What Does Climate Change look like ?
A glacier on top of Iceland’s Ok volcano slowly melted due to the warming climate and disappeared in 2014. Satellite images from 1986 to 2014 show its decline.
Ok Glacier Melts
A once Iconic Glacier is now gone. On August 18th, 2019 A team of scientists and others placed a memorial for the lost glacier on top of the inactive volcano that the glacier once covered. These pictures show the melting glacier on top of Ok volcano in Iceland that was declared lost in 2015. The full name of the glacier was OkJökull “Jökull” is how you say "glacier" in Icelandic.
Over 100 years ago Ok glacier covered about 15 square miles. In 1978 the glacier had shrunk to about 1 square mile. Today the glacier no longer exists.
Photo: Rice University.
Look on the bottom of the memorial above and you will see "415 ppm (parts per million) C02 (carbon dioxide). This number is referring to a disappointing record that was set in May of 2019 of the highest concentration of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide gas comes from burning fossil fuels and is created with the pollution we humans make. Carbon dioxide gas traps heat and causes earth's temperatures to increase known as global warming. Ice covers about 10 percent of the island of Iceland. Ice is an important part of the landscape and ecosystem. Loss of all of this massive glacial ice has wide-ranging effects. It impacts water resources, infrastructure, and even the rising of the land as it rebounds under a lighter load of ice. Global warming causes Icelandic glaciers to lose 11 billion tons of ice every year.
Björnsson, H. (2016) Glaciers of the Central Highlands. The Glaciers of Iceland, 275–336.
Earth Institute, Columbia University (2019, August 1) Iceland to Commemorate the Demise of Okjökull Glacier. Accessed August 8, 2019.
Rice University News & Media (2019, July 18) Lost glacier to be honored with memorial monument. Accessed August 8, 2019.
Slate (2019, July 24) How Can You Tell When a Glacier Is Dead? Accessed August 8, 2019.
U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1746, Geographic Names of Iceland’s Glaciers: Historic and Modern. Accessed August 8, 2019.