Iceland Thaws: The Glaciers Are Melting – What Does It Mean For Icelanders?

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U.S. geographer and glaciologist M Jackson has been visiting Iceland and the Vatnajökull region for almost a decade. Her recently released book, “The Secret Lives of Glaciers,” mixes climate science with an examination of what glaciers mean to us as individuals, communities, and as a species.

The research proved to be an interesting challenge. M designed her methodology as she went, coming back to Höfn for repeat visits and forming close connections with the community. “I started showing up and spent two summers getting my feet on the ground, learning a bit of Icelandic and understanding the geography of this place,” she says. “I tested different methods to see if they were appropriate. A lot of them weren’t. Glaciers don’t push back if you measure them, but when you speak to people, a typical analytical approach isn’t going to work. You need to have a series of open ended conversations. It’s long term, slow-as-ice research. But I love it.”