UPSC PRELIMS 2020 : First Monument of a Glacier – Okjokull Glacier

First Monument of a Glacier - Okjokull Glacier

Topic : First Monument of a Glacier – Okjokull Glacier

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment

 

Context:

First Monument of a Glacier - Okjokull Glacier

  • Iceland honours the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change.
  • A bronze plaque was unveiled in a ceremony to mark Okjokull — which translates to “Ok glacier” — in the western Iceland.
  • It will be the first monument to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world.

 

Background:

  • A glacier is defined as a persistent mass of compacted ice that accumulates more mass each winter than it loses through summer melt and moves constantly under its own weight. When this ceases to be the case, the remains are known as “dead ice”.
  • According to a study published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), nearly half of the world’s heritage sites could lose their glaciers by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate.

 

Okjokull Glacier

  • Okjokull Glacier is now dead
  • Okjokull, also called OK (jokull is Icelandic name for “glacier”), was part of the Langjökull group.
  • The glacier was officially declared dead by the Icelandic Meteorological Office when it was no longer thick enough to move.
  • What once was glacier has been reduced to a small patch of ice atop a volcano.
  • The people attending the ceremony will walk up the volcano northeast of the capital Reykjavik to lay a plaque which carries a letter to the future.
  • The plaque is also labelled “415 ppm CO2”, referring to the record level of carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere in May 2018.

 

Vatnajokull Glacier

  • The Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park was recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, is situated in the largest ice cap in Europe i.eVatnajokull Glacier.
  • Vatnajokull National Park is situated in the south Iceland and was officially formed in 2008 by joining together Jokulsargljufur and Skaftafell National Parks.
  • It is the largest National Park in Europe and covers an area of 12,000 square kilometers.
  • It is situated atop of OK volcano in the west central Iceland.

Vatnajokull Glacier

 

Significance:

  • An ice-free Iceland represents more than just an identity crisis for Icelanders.
  • If global leaders don’t take action to slow rising temperatures, the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet alone could raise sea-levels more than five feet in the next 200 years.
  • Enormous quantities of methane slumbering in the Arctic permafrost are threatening to come alive as record temperatures fry the poles.
  • Two fast-melting glaciers in Antarctica are holding back enough sea ice to flood oceans with another 11 feet of water.

 

Sample Question:

In which country, a first intact head of a gigantic adult wolf whichdied about 32,000 years ago and was preserved in permafrost has beenfound?

(a) Norwegian Arctic

(b) Denmark Arctic

(c) Iceland Arctic

(d) Russian Arctic

 

Answer: d