Climate, geography, demography, and water resources of Greenland

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Greenland is a large island in the North Atlantic Ocean. Most of Greenland is covered by ice, 630,000 cubic miles of ice. If all the ice melted , sea level would rise 23 feet. As of 2007, one prominent scientist estimates that about 80 cubic miles of ice melt each year. This has resulted in the retreat of glacial ice on the shore of the island, in some cases exposing land thought to be connected to the mainland as islands. The rate of melting, believed to be due to global warming, is greater than expected by climate scientists. A rise in sea level of even a foot would have dramatic effects in areas with low relief, such as coral atolls and coastal river deltas. [1]

There are three factors in play with respect to the Greenland Ice Cap: the amount of precipitation, generally snow, which adds to the accumulation of ice; melting, both on and at the edges of the ice; and glacial ice flow which transports ice from the interior to the edge. Measurements show acceleration of the rate of ice flow as far north as 70 degrees north, doubling the annual rate of loss of ice in the decade 1996 to 2005. [2]


  1. "The Warming of Greenland" article by John Collins Rudolf in the New York Times January 16, 2007
  2. "Greenland Ice-Loss Doubles in Past Decade, Raising Sea Level Faster" NASA University of Kansas, February 16, 2006

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