A ceremony took place on Ok mountain to mourn the now gone Okjökull glacier yesterday. The former glacier was the first Icelandic glacier to officially lose its glacier status, which took place in 2014. A hike onto Ok mountain was organized scientist and scholars from Rice University, who made the documentary ‘Not Ok’, highlighting the glacier’s disappearance. The ceremony was attended by around 100 nature lovers. Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, who wrote the text on Ok’s memorial plaque, joined the service, along with Minister of the Environment Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson.
“I said goodbye to Ok today by vowing to do what I can to prevent the disappearance of more Icelandic glaciers.” – Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson.
Okjökull was the subject of a 2018 documentary called Not Ok, made by Rice anthropologists Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer. Narrated by former Reykjavík mayor and comedian Jón Gnarr According to the filmmakers, scientists fear that all of Iceland’s 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200.
Oddur Sigurðsson, a geologist from the Icelandic Met Institute, was part of the ceremony. According to him, Iceland will largely be ice-free within 200 years. “My co-workers, both at the Icelandic Met Institute and the University of Iceland, have calculated with projections that the expected climate in the next two centuries will lead to all of the glaciers in Iceland melting, more or less. There will maybe be some miniature glaciers on the highest mountain tops but they will disappear within 200 years. So Iceland will then become an almost ice-free country,” Oddur said.
More to follow
A number of glaciers are in severe risk of disappearing in the next couple of years, including Hofsjökull eystri glacier which will disappear within a decade. When asked what other glaciers are in danger of melting completely, Oddur painted a grim picture. “Kaldaklofsjökull, which is ‘behind’ Landmannalaugar if I can say so, Torfajökull, and Þrándarjökull in the East fjords don’t have long left. Then in the wake of those three, Tindfjallajökull and Snæfellsjökull will not handle the warming.” The glaciers on Tröllaskagi peninsula in North Iceland are expected to last a langer as they are largely situated in shadows.
The worldwide attention brought on by Okjökull glacier’s disappearance has not been missed by Icelandic scientists. “Of course it doesn’t matter for the world population, and Iceland neither, whether one small glacier melts completely or not. But it is, however, a clue about this massive event which is taking place in the whole world. And where one disappears, others will follow,” Oddur stated. “Larger glaciers than Okjökull will melt in the near future. I don’t expect us to be able to save them, as things currently stand,” he said in an interview with www.ruv.is
Letter to the future
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The monument put in place is styled as a “Letter to the future,” and reads:
Ok is the first glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it. August 2019, 415ppm CO2
More information: www.notokmovie.com