Meteorologists Follow Fate of Snowdrift on Mt. Esja Skip to content

Meteorologists Follow Fate of Snowdrift on Mt. Esja

The Icelandic Coast Guard flew over Mt. Esja near Reykjavík by helicopter on Wednesday to examine the status of a snowdrift from last winter in the pass Gunnlaugsskard. There is still a little snow left; meteorologists monitor it as a measurement of the climate.


Mt. Esja seen from the sculpture Sólfarid after snowfall in June. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

The next few days will determine whether the snowdrift prevails or disappears. Judging by history, its odds aren’t particularly good. From 2001 to 2010 it has vanished every year, even though is may have lasted until late September, Morgunbladid reports.

However, there may still be some hope for its survival; although the sun has shone on Mt. Esja in the past days, it has been cold on the mountain with frosty temperatures at night.

On the other hand, warmer temperatures and rain are forecast until after the weekend, meteorologist Páll Bergthórsson pointed out.

But the snowdrift may have an advantage this year in that there was a lot of snow in April and temperatures were cool at the beginning of summer.

“It is a very accurate measurement of heat,” he said of the snowdrift, which has been monitored regularly since 1909. Before that, since at least 1863, sources state it rarely disappeared during the summer.

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