The Austfonna Ice Shelf that sits just off of Norway is Europe’s second largest ice-cap after the Vatnajvkull in Iceland and is the seventh largest in the world. The giant slab of ice – made entirely of fresh water – is 1,800 feet at its thickest point and rises to a height of 2,600 above sea level.
While it may still be the most stable ice shelf in the region that doesn’t mean that is isn’t suffering under the threat of climate change as it is losing approximately 1.6 cubic miles of ice every year. On top of that the retreat of glacier front at Austfonna over a 12-year period is resulting in an average frontal retreat of about 160 feet-per-year.
It is one thing to talk about facts and figures. IT is one thing to look at all those dry numbers and predict all kinds of warning but sometimes a picture of what is nothing more than a natural occurrence can have more of an impact.
Such as the photograph taken recently by Michael Nolan during his annual voyage to observe the glacier and surrounding wildlife. The photograph has started to be referred to as the Tears of Mother Nature and it isn’t hard to see why.
images courtesy of Daily Mail