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Sweden's melting mountain

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By Mark Armstrong
Sweden's melting mountain

Sweden's highest summit is no longer king of the hill. The summer heatwave has melted the glacial ice away, meaning another peak on the same mountain is now higher.

The two points are part of the Kebnekaise mountain in the north of the country. The new highest peak is stone and as such unlikely to be affected by climate. Just a month ago the ice was around 20cm higher than the rock.

"We have seen the trend for many years now," explained Gunhild Rosqvist a geographer at Stockholm University. "This peak has melted a metre per year over the past 20 years. And it is a symbol for all the glaciers in Sweden, in Norway, in the whole world, except Antarctica. That's what we know so far. So it is really a symbol. But also for the whole mountain region, it is not only snow and ice that melts. The whole ecosystems and the people that depend on those, the indigenous reindeer herders, they are really struggling at the moment."

Northern Europe has been sweltering in a heatwave. Many scientists think it's a result of climate change. Temperatures some 550km into the Arctic Circle reached 32 degrees in some places on Monday.