Geologist Oddur Sigurdsson, who lives in Hellissandur on Snaefellsnes peninsula in west Iceland, said it is a misunderstanding that Snaefellsjökull glacier on the tip of the peninsula is melting as rapidly as others have claimed.
“It is the opinion of nearly everyone I have talked to that the glacier has never been smaller than it is now,” ranger in Snaefellsjökull national park Lára Pálmadóttir told Fréttabladid.
Sigurdsson said that the glacier has indeed shrunken considerably. However, it is very difficult to notice such changes from the ground and even from the top of the glacier.
The reason the glacier appears so small now is not that it has visibly shrunken, Sigurdsson claimed, but that a high amount of snow disappeared from the area this summer and people are confusing snow drifts with glacial ice.
“Assuming the glacier was 12 hectares 100 years ago, it is 11 to 10.5 hectares now,” Sigurdsson said, arguing that the changes are occurring more slowly than people realize.
Earlier this month, local tourism company Snjófell stopped offering glacial tours to Snaefellsjökull because of lack of snow. People were advised not to hike to the glacier because of a high number of crevasses.
Sigurdsson said he did not believe that it was more dangerous to cross the glacier now than in previous years, however recommending that people exercise extreme caution when hiking.