Iceland's Glaciers Receding Fast

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Iceland's Glaciers Receding Fast

By Benedikt Jóhannesson

The eastern part of Heinabergsjökull receded by one kilometer last year, according to the measurements of the Icelandic Society for Glacial Research (Jöklarannsóknarfélag Íslands). This is the greatest reduction of a glacier tongue in 2013.

Heinabergsjökull is to the west of Hornafjörður in the southeastern part of Vatnajökull. A lagoon has now been formed at the end of the glacier. The western part of the glacier has grown be 28 meters at the same time as the eastern part melted. The explanation according to Oddur Sigurðsson, a scientist writing for the society's newsletter, is that the eastern part is thicker and covered with rocks, thus forming a shield against melting.

That part will also start to recede fast and the lagoon will grow bigger. Many other glacial tongues have diminished in the past few years, for example Eystri-Hagafellsjökull in Langjökull glacier, which receded by 152 meters in 12 months and half a kilometer in the past four years. Öldufellsjökull in the northeastern part of Mýrdalsjökull glacier is now 400 meters shorter than it was four years ago, RÚV reports.

The photo above shows Gígjökull, a glacial tongue that many tourists stopped and checked on their way to Þórsmörk. The photo on the left was taken in 2013, but the one on the right in 2000 by the company Loftmyndir.

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