POLITICS

Iceland Holds Funeral Honoring Glacier That Melted Away

A plaque on the former glacier warns that all glaciers might be gone within 200 years.

A funeral for a melted glacier was cold comfort for Icelanders worried about how climate change will affect their country.

On Sunday, about 100 officials, activists and others climbed up the remnants of the Okjokull glacier for a memorial service dedicated to what once was a massive chunk of ice that stretched six square miles.

The ceremony included the unveiling of a plaque honoring the melted glacier, which is now called just “Ok,” minus the Icelandic word for glacier, according to the Associated Press.

The funeral was a long time coming: Icelandic geologist Oddur Sigurðsson predicted the glacier extinction about a decade ago.

Organizers described the plaque as “a letter to the future” that warns all glaciers could follow Okjokull to extinction within the next 200 years, according to Sky News.

The words on the plaque read, “This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”

The plaque also includes the amount of carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere last May, a record-breaking 415 ppm CO2.

The two NASA photos below, one taken in 1986 (left) and the other in August of this year (right), show how the glacier has become a mere ghost of its former self.

Reuters notes that Iceland has been called the “Land of Fire and Ice” because of its combination of volcanoes and glaciers.

However, rising global temperatures are quickly changing the landscape, said Minik Rosing, a professor at the University of Copenhagen.

“There is no longer any doubt that the climate in the Arctic is changing markedly and rapidly,” Rosing said. “All of the Nordic countries comprise Arctic territories, where climate change has gone from theoretical predictions of the future to everyday reality.” 

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