Sweden has lost its highest peak, a glacier on the southern tip of the Kebnekaise Mountain, due to melting caused by record Arctic temperatures. The peak is now positioned at 2096.5m, 0.3m below the rockier northern tip which has become Sweden’s new highest point.
The height of the peak typically varies each year due to how much the glacier melts and grows. However, warmer temperatures in recent times have caused it to shrink, with Stockholm University estimating a loss of one metre each year in the past two decades. Researchers predict the glacier will continue to shrink even further.
The loss of the nation’s highest peak represents a symbolic moment to a country that has been grappling with record temperatures and abnormally strong wildfires as far north as the Arctic Circle. Indeed, some scientists suggest that ash from wildfires could be causing glaciers to absorb more heat thereby accelerating melting.
Does the loss of this peak represent a new milestone as our planet continues to warm? What impacts could a warming climate have on landscapes worldwide?