Greenland’s Melting Ice Sheet: Ecological Disaster or Tourism Opportunity?
Saturday, July 28, 2012
With much of its surface covered in ice, Greenland continues to demonstrate the effects of global warming. And that’s not all bad, as far as the enormous island’s tourism industry is concerned.
Scientists from the United States recently noticed a startling event with Greenland’s ice sheet: Nearly all of it experienced some degree of melting during one three-day period.
Such a high degree of melt-off hasn’t happened since the 19th century, said Lora Koenig, a Dartmouth College glaciologist. A partial thaw of that degree occurs, though, on average, once every 150 years. This year’s may or may not be related to global warming. Some experts attributed the thawing to an unusually strong ridge of warm air over Greenland.
Normally, about half of the ice sheet experiences melting during the summer. This year, from July 11 to 13, 97% of it thawed some amount. The news was concerning to some. Others, like those running travel agencies, view the impact of global warming as an opportunity to boost tourism.
Most of Greenland’s sightseers once came from Denmark and Germany. But more tourists are now coming from the U.S. and Canada, thanks to the tourism industry and its “see global warming for yourself” campaign. Helicopter rides are available.
To Learn More:
Greenland Ice Sheet Had Biggest Thaw Since 1973 This Month, Scientists Say (by Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)
Greenland Tourism: Rubbernecking Global Warming? (by Kavitha Pramod, Sierra Club)
Global Warming Has Mining Companies Turning Their Attention to Greenland (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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