Conservation Series

Sweden's Highest Mountain Shrinks Due to Global Warming

Sweden's official high point has had to be revised, after ice loss on the south summit of Kebnekaise. A survey this summer found that the mountain's ice-bound south summit has shrunk to 1.2 metres lower than the rocky and more technically difficult north summit, which at 2096.8m now takes on the main summit status. This is the lowest the south summit ice cap has been since records began.

Summit of Kebnekaise  © Matt Smith
Summit of Kebnekaise
© Matt Smith, Aug 2011

Depending on seasonal snow cover the height of the southern peak varies by around three metres. The summit is at its tallest in May after the winter snowfall, and lowest after the summer melt.

Kebnekaise's southern peak is now 24m lower than in the 1960s.

"This is the lowest height ever measured. Over the past 50 years, the height of Kebnekaise's southern peak has decreased by 24 metres," said Gunhild Ninis Rosqvist, a geography professor at Stockholm University, who has been in charge of the annual survey of Kebnekaise.

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