Global Warming May Flood Much of Populated Iceland

7.11.2011
Words by Paul Fontaine
The latest findings of a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows patterns that do not bode well for Iceland, a local meteorologist explains.

A draft of the new report was recently obtained by the Associated Press, and some of its findings are rather ominous. In particular, man-made greenhouse gases are contributing to worsening weather, including more severe hurricanes and hotter summers.

This last point puts Iceland at risk, meteorologist Sigurður Þ. Ragnarsson explains. Rising temperatures can contribute to glaciers melting, which in turn leads to rising sea levels. The melting of the Greenland icecap could raise sea levels by six metres.

Sigurður believes the next 50 to 100 years will be very trying times for Iceland if this trend continues. Most of the populated areas of Iceland lie at or a few meters above sea level. Sea levels rising by a few more metres would not just create flooding in itself; it would also lead to shore erosion, exacerbating the flooding.

This means that if human consumption and energy use trends continue the way they have been, many Icelanders will, within the next century, be forced to either move to higher ground or leave the country altogether.

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