The snow drift in Gunnlaugsskardi crevasse has now melted away, leaving Reykjavik’s landmark Mount Esja completely free of snow once again.
Former head of the Icelandic Met Office, Pall Berthorsson has confirmed the news with his own eyes and says that this is the tenth summer in a row when all of Esja’s snow disappears. More than 150 years have gone by since the snow has totally melted so many summers in a row, he told Visir.is.
Bergthorsson says that the snow completely disappeared earlier this year than usual, mostly because the winter and spring in Reykjavik were so mild. He said there is a very direct connection between the average air temperature in Iceland and the snow on Mount Esja, and thermometers in Stykkisholmur, among others, have confirmed higher than usual temperatures this spring.
This news is surprisingly significant for the national economy, because agricultural productivity in Iceland increases by some 30 percent for every degree the temperature is above the annual average. It also has an effect out at sea as algae growth and fish migration both increase when the average temperature is just a degree over average.
The picture accompanying this article was taken in July last year on a date later than today and snow can still be seen at the top of the mountain. (Photo: Alëx Elliott)