Plaque marking Okjökull, the first glacier lost to climate crisis, to be unveiled in August 18th
On August 18, a memorial plaque will be unveiled in Iceland by Rice University, 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.
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.