Climate Change Advantageous For Greenland
Climate Change Advantageous For Greenland

Melting ice is not all bad news for Greenland

In this day and age, it is rather astonishing to hear of a country benefiting from climate change.

Greenland, despite it being one of the nations most impacted by the changing climate, is reaping some financial and social rewards.

Greenland has assisted in mitigating some of the adverse consequences associated with climate change. Ice sheet covers 80% of the island nation.

The sun reflects much of its energy back into space off this large ice sheet, which moderates temperatures through a phenomenon known as the albedo effect.

Melt water from the ice sheets and glaciers have long assisted in moderating the warm ocean currents of the Atlantic Ocean.

Greenland, due to its composition, is especially vulnerable to climate change. Arctic air temperatures are currently rising twice the average global rate.

Like many countries around the world, including Australia, Greenland is also experiencing environmental conditions that set new records as "the driest", "the wettest" and "the warmest" season to date.

The most concerning trend to emerge is the rapidly increasing ice sheet melt. From 2002, the ice sheet has lost mass at a rate of 269 gigatonnes per year (1 gigatonne = 1 billion tonnes).

Greenland is contributing a quarter of global sea level rise. Contrary to what many believe, the ice caps will never completely melt away, as they are replenished by snow each winter.

This season, the ice cap actually gained mass, with extra snow falls, that were generated by additional moisture in the air caused by the record hurricanes in the Caribbean.

Arctic air temperatures are expected to rise between 2 to 7.5C this century. With the permafrost thawing, this organic matter comprising of more than 1,500 dead plants and animals will release carbon and methane into the atmosphere as the materials begin to decay. This will, in turn, further global warming.

Greenland is also now experiencing prolonged drought and record bushfires in summer, with its peaty soil highly flammable.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for many of the island nation's 56,000 residents. Greenland's agricultural economy is booming.

There are much larger fish stocks in the waters surrounding Greenland due to warmer sea temperatures and a continuous stream of nutritious melt water flowing down the fjord systems, creating optimal conditions for fishery.

Fisherman are not only catching more of the staples: cod and halibut, but they are harvesting warm water fish including mackerel and blue fin tuna, which have only recently appeared in their oceans.

The harvesting season has been extended by three weeks and the diversification of crops has taken place due to more favourable growing conditions.

Farmers no longer need to rely simply on potatoes and turnips to make a living, with commercial crop production now viable in some parts of the country.

Some residents also welcome the warmer temperatures. Greenland has the world's highest suicide rate with 100 out of 100,000 inhabitants ending their life annually.

Alcoholism and depression is rampant, especially during the dark, cold winters. Young people have limited outdoor activities to participate in during the winter months and obesity is also an issue.

Gun ownership is high and regulations surrounding the purchase and use of firearms lax. Some acquire guns for the hunting of reindeer, caribou and musk ox.

Many hope that with warmer temperatures there will be more opportunity for social, sporting activities and less boredom and depression amongst the youth.

There is a direct correlation between a lack of sunlight and levels of serotonin in the brain. Without enough sunlight exposure, a person's serotonin levels can dip low.

Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression triggered by a lack of sunlight.

While my heart breaks with the ice caps breaking apart and melting, it is thought-provoking to consider aspects of life deemed as disadvantageous through a completely different lens.

We are all living, breathing oxymorons being destructive, beautiful, creative, brilliant, resilient, weak, foolish and wise, and we can learn so much about ourselves through the eyes and experiences of others.

Statewide audit after fears nurses let down by masks

Premium Content Statewide audit after fears nurses let down by masks

Statewide audit recommended into fit testing of Qld nurses’ masks

NEW DEVELOPMENT: Motel to hit Stanthorpe CBD in major project

Premium Content NEW DEVELOPMENT: Motel to hit Stanthorpe CBD in major...

REVEALED: How development could turn vacant block in prime location into booming...

Confirmed: When COVID restrictions will ease

Premium Content Confirmed: When COVID restrictions will ease

Coronavirus Qld: COVID restrictions will ease at 6am on Thursday