A number of oil-soaked seabirds have come ashore in the Westman Islands in recent days. Most of the birds have been found in the harbour on Heimaey Island and just off the coast of the Stórhöfði peninsula on the far end of the island.
Two Risso’s dolphins washed ashore in Hrútafjörður in Northwest Iceland last week. Risso dolphins are a warm-water species found a bit to the east of Ireland and Northwest Scotland. But the largest number is found further south, in warmer seas.
The ubiquitous midge is almost completely absent from Mývatn, the pointedly named ‘Midge Lake,’ this year. Árni says this happens every seven to nine years—it’s now been about eight since the last time the midge population collapsed. As a result, the bird population will be much smaller for the next two to three years.
Icelandic glaciers have been losing mass since the Little Ice Age, but that process has slowed over the last decade thanks to the influence of what scientists have dubbed the Blue Blob, “an area of regional cooling in the North Atlantic Ocean to the south of Greenland.
Residents in Hafnarfjörður, a small town just outside the capital area, have rescued multiple swans that have frozen to the icy surface of Hamarkotslækur creek during a recent spate of desperately cold weather in the country, RÚV reports.
The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) has reason to suspect that a bacterial disease called Brucella canis has been found in dogs in Iceland. RÚV reports that Bruncella canis can—in very rare instances—be transmitted from dogs to humans, with young children, pregnant, and immunocompromised people at the greatest risk of serious infection.
The glacial outburst flood, or jökulhlaup, which started when the ice sheet in the Grímsvötn volcano beneath Vatnajökull glacier began to melt 11 days ago, is predicted to reach its peak on Sunday. At time of writing, the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration does not believe that the runoff will affect traffic on Route 1 […]
Razor clams are the newest addition to Iceland’s resident fauna, RÚV reports. Researchers believe that the bivalves, which got their name in English from their long skinny shape, sharp edges, and resemblance to old fashioned straight razors, were brought to Iceland in the bilge water of cargo ships.
Saturday’s incident is notable as Bárðarbunga, a stratovolcano located underneath Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, is the second largest volcano on the island. Geophysicist Páll Einarsson told reporters, however, that the powerful earthquakes underneath the volcano this summer were likely due to land rise and that an eruption did not appear to be imminent.
A second glacial outburst flood began in the eastern Skaftá ice cauldron under Vatnajökull glacier late Saturday evening, RÚV reports. This flood follows a smaller one that originated in the western Skaftá ice cauldron and is expected to do as much damage to local communities and farmland as the last glacial outburst flood on the Skaftá river in 2018.
The Icelandic Met Office has determined that unusual air bubbles in the Kvíárlón lagoon to the southeast of the Öræfajökull volcano neither pose a health hazard to travellers nor indicate the onset of volcanic activity. Vísir reports that a local landowner contacted the meteorological office after seeing unusual air bubbles in the lagoon that “sounded […]
A considerable number of the herring catch that’s been landed in recent days has been found to be infected. As such, almost all of it will be incinerated. Note, according to Fisheries Information and Resource System (FIRMS) the infection rate of herring with Ichthyophonus in Iceland was estimated to be 32% in the in the winter 2008/2009.
A large stock of capelins have been found in Faroese fjords of late and scientists believe that the fish probably swam there from Icelandic waters, RÚV reports. Iceland’s capelin stock has been in decline over the last two years, likely due to rising ocean temperatures.
A marine biologist at the Marine and Freshwater Research institute who specializes in whales says that it’s rare for pilot whales to venture so far north, but said that it’s possible that the pilot whales' appearance in Iceland’s waters can be credited to warming ocean temperatures.