Sunday June 16, 2019
Home Lead Story Rising Global...

Rising Global Warming Temperatures Could Make Greenland Sand Exporter

The study said that sand and gravel might also be used in the future to reinforce beaches and coastlines.

0
//
greenland, global warming
FILE - The Greenland ice sheet is seen in southeastern Greenland, Aug. 3, 2017. VOA

Greenland could start to export sand in a rare positive spinoff from global warming that is melting the island’s vast ice sheet and washing large amounts of sediment into the sea, scientists said Monday.

Mining of sand and gravel, widely used in the construction industry, could boost the economy for Greenland’s 56,000 population who have wide powers of self-rule within Denmark but rely heavily on subsidies from Copenhagen.

By mining sand, “Greenland could benefit from the challenges brought by climate change,” a team of scientists in Denmark and the United States wrote in the journal Nature Sustainability.

The study, headlined “Promises and perils of sand exploitation in Greenland,” said the Arctic island would have to assess risks of coastal mining, especially to fisheries.

Rising global temperatures are melting the Greenland ice sheet, which locks up enough water to raise global sea levels by about seven meters (23 ft) if it ever all thawed, and carrying ever more sand and gravel into coastal fjords.

Greenland
FILE – A man walks to his boat past a number of abandoned and dry-docked boats in the town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 15, 2018. VOA

“You can think of it [the melting ice] as a tap that pours out sediment to the coast,” said lead author Mette Bendixen, a researcher at the University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

Worldwide demand for sand totaled about 9.55 billion tons in 2017 with a market value of $99.5 billion and is projected to reach almost $481 billion in 2100, driven by rising demand and likely shortages, the study said.

That meant a rare opportunity for the island.

“Normally the Arctic peoples are among those who really feel climate change — the eroding coast, less permafrost,” said Bendixen. “This is a unique situation because of the melting ice sheet.”

David Boertmann of Aarhus University, who was not involved in the study, said there was already some local mining of sand for the domestic construction industry in Greenland.

Drawbacks for Greenland, common to other mining projects on the island ranging from uranium to rare earth minerals, include the distance to markets in Europe and North America, he said.

Still, Bendixen said sand was already often transported long distances, such as to Los Angeles from Vancouver or from Australia to Dubai.

ALSO READ: Excavations in Egypt’s Sinai Helped Archaeologists Discover Ancient Workshop

The study said that sand and gravel might also be used in the future to reinforce beaches and coastlines. The study said that sand and gravel might also be used in the future to reinforce beaches and coastlines

“At the moment it is an inexpensive resource, but it will become more expensive,” she said.

The study said that sand and gravel might also be used in the future to reinforce beaches and coastlines at risk of rising sea levels, caused in part by Greenland’s thaw. (VOA)

Next Story

Greenland Lost More than 2 Billion Tons of Ice, with over 40% of Country Experiencing Unusual Melting

The researchers found that the Greenland melt event was due to an atmospheric circulation

0
Greenland, Ice, Country
The high melt is unusual so early in the season but not unprecedented. Pixabay

 In a sign that this year could once again set records for loss in Greenland ice, researchers have found that the island’s ice sheet lost more than two gigatonnes (a gigaton is equal to one billion tonnes) of ice in just a day this week due to a widespread melting event.

“Yesterday (13th June), we calculate #Greenland #icesheet lost more than 2 Gt of ice, melt was widespread but didn’t quite get to #SummitCamp which was just below 0 degree C. The high melt is unusual so early in the season but not unprecedented,” said the Greenland Twitter handle of the Arctic monitoring web-site Polar Portal of the Danish Arctic research institutions.

The researchers found that the Greenland melt event was due to an atmospheric circulation in the Arctic and North Atlantic.

The sudden spike in melting on June 13 this year is comparable to some spikes seen seven years ago, Thomas Mote, a research scientist at the University of Georgia who studies Greenland’s climate, told CNN.

Greenland, Ice, Country
Researchers have found that the island’s ice sheet lost more than two gigatonnes (a gigaton is equal to one billion tonnes) of ice in just a day this week due to a widespread melting event. Pixabay

Melt off early in the season makes it easier for further ice loss later in the season, the researcher said.

The Greenland melt season started very early this season – on April 30, which is the second earliest in a record that stretches back to 1980, according to scientists from the Danish Meteorological Institute.

“On average, the melt season starts around the 26th May, so we are almost a full month earlier this year” scientist Peter Langen said in a statement released by Polar Portal.

This year’s start of April 30 is second only to 2016, when a very unusual weather pattern caused a very early start to the melt season in mid-April.

Also Read- Scientists Create Virtual Biopsy Device to Detect Skin Tumors

Number three on the list is May 2, 2010 when a similar weather pattern also caused early melt onset closely followed by May 7 in 2017. The top four have all occurred within the last 10 years.

One reason why melting has spiked this year is that Greenland experienced a dry and cold winter.

“Through most of the winter, the majority of the ice sheet has been unusually dry, which sets it up for enhanced melting – if the right weather conditions occur – in the summer this year” scientist Ruth Mottram was quoted as saying.

The Polar Portal is a collaboration between DMI, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and Technical University of Denmark (DTU) under the Danish Ministry for Energy, Utilities and Climate. (IANS)