Greenland. At the beginning of the year, a study from Yale University in the US published that in the long term the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic is threatened by a dramatic weakening of the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere. The study confirmed earlier fears that the melting of Greenland’s inland ice dilutes the seawater with fresh water and risks disturbing the circulation of the warm Gulf Stream. This could lead to strong cooling in the North Atlantic, which would affect the entire Nordic climate. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for frequently used acronyms and abbreviations related to as well as country profile of Greenland.
In June, western Greenland was shaken by an earthquake that measured 4.0 on the Richter scale. This led to a massive tsunami that swept over the coast, triggered a huge landslide, killed four people, destroyed many houses and forced the population to evacuate.
So strong earthquakes are not common in Greenland, but according to geologists, the pressure on the earth’s crust relieves as glaciers melt and retreat. It can trigger earthquakes by releasing tension in the crust.
In retrospect, US data models calculated that the tsunami reached enormous heights, up to 90 meters when the water was squeezed into the Karrat Fjord. However, there were no settlements. Where the tsunami reached inhabited areas, it is believed to have been about ten meters high.
Denmark and Greenland agreed during the year that 30 million Danish crowns a year should be set aside for at least five years to clear up at the abandoned American nuclear camp Camp Century in northwestern Greenland. Denmark also sent an expedition to the then abandoned half-century base, which is embedded in the inland ice. The intention is to find out what happens when the ice melts over, among other things, a nuclear reactor (used for electricity supply), millions of liters of waste water and about 9,000 tonnes of scrap. The United States has had several military bases in Greenland and still has the Thule air base in the northwest.
The UN agency UNESCO decided in July to designate the Greenlandic cultural landscape Kujataa as a World Heritage Site. It is a 350 square kilometer agricultural area in southwestern Greenland, where Vikings, other Norwegians and Inuit throughout history have used the relatively mild climate on the island’s southern tip for cultivation and livestock management.
In September, data came out that Greenland’s inland ice is growing again after melting for a couple of decades. Danish climate scientists found that the last twelve months have meant that ice and snow have increased in quantity in Greenland. It was the first time since the turn of the millennium that scientists were able to confirm this. For years, otherwise the glaciers have calved off so much ice that the snowfall could not compensate for the losses. However, since September 2016, the picture has been the opposite, as the snowfall has been so heavy.
GREENLAND. – Exploration. – Two very important stages in the exploration of Greenland represent, between the years 1930 and 1931, the two expeditions commanded by A. Wegener and HG Watkings, both died during the same, Wegener in November 1930 and Watkings in August of 1931. Also noteworthy are the expeditions carried out between 1931 and 1933 by the two explorers L. Koch and K. Rasmussen.
Geomorphological conditions. – Based on an estimate by H. Hess, from 1933, recently updated by S. Thorarinsson, the glaciers cover a total of 1,650,000 sq km.
Population. – In 1945 it was equivalent to 21,384 residents most of which were located along the west coast and only 1371 on the east coast. The most populated localities in 1938 were: Sukkertoppen 749 in., Julianehaab 744 in., Godthaab 742 in., Jakobshaven 546 in., Egedesminde 463 in., Godhaven 298 in., Ivigtut 155 in., Angmagsalik 129 in.
Economic resources. – Over the last few years, large-scale fishing has developed considerably (50,000 tons per year on average).
Administrative and political order. – On 5 April 1933 the International Court of Justice (The Hague) issued an award in favor of the sovereignty of the Danes over the eastern coasts between 60 ° 30 ‘and 63 ° 40’ and between 71 ° 30 ‘and 75 ° 40’ of latitude. north, which Norway occupied in 1931-32.
Greenland in World War II. – During the war, Germany established two observation posts in Greenland, one of which seems to have continued to function even after the German collapse, until 1946. After the occupation of Denmark by German troops, and after the extension of the German blockade to England and the North Atlantic waters, Greenland, for security reasons and to protect air and sea traffic between North America and the northern regions of Europe (Norway, Svalbard, Finland, Russia), was also occupied by American troops. The modalities of the occupation were regulated by a diplomatic act, signed on April 9, 1941 in Washington between the US State Department and the Minister of Denmark in Washington, HLH Kauffmann.
The US established the first consular office in Godthaab (on the east coast at the 64th parallel) in May 1940. US forces landed there in 1941-42. The main US airbase was established at Julianehaab (northeast of Cape Farewell, southern tip of the peninsula). This base is also an important base for transatlantic air traffic (800 miles from Reykjavik in Iceland, 1400 from Scotland, 870 from Newfoundland). Secondary airports are in Thule (eastern coasts at the height of the 76th parallel) and in Holsteinsborg (eastern coasts above the Arctic Circle).
This led to the principle that, although Denmark’s sovereignty over Greenland was officially recognized, the latter should be an integral part of the Pan-American defense system. On July 7, 1941, Roosevelt in a message to Congress, linking the problem of Greenland to that of Iceland, also occupied by American troops, declared that, at the end of the war, it should be the subject of negotiations between the American government and that of Denmark.. Under the 1941 agreement, Greenland was to be returned to the Copenhagen government immediately after hostilities ended, but on October 28, 1946, the Danish government declared that the United States was not required to evacuate Greenland before 1948.
Alongside this news spread, in the immediate postwar period. the other rumor that the United States intended to propose to the Danish government the purchase or lease of Greenland for 99 years. Conversations on this subject undoubtedly took place between the two governments in 1946-47, although subsequently the State Department on the one hand and the Danish Foreign Ministry on the other took every care to deny the news. A possible sale of Greenland, or even just bases in it, could undoubtedly seriously jeopardize the delicate balance situation in which Denmark finds itself, especially given its proximity to the USSR.