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.
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.