The Washington Post (11/12/15) carried a lengthy article about Greenland melting away rapidly. Details can quickly be perused on a Google search or from National Geographic Greenland photojournalism.
Why is Greenland an island and not a continent is a subject for consideration by geographers. Geologists know Greenland rests on its own tectonic plate making it part of North America. Earth’s largest island is 840,000 square miles and is 80% ice. Greenland was discovered in 982 by Eric the Red. It became a colony of Denmark in the 18th century. Following a referendum in 1979, Greenland was granted full internal government in 1981. In 2015, 57,000 residents, no matter where their political alliance lies are witnessing the ice melt relentlessly. Citizens of Greenland are politically aligned with Europe. Scientists and venturesome visitors to Greenland are quite alarmed to observe the irreversible pace of melting occurring there.
“For the first time since 2008, 7 out of 10 Americans indicate there is solid evidence of global warming… Dr. Nancy Selover, state climatologist for Arizona said there is good science for supporting the public’s belief in global warming.” (Advocate, 11/8/15) Those who are still in doubt about Earth’s warming might travel to Greenland or carefully read Fate of Mountain Glaciers In the Anthropocene (Pontifical Academy of Science, 2011).
There is no doubt 400 glaciers have simply melted away since the 1700’s. Climate scientists grow weary pointing out Svante August Arrhenius issued a warning in 1890 that unlimited burning of fossil fuels will eventually threaten all life on Earth. Arrhenius reiterated his warning in 1903.
When billions of tons of ice melt, moisture must enter Earth’s atmosphere. Massive amounts of moisture will return in flooding and heavy blizzards, inundating entire communities as the eastern United States have witnessed. What besides hurricanes Irene and Sandy could close Wall Street?
The ocean level has risen eight inches since 1880. Another rise of one to four feet is predicted by 2100.
More than 600 million people live on land less than 30 feet above ocean level. Miami, New Orleans and New York are most vulnerable.
Paris will need decades to recover from bloody violence of November 2015. The majority of nations will gather for a COP 21 Climate Conference in that wounded world-class city in December 2015.
As carbon dioxide levels approach 400 parts per million (ppm) stressful questions remain about the rise of ocean levels. Earth and billions of people await a gradual transition to an economy that is carbon neutral. Germany has already taken the lead. Jobs will be sacrificed in the fossil field industry, but possibly no one will have jobs in the future if the Carbon Combustion Complex (CCC) does not stop melting planetary ice. The CCC is the most powerful entity in history, but its affluent magnates might learn from vanishing Greenland and melting glaciers. Time is running out.