Incredible Images From Space Capture the Death of a Glacier

first_img On August 18, a memorial plaque will be unveiled in Iceland, at the site of a former glacier that is the first to be declared “dead” due to the climate crisis.Okjökull was an iconic glacier, which a century ago covered 5.8 square miles of mountainside in western Iceland and measured 164 feet thick. It has melted away throughout the 20th century, shrinking to barely 10 square feet of ice less than 49 feet deep. It was declared dead in 2014.Okjökull glacier on September 7, 1986. (Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory) Stay on target Amazon Employees Join Sept. 20 Global Climate WalkoutResearchers Transform CO2 Into Liquid Fuel center_img The NASA Earth Observatory recently released incredible satellite images showing glacier during the latter part of its decline, on September 7, 1986 and August 1, 2019. The images were acquired with the Thematic Mapper (TM) on Landsat 5, and the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.In the 1986 image, the dome-shaped Okjökul glacier appears as a solid-white patch, just north of the snow-filled crater. Snow is also visible around the glacier’s edges. In the August 2019 image, only a spattering of thin ice patches remain.Okjökull glacier on August 1, 2019. (Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory)“Notice the areas of blue meltwater, which are likely associated with the mass of warm air that hit Iceland as it moved from mainland Europe to Greenland in late July,” said a NASA Earth Observatory blog post.A glacier is defined as a persistent mass of compacted ice that accumulates more mass each winter than it loses through summer melt and is constantly moving under its own weight. When this ceases to be the case, the remains are known as “dead ice.”Okjökull, also called Ok (jökull is Icelandic for “glacier”), was part of the Langjökull group — one of Iceland’s eight regional groupings of glaciers, according to NASA. Ice covers about 10 percent of the island, making it an integral part of the landscape.The memorial and unveiling ceremony next week will be led by researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, a leading Icelandic author, Andri Snær Magnason, and the geologist Oddur Sigurðsson.The memorial plaque for Okjökull, which will be dedicated on August 18. (Photo Credit: Rice University)“In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path,” the plaque will read, in Icelandic and English. “This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”According to the Guardian, the memorial will also carry the words “415ppm CO2”, referring to the record-breaking level of 415 parts per million of carbon dioxide recorded in the atmosphere in May this year.Rice University anthropologist Cymene Howe said the monument will be the first dedicated to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world. “By marking Ok’s passing, we hope to draw attention to what is being lost as Earth’s glaciers expire.”Experts expect all of Iceland’s 400-plus glaciers to disappear by 2200.“These bodies of ice are the largest freshwater reserves on the planet and frozen within them are histories of the atmosphere,” said Howe. “They are also often important cultural forms that are full of significance.”In 2018, Howe and fellow Rice University anthropologist Dominic Boyer produced a documentary “Not OK” about the glacier. The film is narrated by former Reykjavík Mayor Jón Gnarr.Watch This Next: Scientists Record, Try to Explain Currents Shifts in Antarctic Sea Ice SizesMore on Geek.com:Greenland’s Fastest Melting Glacier Is Growing Again (For Now)42 Stunning Images of Snow and Ice on Earth From SpaceMelting Glaciers Expose Dead Bodies on Mount Everestlast_img

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