Is global warming causing Greenland to become greener?
Nature
16.02.2024 Greenland Nuuk   22
Is global warming causing Greenland to become greener?

A recently published study found that the area of ​​ice loss in Greenland over the past three decades is approximately 36 times the area of ​​New York City. This land, once covered in ice, is quickly turning into wetlands and scrubland. And this worries experts for obvious reasons.


Analysis of satellite images shows that Greenland lost 28,707 square kilometers of ice during this period. The study highlights that from the mid-1980s to the mid-2010s, Greenland experienced an increase in vegetation, as well as the transformation of once icy and snowy landscapes into barren cliffs, wetlands and areas covered with bush. In particular, wetlands quadrupled in size during this period.


The main cause of ice loss is rising air temperatures, which leads to higher land temperatures and the melting of permafrost beneath the Earth's surface. Melting permafrost releases carbon dioxide and methane, contributing to global warming. It also causes land instability, creating risks for infrastructure and buildings. The report highlights a feedback loop where ice loss exposes bare rock, further greening Greenland as tundra and shrubland colonize the area.


The consequences extend beyond Greenland's borders. influencing climate change and sea level rise. As ice disappears, areas absorb more solar energy, raising the earth's surface temperature and causing further melting. This process also increases the amount of water in lakes, absorbing more heat than snow, and raising the temperature of the earth's surface. Greenland, which has warmed at twice the global average rate since the 1970s, faces the possibility of more extreme temperatures in the future.


As the world's largest island, predominantly covered in ice and glaciers, Greenland is home to approximately 57,000 people, many of whom are indigenous and rely heavily on natural ecosystems for survival. The unique environmental challenges facing Greenland further increase the impact of melting ice on its communities and ecosystems.


The report's lead author, Michael Grimes, warns that the flow of sediment and nutrients into coastal waters poses serious problems for indigenous communities dependent on fishing and for hunters throughout the island. The loss of ice mass in Greenland is a significant contributor to global sea level rise, creating ongoing challenges for the present and future.

Source: timesofindia

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