Scientists create heartbreaking memorial to Iceland’s first glacier destroyed by climate change

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The first of Iceland’s 400 glaciers to be destroyed by climate change has been commemorated with a heartbreaking plaque.

The former glacier Okjökull, also known as Ok, covered 15 sq km of mountainside in western Iceland a century ago and measured 50 metres thick.

Now, it has shrunk to barely 1 sq km of ice less than 15 metres deep - losing its status as a glacier.

To mark its demise, scientists have created a plaque to remember the first confirmed glacier lost to climate change in Iceland.

The plaque reads:

Ok is the first Icelandic 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.

Scientists have said Iceland could lose its 400-odd glaciers by 2200 due to climate change.

Anthropologist Cymene Howe explained why that is so worrying:

By marking Ok’s passing, we hope to draw attention to what is being lost as Earth’s glaciers expire. 

These bodies of ice are the largest freshwater reserves on the planet and frozen within them are histories of the atmosphere. 

They are also often important cultural forms that are full of significance.

It also marks 2019 as the year when the world hit 415ppm (parts per million) CO2 levels for the first time in human history.

This year has also seen the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, in June, and July is on track to surpass that record.

But, although the effects of climate change are already here, it is not too late to prevent the worst consequences of global warming if the world takes major action to reduce CO2 emissions.

HT: IFLScience

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