For years we have been receiving warnings from the scientific community about the serious environmental crisis that our planet is suffering. One of the most visible consequences so far has been the melting of ice. Everyone has seen those images of collapsing glaciers and polar bears trapped in separating ice sheets. But do we really know what glaciers are and what we face in the event of a total meltdown?
The latest news have reported a climate record in the coldest regions of the planet of 30 and 40 degrees Celsius above normal in Antarctica and the Arctic, something unusual since both areas are in different seasons.
Exceptional heat waves have been recorded in these regions. In Antarctica, the thermometer at Concordia Station read 11.8 degrees below zero, a very high temperature considering that normal temperatures at this time of year hover around minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Scientists have already warned that these anomalies are becoming more frequent due to climate change and sustainable modes of production. This rise in temperatures has caused the Antarctic’s sea ice to hit a stunning record-low minimum at the end of February, dropping below 772,000 square miles for the first time since satellites began observing the southern continent more than 40 years ago.
But how do these temperature rises affect glaciers closer to home, such as those in Iceland? To understand what this means, I have traveled to the second largest glacier in Europe, the Vatnajökull (Vatnayokuh), located at the south of Iceland. It has an extension of 8,100 km² and covers more than 8 percent of its total surface.