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A recent slowdown in the melting of Iceland’s glaciers is likely caused by a patch of unusually cold water in the North Atlantic Ocean, known as the “Blue Blob,” “according to a new study. (Image credit: Finnur Pálsson)

The “Blue Blob,” an unusually cold patch of water in the Arctic, has halved the rate at which Iceland’s glaciers are melting, but a new study reveals that the effects of climate change will catch up to the massive ice chunks if temperatures are not kept in check.    

The Blue Blob is an undefined area of the North Atlantic Ocean located south of Iceland and Greenland. At its peak coldness, in 2015, the Blue Blob was 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.4 degrees Celsius) colder than the surrounding waters. Before the emergence of the Blue Blob, Iceland’s glaciers were losing a staggering 11 gigatons of ice every year due to melting. But since the cool patch emerged in 2011, that rate has more than halved to a slightly less worrying 5 gigatons a year ​​— even though the rest of the Arctic is warming four times faster than anywhere else on Earth, according to a statement from the American Geophysical Union.      

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