In Iceland, the disappearance of a glacier is commemorated on Sunday with a 'memorial service' and the unveiling of a monument. The Okjökull is the first "declared death" glacier that has almost completely disappeared due to the effects of climate change, according to the BBC.
The only thing left of the Okjökull are a few loose pieces of ice on top of a volcano. Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, the environment minister, scientists and local residents will be present at the meeting on Sunday.
After a speech by Jakobsdottir, those present climb the volcano to place a monument in the shape of a placard. A letter to the future is engraved on it.
All major glaciers await the same
"The Ok is the first Icelandic glacier that has lost its status as a glacier," it says. "We expect all of our big glaciers to come across the same for the next two hundred years. With this memorial we acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done about it. Only you will know whether we have actually done that."
At the bottom of the placard is the month of the ceremony ('August 2019') and the amount of CO2 concentration worldwide: a record amount of 415 parts per million (ppm).
Andri Snaer Magnason, who wrote the text on the monument, explains: "When you write on copper instead of on paper, you think in a different time scale. You start thinking about someone who comes here in three hundred years and reads it. This is an important symbolic moment. "
No glacier since 2014
The Okjokull was 'declared dead' in 2014. The glacier was officially no longer a glacier in that year, because it no longer moved, explains glacologist Oddur Sigurdsson to the British broadcaster.
As long as there is enough ice, a glacier moves because of the pressure created. "That's the difference between a glacier and not a glacier. The ice must be forty to fifty meters thick to cause that pressure."
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