Glacier

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Glacier 

“Future generations are not going to ask us what political party were you in. They are going to ask what did you do about it, when you knew the glaciers were melting.” Martin Sheen

 This wasn’t supposed to be my first glacier experience.  In New Zealand, we drove for several hours  to Mount Cook. I was looking forward to taking a helicopter to the top of that glacier. I was ready. I had my crampons  which I lugged from Los Angeles. The next morning it was raining, windy, and very foggy. It was not the kind of rain that was going to clear up in an hour.  It was animals lining up in pairs rain. So we never made it to the glacier. 

Iceland lingers on the edge of the Arctic Circle so I figured that my chances of seeing a glacier up close were better this time.  We start walking down the path and  groups of kids are walking by in clampons.

There is definitely an air of excitement.

. There are many glacial walks and tours in Iceland on the different glaciers.We are at Sólheimajökull, a glacial tongue that is rugged and riddled with ice caves, ridges and sink holes.

Blue ice and black volcanic rock appeared like a painting of colors upon the glacier with a matching grey sky. 

It felt surreal. It was another can Iceland get more amazing moment.

I was enchanted by the barren beauty. It’s impressive due to the way it descends down from Mýrdalsjökull  (fourth largest ice cap in Iceland). Beneath its thick surface is one of the country’s most infamous volcanoes Katla.

Our geologist Scott Burns,  points out  the effects of climate change. People who don’t  believe in climate change say the ice melting is normal but the rate of change is speeding up since 1990 in a way that has not been seen before in history.

Sólheimajökull is shrinking rapidly. A glacier lagoon at its base reveals how quickly it is receding, the length of an Olympic swimming pool every year.

It seems like this is already an irreversible consequence of climate change, and it may be gone within decades.

The next day we go to the new Glaciers and Ice Cave Exhibition at the Perlan Museum, just outside the city centre of Reykjavik  Here you can walk through the city’s first and only ice cave—a detailed replica of the inside of a glacier. If you think ice is all fun and games, the exhibition’s other interactive, ultra-modern displays present you with the more serious side of glaciers: the dangers of the volcanoes hidden beneath the ice caps, the effects of climate change and more.

Iceland”s glaciers are receding at an alarming rate. They lost their first one Okjokull and they created a memorial plaque to the glacier with a warning on it.

The future looks bad right now. We have exhausted our planet’s resources and polluted it beyond its capacity to clean itself. When they tell our civilization’s story, I want it to be that we cared and we tried our best to save it.

 

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Ten Of The Hottest Countries In The World

Ten Of The Hottest Countries In The World

“The heat made people crazy. They woke from their damp bedsheets and went in search of a glass of water, surprised to find that when their vision cleared, they were holding instead the gun they kept hidden in the bookcase.”  Kristin Hannah

Summer in an already hot country might give you the feeling of what hell would be like – where summer never ends.

Libya is considered to be the world’s hottest country. The hottest place in the world is El Azzizia, Libya. The Libyan desert covers much of the country making it quite hot. It’s very easy to get blisters and diseases on your skin from the heat. If for some reason you are going –  like to fight in a war or if you are Anthony Bourdain, cover up.

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Saudi Arabia is one of the hottest and one of the richest countries in the world. The country consists mostly of Arabian desert and luckily has air conditioning. The religious make the pilgrimage to Mecca. If you are unaccustomed to scorching hot temperatures and no rainfall then you should probably avoid the summer months.

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Oman is also one of the richest and hottest countries in the world. Public transportation is air-conditioned. Some of the women say they get used to wearing the burkah and it protects them from the sun. If you are not a fan of being covered up in desert heat and humidity, avoid the summer.

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Sudan gets almost no precipitation year round. It is one of the driest countries on the planet making it one of the hottest as well. Severe food shortage last summer was one of the worst due to wars and poor harvests. It is not usually a tourist destination due to violence, disease and poor infrastructure.

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In addition to ISIS and terrorist bombings,  Iraq is very hot in the summer. Bagdad is one of the hottest cities in the world with a lot of power outages due to everyone trying to use air conditioning. On some days you cannot stand in the sun for even a few minutes.They have had a few mandatory “heat holidays.’ It doesn’t sound like a holiday I will be taking.

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Somalia may not be one of the safest countries in the world but it is one of the hottest. There is little to no rainfall and no food grows due to lack of irrigation.  It is not your every day vacation spot,though there are always people who want to go somewhere new. Being near the equator it is always hot but June through September are brutal months.

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Hot countries and Africa go hand in hand. Most of Algeria is desert.The summers are dry, moist and hot and it can stay hot most of the year. It is best to not go to North Africa in summer especially if you are planning to visit the Sahara.The US State Department reinstated its travel advisory so you might want to go somewhere else hot.

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Iran is not a tourist destination at the moment and especially not in summer when it is scorching hot. It is especially hot if you have to follow Islāmic dress codes. Iran’s anti West policies have not made it a popular holiday spot with Americans but the always adventurous Europeans are traveling there in the cooler months. In July and August the heat is exhausting.

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India is a large country but the hot winds off the Indian Ocean in the summer bring sweltering temperatures. Rajasthan has the highest summer temperatures in India. Severe heat waves cause many deaths. Summer is not the time to visit.

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Parts of Mexico are very hot in the summer. It’s not the hottest country but it’s in the top ten.  There is a lot of dry brush around. Mexico is not all beaches. It has year round high temperatures. Plan your visits to Mexico during the cooler seasons or maybe not in the next four years.

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Fly safe,

JAZ