With a bronze plaque, a ceremony, and a warning that more will follow, Iceland on Sunday is marking the loss of its first glacier to climate change. Researchers from Iceland and the US, as well as the nation's prime minister and Mary Robinson, former UN Human Rights Commissioner and president of Ireland, are scheduled to attend, per phys.org. Scientists say that another 400 glaciers are at risk of suffering the fate of Okjokull, which is in the west of Iceland, by 2200. "This will be the first monument to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world," a US professor said last month. Saying that climate models and data can be hard to understand, she said, "Perhaps a monument to a lost glacier is a better way to fully grasp what we now face."
If glaciers continue to melt at this rate, CNN notes, the effects will be wide-ranging and devastating. Much of Earth's population could be displaced, food and water supplies will be threatened, islands will become covered as sea levels rise, and flooding could cause health crises. The plaque to be dedicated Sunday, which is titled "Letter to the Future," says: "In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it." (Greenland's melting glaciers could have one economic benefit.)