Sunny Summer in the Cards, Meteorologist Predicts

This year’s summer in Iceland will be sunny, warm and dry, according to meteorologist Sigurður Þ. Ragnarsson.

Sigurður, who’s colloquially known as Siggi the Storm, told Stöð 2 that the recent cold spell is over, if the latest forecasts are to be believed. “The good times are coming,” he said. “This weekend marked a big shift and we’re entering a period of lovely, mild weather.”

Nice week ahead

The south of Iceland will see 10 to 15 degrees Celsius, with the warmest temperatures along the coastal areas. Clear skies are mostly to be expected, even if some clouds will sneak in along the western coasts. “The headline is this,” Sigurður said. “Summer is coming and we’re seeing it in the forecasts. I’m very optimistic about the look of this week.”

He went on to say that long-term forecasts showed a run-of-the-mill May, bright and cool, but that warmth and cloudless skies can be expected from the beginning of June. “The forecasts are showing a warm summer through June, July and August,” Sigurður added. “And that there will be little precipitation this summer, meaning that we’ll have a sunny summer across the country. I like what I’m seeing ahead. It begins today and tomorrow.”

Minister Won’t Comment on Whaling License

Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, minister of food, agriculture and fisheries

Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, the new minister of food, agriculture and fisheries, will not comment on whether a whaling license will be issued this year, Morgunblaðið reports.

“I will not tell the press what I plan to do until I’ve made my decision,” she said this week. “And I don’t yet have all the necessary information that I need to make that decision.”

No hope of whaling, said CEO

As noted by Iceland Review last weekend, Kristján Loftsson, the CEO of Hvalur, Iceland’s only whaling operation, said that there was “no hope of whaling this summer” as things stand. On January 30, the company applied for a whaling license after its previous one had expired. The ministry did not respond until the middle of March, when it requested clarification from Hvalur on whether the company followed certain laws and stipulations.

Hvalur’s response was submitted on March 21 and the company has not heard back from the ministry since. Kristján has said that Bjarkey’s party, the Left-Green Movement, was methodically trying to “destroy the industry”.

No time limit stipulated

Kristján said that Bjarkey’s ministry, which was headed by her Left-Green colleague Svandís Svavarsdóttir before a cabinet reshuffling earlier this month, was only open to granting a one-year license, which would effectively make it impossible for the industry to operate, in his opinion. He added that without a license in hand at this point in time, the company can’t start hiring people or buying supplies for this summer’s whaling season.

Bjarkey added that the matter is being handled in a proper ministerial process and that there’s nothing in the law on whaling that sets a time limit for processing licenses.

Large Earthquake Hints at Bárðarbunga Unrest

Vatnajökull Grímsfjall Grímsvötn Bárðarbunga Kverkfjöll Jöklar Jökull Vísindi

An earthquake measuring at 5.4 on the Richter scale took place at Bárðarbunga stratovolcano under Vatnajökull glacier this morning. Seismic activity of this magnitude could mark the beginning of a new era of unrest in Bárðarbunga, the first since the Holuhraun eruption in 2014 to 2015, reports.

Pressure building

The earthquake is the largest in the area since 2015. Hildur María Friðriksdóttir, a specialist at the Iceland Meteorological Office, said that crustal movement by Bárðarbunga increased at the beginning of last year, but did not result in increased seismic activity until February this year. “This could be the beginning of a process that could take years, but there is evidence of pressure building in the area,” she said.

Situation monitored

The Met Office will continue to monitor the situation, but Hildur María said that no response by the authorities is necessary at this time. She added that many large earthquakes were detected before, during and after the Holuhraun eruption.

The earthquake this morning was followed by an aftershock that measured 3 on the Richter scale, but Bárðarbunga has been quiet since then.