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Global Warming strikes again: Sweden's once-highest peak is melting away


A melting glacier is causing Sweden's once-tallest mountain to shrink, Stockholm University says.

The south peak of the Kebnekaise massif was once the tallest mountain in the country, measuring as high as 2,118 metres in the mid-1990s.

In 2019, it was demoted to second in the rankings of Swedish mountains after a third of its glacier melted. 

The south peak lost another two metres in height in the past year due to rising air temperatures driven by climate change, Stockholm University says.

Kebnekaise's north peak, where there is no glacier, is now the highest in the Nordic country.

"On August 14, the southern peak of Kebnekaise was measured at 2,094.6 metres above sea level by researchers from Tarfala research station. This is the lowest height that has been measured since the measurements started in the 1940s," the university said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The decrease in the peak and the changed appearance of the drift can mainly be explained by a rising air temperature but also changing wind conditions, which affect where the snow accumulates in the winter."

approaching kebnekaise...

It said the changes reflect a long-warming climate in Sweden, referring to the recent UN climate panel report which said global warming had caused an unparalleled melting of glaciers and was close to spiralling out of control.

The Kebnekaise massif is located around 150 km (90 miles) north of the Arctic Circle in the Scandinavian Mountains range that stretches across large parts of northern Norway and Sweden, and is part of the Laponia World Heritage Site.

Sommet kebnekaise

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Image Credit: Carl Månsson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons