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  GREENLAND

Greenland is the world's largest island. Formerly a province of Denmark, it gained the status of an autonomous Danish dependent territory with limited self-government as well as its own parliament in 1979. The climate in Greenland is extremely harsh. More than 80% of the island is covered by an ice cap 4km thick in places. Many of the Eskimo (Inuit) people survive by hunting and fishing and are struggling as fish stocks become depleted. The island's population is only 57,000. Recent environmental studies have raised fears that global warming is causing Greenland's ice cover to melt increasingly fast, and that this could have serious implications for future sea levels and ocean currents. The melting ice has also increased access to Greenland's mineral resources, which could provide the territory with a promising source of income. (Full BBC profile here.)      
November 2012: Greenland has had an average net loss of 200 billion tons of ice every year since 2003. link                         
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Dec. 23 2016: Climate change’s effect on Greenland. Self-sufficiency in food may be a long way off but 70% of Greenland’s energy is now renewable hydropower from melt-fed rivers. Aleqa Hammond, the country’s former prime minister, speaks of 100% renewable energy, and attracting energy-hungry server farms, which companies such as Google and Facebook typically situate inside the Arctic Circle. She also predicts a growth in tourism with ships entering newly ice-free fjords. “Greenland is becoming a new tourist frontier,” she said. According to the government’s Ministry of Mining Resources, Greenland’s first mines are expected to go into production in 2017. Other mining projects include a zinc mine and a rare earth elements mine, drilling for gold in Nuuk fjord, and “promising” exploratory drilling for a nickel-copper-cobalt mine. link

September 2016: Greenland’s huge annual ice loss is even worse than thought. The huge annual losses of ice from the Greenland cap are even worse than thought; research shows that the melt is not a short-term blip but a long-term trend. Precise new GPS data showed much of Greenland is rising far more rapidly than thought, up to 12mm a year. This means 19 cubic kilometres more ice is falling into the sea each year, an increase of about 8% on earlier figures. link

Greenland is the front line in humanity's battle against climate change. More and more of Greenland, whose frozen expanses are a living remnant of the last ice age, disappears each year, with as much as 150 billion metric tons of glacier vanishing annually, according to one estimate. If all the ice on Greenland were to melt tomorrow, global sea levels would rise more than 20 ft. - enough to swamp many coastal cities. link  Scott Luthcke, a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, weighs Greenland, every 10 days. And the island has been losing weight, an average of 183 gigatons (or 200 cubic kilometers) in ice annually during the past six years. link

September 2016: Greenland sets record temperatures, ice melts early. Temperature records were broken in Greenland this year after parts of the territory's vast ice sheet began melting unusually early. The average summer temperature was 8.2C in Tasiilaq on Greenland's southeast coast, the highest since records began in 1895 and 2.3C above the average between 1981 and 2010. Around 12% of the ice sheet was found to be melting almost one month earlier than the previous top three dates for when more than 10% of the ice had begun to melt. link

August 2016: NASA maps thawed areas under Greenland’s ice. NASA researchers have helped produce the first map showing what parts of the bottom of the massive Greenland Ice Sheet are thawed - key information in better predicting how the ice sheet will react to a warming climate. Greenland's thick ice sheet insulates the bedrock below from the cold temperatures at the surface, so the bottom of the ice is often tens of degrees warmer than the top, because the ice bottom is slowly warmed by heat coming from Earth's depths. Knowing whether Greenland's ice lies on wet, slippery ground or is anchored to dry, frozen bedrock is essential for predicting how this ice will flow in the future. link

This first-of-a-kind map, showing which parts of the bottom of the Greenland Ice Sheet are likely thawed (red), frozen (blue) or still uncertain (gray), will help scientists better predict how the ice will flow in a warming climate. Image courtesy NASA Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen.
         
    
January 2016: New threat from Greenland’s melting ice. A new discovery about the glacier shows that it can’t absorb meltwater the way it used to and is shedding 8,000 tons of ice a second. Greenland’s melting ice sheets s are contributing more water to the oceans than previously realized, and that’s going to lead to even greater amounts of sea-level ruise of  around the world, according to new research. The ice sheet is now losing about 8,000 tons every second, year-round, day in and day out.  link  

July 2012: Unprecedented melting of Greenland's ice sheet. The melting in July 2012 has stunned NASA scientists and has highlighted broader concerns that the region is losing a remarkable amount of ice overall. According to NASA,  about half of Greenland's surface ice sheet naturally melts during an average summer. But the data from three independent satellites this July, analyzed by NASA and university scientists, showed that in less than a week, the amount of thawed ice sheet surface skyrocketed from 40% to 97%. In over 30 years of observations, satellites have never measured this amount of melting, which reaches nearly all of Greenland's surface ice cover. (Above-  image taken July 8; at right July 12, just 4 days later.) link  

March 2016: Greenland’s ice getting darker, increasing risk of melting. Greenland's snowy surface has been getting darker over the past two decades, absorbing more heat from the sun and increasing snow melt. That trend is likely to continue, with the surface's reflectivity, or albedo, decreasing by as much as 10% by the end of the century according to a new study. While soot blowing in from wildfires contributes to the problem, it hasn't been driving the change, the study finds. The real culprits are two feedback loops created by the melting itself. One of those processes isn't visible to the human eye, but it is having a profound effect.  link

March 2012: Greenland ice sheet may melt completely with 1.6 degrees of global warming.  link  
February 2010: Greenland's glaciers disappearing from the bottom up - link

December 2015: Greenland’s glaciers found to be melting on fast track. Greenland's glaciers are retreating quickly, at least twice as fast as any other time in the past 9,500 years.  link

December 2013: Massive reservoir of melt water found under Greenland ice. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 34 billion tonnes of ice per year between 1992 and 2001 - but this increased to 215 billion tonnes between 2002 and 2011. link
 
Aug. 2014: Greenland ice loss doubles from late 2000s. A new assessment from Europe's CryoSat spacecraft shows Greenland to be losing about 375 cu km of ice each year. Added to the discharges coming from Antarctica, it means Earth's two big ice sheets are now dumping roughly 500 cu km of ice in the oceans annually. In Antarctica, the annual volume loss is about 128 cu km per year (plus or minus 83 cu km per year "The contribution of both ice sheets together to sea level rise has doubled since 2009," said Angelika Humbert from Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute. link

March  2014: Melting of last stable ice sheet in Greenland brings fears of faster sea level rise. Due to a rapid melting of the north-east corner of the Greenland ice sheet, long considered cold and stable, global sea levels may rise faster than anticipated. Satellite measurements have shown that this part of Greenland, which covers 16% of the ice sheet, has now begun to melt after many years of stability.  link



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