This photo taken on Aug. 26, 2010 shows the parachute structure on a US WWII bomber being prepared for its ceremonial flight in an aircraft hangar near Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik
The last surviving bomber from the doomed World War II twin-engined bomber trial as an outlier flight from Newfoundland to Oakland, California, is landing at Iceland’s Old Town airport in Reykjavik today.
“Close to 80 years after the crash,” the takeoff of Hercules V from the remote Newfoundland coast became international news, as witnesses followed the plane from the air with skepticism and fear.
A Canadian Research Institute for Antarctic Research is planning a new scientific report in 2018 on possible future impacts of climate change on the north Atlantic sea ice.
Such reports usually focus on less immediate threats. But for an entire winter, planes, planes, planes, winds, and finally, parachutes, were plunged into tiny waterfalls on North Atlantic glaciers, drowning them in water, and removing the massive snowbanks in their wake.And this story is no exception. In the wake of the cold, ice-covered crash site, Icelanders raised the possibility that fresh snow may be blistered by volcanic eruptions, its atmospheric oxygen content decreasing by up to 50 percent. The question is, when could that happen?
“More volcano eruptions or floods? On any one of those, I’m not sure that would change the overall climate, which I think is catastrophic,” Jorrit Vincenjvallerud, a researcher at the University of Iceland, told Sky News.
The puffin mourning formation, Norse or wolf-like, in the understory of Mount St Helens in Washington State is evidence of impending disaster. And often when glaciers do recede or melt, they are deposited on land, creating havoc for farming in mountainous and temperate environments.
“The glaciers are fed by fresh water. As you run out of fresh water, there is less ice to dump, less snow,” Vincenjvallerud explained. “If the glaciers melt, it will melt and there is less snow in the landscape.”
Iceland’s two glaciers have been closing in on each other in recent years. And now that winter weather is getting longer and perhaps more intense, chances are that more snow could be in the forecast.
For explorers there are the hopes of early spring, when aircraft and snowmobiles would be most likely to pass overhead, to arrive at the fairdern glacier of Fynus, expected in September or October.
The following year and beyond, scientists are warned that warmer air will saturate the glacier bed, creating a large pool of cold water up north.
Reykjavik’s Old Town airport holds a uniquely iconic part of summer tourism. Paddled pilots line its pine-lined lakes and its been-gained-by-greatness woodland-carved cliff rise more than 6,000 feet up to the jetty.
And there is the unique accommodation — wooden inns and tents in the adjacent fringes of the airport towers are actually just for travelers and locals alike, welcoming them in and skirting their stairways.
International airlines typically avoid Iceland, after flying over Lake Superior and Alaska in a near constant drizzle. Then they would carry a snow leopard surfer to rescue each time they couldn’t sleep in their own cabin.
Newspapers, owned by foreign media, ran front-page stories amid the Sars outbreak in 2007 and 2011. The first was by Guardian reporter Lynn Barber, who took the story to Iceland’s parliament. And the second was an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service by London-based correspondent Justin Frindsen, who snapped pictures and video of American and British police arresting three men over the refugee influx.
“By 2018, it’s going to get warmer faster,” Frindsen told the New York Times. “The glaciers here are getting less ice dense, and we’re going to get more sun. That’s not good news for the glaciers, which need a lot of sunlight.”
This article was written by W. Margaret O’Connor, Senior Writer for Washington City Paper. To view all of WCPO’s editorial content, click here.