Iceland’s Vanishing Ice Threatens Culture, Society

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“Some of the country’s glaciers have vanished already and several others will be gone within a decade or two, said Bjornsson, one of the leading scientists to quantify the link between glacial loss and greenhouse gas-induced warming.

A generation from now there may not be enough water to drive turbines or slake a nation’s thirst. Dust storms will swirl over dry glacier beds while huge expanses of exposed earth erode.

Without glaciers, one resident quipped, Iceland is “just land.”

Happening Now

Effects are already beginning to appear. Bjornsson tells of Iceland’s longest bridge, a half-mile span over the Skeidara River which drains from the massive Vatnajokull ice cap down to the island’s south coast.

“A few years ago, the river disappeared and now this bridge, the longest bridge in Iceland, is just standing there, and there’s no water underneath it,” he said. “So it looks like we are crazy here in Iceland.”

On this Kentucky-sized island one is never far from the ice — look up from just about anywhere and you’ll see towering white peaks and hanging glacier-filled valleys — and Icelanders are feeling its loss in a variety of ways.”

Read more: Kitsap Sun

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