Letter to the future: ‘We know what is happening and know what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.’

By | July 21, 2019

Brian Kahn reports:

We’ve reached the point in our wild planetary experiment where humans are memorializing the things we’re knowingly wiping out.

Iceland has lost its first glacier to rising temperatures. Now, scientists from Rice University and Iceland are planning to install a plaque near the sad pile of ice and snow formerly known as Ok Glacier. The researchers say it’s the first memorial to a disappearing glacier, but climate change ensures it almost certainly will not be the last.

Glaciers are more than just ice. They’re defined by receiving more mass from snow than they lose from summer melt, which allows them to slide down mountains and grind up rock. Climate change has, of course, changed the equation by causing more glacial melting, causing ice to recede around the world. An increasing number of glaciers have turned into stagnant, rotten ice patches or disappeared completely. The OK Glacier reached the latter status in 2014, making it the first glacier in Iceland to disappear. Researchers expect all glaciers to melt away by 2200 on the island, which led to them memorializing Ok. [Continue reading…]

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