Iceland’s glaciers have lost about 750 square kilometers, or 7% of their surface, since the early 2000s due to global warming, a study found.
Glaciers, which cover more than 10% of the country’s land area, decreased in 2019 to 10, 4 thousand square meters. km, the study says.
Since 1890, the area of land covered by glaciers has decreased by almost 2.2 thousand square meters. km or 18%. But almost a third of this process has occurred since 2000, according to the latest calculations by glaciologists, geologists and geophysicists. Experts have previously warned that Iceland’s glaciers are at risk of disappearing completely by 2200.
Ice retreat over the past two decades is almost equivalent to the total surface area of Hofsjokull, Iceland’s third largest ice cap: 810 sq. km.
In 2014, glaciologists stripped the Okjokull Glacier of Iceland’s first glacier status after it was determined to be composed of dead ice and no longer move like the rest.
Nearly all 220,000 glaciers in the world are losing mass at an increasingly rapid rate, according to the study: a fifth of the global sea level rise this century is from glaciers.
Analyzing images taken by NASA’s satellite, the authors found that between 2000 and 2019, the world’s glaciers lost an average of 267 billion tons of ice each year. The team also found that the rate of glacier melting accelerated dramatically over the same period.
In the period from 2000 to 2004, glaciers lost 227 billion tons of ice per year, and in the period 2015-2019, they decreased by an average of 298 billion tons per year.