It seems that the snowdrift in the pass Gunnlaugsskard in Mt. Esja, the mountain overlooking Iceland’s capital, will remain this year; it has disappeared every summer since 2001. Meteorologists consider the snowdrift an indicator of developments in the climate system.
Mt. Esja. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
“It is rather unlikely that October will be warm enough for it disappear,” meteorologist Páll Bergthórsson, who has monitored the snowdrift’s fate most closely in the past years, told Morgunbladid. “It will likely stay there this winter and until next summer.”
In 2001-2010, the snowdrift was gone by September 25. This year it snowed extensively in April and although the snow quickly melted at lower altitudes, it accumulated in the mountains. On top of that, June was rather cold.
“It is in fact a very accurate thermometer because you can estimate very precisely the ten-year average heat judging by how often the snowdrift has disappeared in that period,” Bergthórsson said of the snowdrift.