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Global Warming Causes Rising Concern in Höfn

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Global Warming Causes Rising Concern in Höfn

Höfn, Hornafjörður.

From Höfn harbor, Hornafjörður. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Global warming has a big impact in Höfn, Hornafjörður, Southeast Iceland, where land rises as the weight of glaciers decreases, RÚV reports. The town lies just south of Vatnajökull glacier, and residents of the district are close to 2,200. The Southeast Iceland Nature Research Center has records of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier (an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull) since 1860.

“The melting is the equivalent of having removed meltwater, filling a 20-foot container, and we would remove 2,000 such containers every hour for 120 years. That’s the amount of ice which has disappeared from Breiðamerkurjökull glacier alone,” explained Snævarr Guðmundsson, specialist at the Nature Research Center.

Glacial melting is also obvious in Hoffellsjökull glacier, another outlet glacier of Vatnajökull.

As the weight of glaciers decreases, the land rises. “The flow of the glacial rivers changes. The mouth of the river, where ships sail into Hornafjörður, is changing from what it was a few decades ago. Plumbing changes somewhat, sewage and water pipes, as the land rises,” stated Kristín Hermannsdóttir, meteorologist and head of the Nature Research Center. She told RÚV that the land rises by 14 millimeters (0.55 in) a year.

The district has signed an agreement with the Icelandic Environment Association, aiming at reducing greenhouse gas emission in the community by 3 percent a year by using environmentally friendlier cars, by sorting garbage, including organic waste, and by reducing food waste.

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