday.
Icelandic Prime minister Katrin Jakobsdottir and former United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson attended the ceremony.
“This will be the first-ever monument to a glacier that disappeared because of global warming,” anthropology professor Cymene Howe said in July. Howe, from Rice University in the United States, came up with the idea of a plaque.
The plaque says “A letter for the future” in both Icelandic and English, written in gold. Researchers hope it will make the population aware of receding glaciers and the effects of global warming.
The plaque also bears the slogan “415 ppm CO2”, a reference to the new record level of carbon dioxide concentration in the air recorded in May.
Howe and her colleague Dominic Boyer said Iceland loses around eleven billion tonnes of ice every year. Scientists are worried the 400 glaciers in the sub-arctic country will disappear over the next 200 years.
Okjökull had shrunk to 0.7km2 by 2012, despite measuring 16km2 in 1890, according to a report by Iceland University published in 2017.