Glacier Retreats 240 Meters in Twenty Years

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Glacier Retreats 240 Meters in Twenty Years

By Zoë Robert
Sólheimajökull glacier

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Sólheimajökull glacier in South Iceland has retreated 240 meters over the past two decades, according to geologist Björn Oddsson.

Guide Jónas Grétar Sigurðsson said in an interview with ruv.is that the glacier is particularly sensitive to climate change. “It retreated eight meters last year and 40 meters the two previous years.” The black volcanic ash on the glacier has also caused the glacier to melt at an accelerated speed, he said. 

Up to 300 tourists visit the glacier daily during the summer months but the rapid melting has made it increasingly difficult for people to reach the glacier. “It causes a reservoir to form in front of the glacier …. Most entry points are melting away so in the coming months and years we will have to find another way to get on the ice,” Jónas said.

UPDATE: According to the Glacier Research Society of Iceland, the glacier has retreated 887 meters since 1995, not 240 meters.

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