How Greenland changes due to climate change

How Greenland changes due to climate change

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In this period we have all become more attentive to the signals sent by a planet that we have mistreated, ourselves and previous generations. Let's pay more attention and we are more aware of the transformations taking place in the various areas, especially the most sensitive to climate change such as the desert and polar ones. It is therefore not at all surprising that an international team of researchers has wondered how Greenland changes. In particular, its ice cap.

How Greenland changes: the study

The study focuses on a problem that is more current than ever even if it spans data that are up to 120,000 years old. It was published in Nature Communications and the international team of researchers also includes those fromUniversity of Milan-Bicocca. It is not a new idea to analyze the variations of an ice cap in these parts, but this time a completely new approach has been applied to study those of the eastern edge of the ice cap to answer the question: how Greenland changes. The dust present in an extracted ice core was analyzed to understand what has happened over the years to the ice that covers this land.

Curious isn't it? Let's take a closer look at how these researchers have moved to arrive at the results underlying the research, entitled "Ice core dustparticle sizes reveal past ice sheet extent in East Greenland "

The analyzed carrot was 584 meters deep, it was taken deep in the Scoresby Sund region. This name tells us nothing but it is important to know because it is a particular area of ​​the Greenland, peripheral to the cap and therefore very sensitive to the oscillations of the glacial margin. It is the perfect area to do this type of study and get something out of it.

How Greenland changes: discoveries

Analyzing the mineral powders coming from the proglacial regions, raised and carried by the wind in the last 120,000 years, the researchers had the opportunity to identify the various life stages of the cap, those in which it had a very modest extension and those in which it was very large. If the canopy was almost absent, the ground was in contact with the air and therefore also with the winds. This changes the composition of the powders which were then trapped in the ice collected and studied.

Thanks to the precise dating of the carrot it was possible to state that the calotte was growing during the beginning of the last ice age and in progressive retreat during the first part of the interglacial in which we live, the Holocene. The news is that contrary to what was suspected they have not seen each other big changes during the last glacial period, not even in periods characterized by sudden climatic warming.

The study was also interesting from other points of view, for example to study the effect that the dust dispersed in the air have on the climate and the impact that the melting of the caps has on the rise in sea level.

Greenland and ice caps

Now that we understand how precious the ice caps, e the information they carry with them for hundreds of millennia, let's take a closer look at their characteristics. By definition an ice cap or inlandsis, it is a mass of continental ice that covers the ground of a vast geographical area, extending for more than 50,000 km².

That of Greenland is one of the two remaining ice caps on Earth, the other is in the Antarctic area, but once there were several more. Today we can also find "mini caps" which technically must be called ice hoods and they are smaller ice masses that feed a series of glaciers.

How old are the caps? They are relatively young. That ofAntarctic it was formed starting from a small ice cap in the early Oligocene and ended up occupying almost all of Antarctica. The Greenland ice sheet appeared in the late Pliocene but developed very quickly with the first continental glaciation. This rapid growth explains to us why we find well preserved fossils of the plants that once grew in present-day Greenland.

Greenland and climate change

If we look at the variations in temperature over a very large period of time, we can see the important role that the ice caps play, especially as regards the temperature of the oceans and, more generally, of the planet. Let's see why. When the canopy forms, it releases some amount of heat, said latent heat. On the other hand, when an ice sheet melts, it takes heat from the oceans.

Greenland has lost some mass for now, not so much as the study cited, but according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the mass loss of ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland however, it contributed to the rise in sea level, by about 0.2 mm every year, from 1993 to 2003. It would seem a growing and accelerating phenomenon if you think about the rise in temperatures.

Greenland: where it is located

To locate Greenland on the map and keep an eye on it, let's take a closer look at where it is. In the local language it is nicknamed "Land of men" and in Danish "Green Earth", is an island located in the far north of the Atlantic Ocean between Canada to the southwest, Iceland to the southeast, the Arctic and the Arctic Ocean to the north. It belongs to the North American plate from a geographical point of view but from a political point of view, it constitutes a nation within the Kingdom of Denmark. With the exception of Australia, it can be considered the largest island on the planet and at the same time the least densely populated state.

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