North Atlantic Cooling is Slowing Down Mass Loss of Icelandic Glaciers

Brice Noël*, Guðfinna Aðalgeirsdóttir, Finnur Pálsson, Bert Wouters, Stef Lhermitte, Jan M. Haacker, Michiel R. van den Broeke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterScientific


Icelandic glaciers have been losing mass since the Little Ice Age in the mid-to-late 1800s, with higher mass loss rates in the early 21st century, followed by a slowdown since 2011. As of yet, it remains unclear whether this mass loss slowdown will persist in the future. By reconstructing the contemporary (1958–2019) surface mass balance of Icelandic glaciers, we show that the post-2011 mass loss slowdown coincides with the development of the Blue Blob, an area of regional cooling in the North Atlantic Ocean to the south of Greenland. This regional cooling signal mitigates atmospheric warming in Iceland since 2011, in turn decreasing glacier mass loss through reduced meltwater runoff. In a future high-end warming scenario, North Atlantic cooling is projected to mitigate mass loss of Icelandic glaciers until the mid-2050s. High mass loss rates resume thereafter as the regional cooling signal weakens.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventAGU Fall Meeting 2022 - Chicago, United States
Duration: 12 Dec 202216 Dec 2022


ConferenceAGU Fall Meeting 2022
Abbreviated titleAGU 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Blue Blob
  • climate projection
  • glaciers
  • Iceland
  • surface mass balance


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