Iceland Unveils Plaque in Memory of First Glacier Lost to Climate Change

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glacier, Iceland, disappeared, memorial
Iceland’s first glacier lost to climate change will be remembered with a memorial plaque. Credit: Rice University

Okjökull (OK in English) is the first of Iceland’s glaciers to disappear due to climate change and is to be memorialized with a plaque, which will be unveiled next month, writes USA TodayThe plaque on the glacier reads:

“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.”

100 years ago the glacier covered almost 6 square miles of a mountainside in western Iceland and measured 165-feet thick.

“This will be the first monument to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world,” said anthropologist Cymene Howe of Rice University in Houston, in a statement. “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.”

glacier, Iceland, disappeared, memorial
Gone forever: An aerial image of the former Okjökull glacier in Iceland. Credit: Rice University

The memorial will be officially unveiled during a ceremony in August and also carries 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. Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming.

Howe is hoping the memorial will raise awareness about the decline of Iceland’s glaciers.

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