The heat-wave continues to take its toll. Temperatures in Spain and Portugal today have soared to “near record” levels, with some predictions that Europe’s previous record of 48C, set in Athens in 1977, will be broken.
Meanwhile, further north in Sweden, July was a record hot month, causing wild-fires to break out in the Arctic. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) the hot weather has caused some 74,000 acres of forest to burn in the country.
And now it seems the hot temperatures have melted Sweden’s highest peak. The record temperatures have melted the ice so much on the glacier-capped top of the southern part of the Kebnekaise mountain (pictured), that it is no longer Sweden’s highest hill. The northern peak, which is free of ice, is now the highest point in the country.
Over the summer, the glacier from the southern peak has lost four meters of snow during July, which means that it is now Sweden’s second tallest peak, behind the northern part of the mountain.
The melting mountain has now reportedly become a symbol of climate change in the country.
The person who made the discovery is Professor Gunhild Rosqvist, head of the Tarfala Research Station and a Stockholm University geography professor.
She told the New York Times: “We can estimate the melt rate based on temperature measurements. We know that it has melted because it is very hot. We are going to measure again later this summer when the melting stops. In a month, we’ll know how bad it is.”
She added that the shrinking peak is “symbolic of climate change”.
In other interviews she said: “I’ve never seen this much melted snow on the southern peak as I did this summer. This is happening very fast. The result of this hot summer will be a record loss in snow and ice in the mountains.”
And things could get worse. New Scientist magazine reports how: “Climatologists have been quick to point out that extremes are to be expected in a warming world. But there may be more to it than that.”
The “Atlantic ocean conveyor belt, also known as the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation or AMOC” maybe weakening which “could bring more extreme heatwaves and floods.”
“The result” says New Scientist, “it seems increasingly likely, is more extremes of both heat and cold on both sides of the Atlantic – and the prospect of even more dramatic switches to come.”
But it does not have to be this way. Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, founding editor of INSURGE intelligence says simply, “The recent spate of catastrophic events are not mere anomalies. They are the latest signifiers of a climate system that is increasingly out of balance”. To counter this “we have to act” and “wake up to the reality of what is happening in the world.”