The Kebnekaise glacier.
  • The highest point in Sweden, a glacial peak, has suffered from Europe's unusually warm summer.
  • The ice atop the Kebnekaise mountain has melted so much that its southern peak is 4.1 metres shorter.  
  • That's enough to mean that it's no longer the tallest in Sweden. Instead the northern peak of the same mountain has taken first place.

Scaring temperatures from Europe's summer of extreme heat has melted so much ice on Sweden's tallest peak, that it is no longer the tallest.

The southern peak of Kebnekaise mountain, in northern Sweden, has shrunk by 4.1 metres in the month of July because of the unusually hot sun melting the ice on top of it, according to figures published by Swedish news site

It used to be 2,100.80 metres but thanks to the hot weather is now only 2,096.7 metres. 

The north peak of the mountain is now slightly taller, 2,097 metres.

The difference will likely become more pronounced as the summer continues and the south peak continues to shrink. The north peak is solid rock, so doesn't change in the heat.

Gunhild Ninis Rosqvist, a geography professor at the University of Sweden, told Swedish newspaper Norrlandska Socialdemokraten: "The snow is disappearing so that not even the reindeer can find a place to get relief from the sun.

"This is happening very fast. The result of this hot summer will be a record loss in snow and ice in the mountains."

A nearby town called Kiruna, just north of the Arctic Circle, was expected to experience a 18.9 degrees Celsius reading on Thursday, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said. The average high temperature in August is 13.9 Celsius.

The warmth in Sweden, much of which is covered in forest, has prompted a spate of wildfires. On July 18 there were 50 forest fires burning across Sweden, according to Copernicusis (the European Union's Earth Observation Programme). They have burned more than 74,000 acres of land so far.

The WMO said the highs were also influenced by a warm wind.

Makkaur in most northerly Norway experienced a new record minimum overnight temperature of 25.2 Celsius on July 18.

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