Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:42:47 +0200

Copenhagen, Sept 13, 2016 (AFP) - Temperature records were broken in Greenland this year after parts of the territory's vast ice sheet began melting unusually early, the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) said Tuesday.   "These new results give us new and robust evidence of the tendency of warmer temperatures in the Arctic continuing," John Cappelen, a climatologist at the institute, said in a statement.

The average summer temperature was 8.2 degrees Celsius (46.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in Tasiilaq on Greenland's southeast coast, the highest since records began in 1895 and 2.3 degrees Celsius above the average between 1981 and 2010.   New highs were also recorded in the south and in the northeast this summer, after a balmy spring that broke records at six out of 14 weather stations in the territory.

In April, DMI said that the seasonal melting of Greenland's vast ice sheet had reached record levels, prompting it to check that its "models were still working properly."   Around 12 percent of the ice sheet was found to be melting almost one month earlier than the previous top three dates for when more than 10 percent of the ice had begun to melt, it said.   The Greenland ice sheet, a potentially massive contributor to rising sea levels, lost mass twice as fast between 2003 and 2010 as during the entire 20th century, researchers said in December.
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012 02:16:42 +0200 (METDST)

PARIS, May 25, 2012 (AFP) - A strong 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck in the Greenland Sea late Thursday, with no immediate reports of damage or tsunami alert, the US Geological Survey said. The quake hit at 2247 GMT on Thursday at a depth of 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), the USGS said, 1079 kilometres (670 miles) northwest of Murmansk, in Russia extreme northwest.
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 19:02:15 +0100 (MET)

PARIS, Feb 14, 2010 (AFP) - Greenland's continent-sized icesheet is being significantly eroded by winds and currents that drive warmer water into fjords, where it carves out the base of coastal glaciers, according to studies released Sunday.   The icy mass sitting atop Greenland holds enough water to boost global sea levels by seven metres (23 feet), potentially drowning low-lying coastal cities and deltas around the world.   At present, the ocean watermark is rising at around three millimetres (0.12 inches) per year, a figure that compares with 1.8mm (0.07 inches) annually in the early 1960s.

But Greenland's contribution has more than doubled in the past decade, and scientists suspect climate change is largely to blame, although exactly how this is occurring is fiercely debated.   Some theories point to air temperatures, which are rising faster in far northern latitudes than the global average.   A rival idea is that shifting currents and subtropical ocean waters moving north are eroding the foundation of coastal glaciers, accelerating their slide into the sea, especially those inside Greenland's many fjords.   Until now, however, these studies have been mainly based on mathematical models rather than observation.

A team of scientists led by Fiammetta Straneo of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts set out to help fill that data void.   Working off of a ship in July and September 2008, the researchers took detailed measurements of the water properties in the Sermilik Fjord connecting Helheim Glacier in eastern Greenland with the ocean.   They found deep water streaming into the fjord was 3.0-4.0 degrees Celsius (37.4-39.2 degrees Fahrenheit), warm enough to cut into the base of the glaciers and hasten their plunge into the sea.

Moored instruments left in the fjord for eight months showed that winds aligned with the coastline played a crucial role in the influx of these warmer waters.   "Our findings support increased submarine melting as a trigger for the glacier acceleration, but indicated a combination of atmospheric and oceanic changes as the likely driver," the researchers say.   In a separate field study, Eric Rignot of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California and colleagues tried to calculate the relative share of the causes of glacier loss.

Investigating the western side of Greenland, they took ocean measurements in August 2008 in three fjords at the base of four glaciers breaking off into the sea, a process known as calving.   Ocean melting, they found, accounted for between 20 and 75 percent of ice loss from the glacier face, with calving from the part of the iceberg exposed to air accounting for the rest.

Meanwhile, a study also published in the journal Nature Geoscience warned that oceans could become more acidic faster than at any time over the last 65 million years.   Andy Ridgwell and Daniella Schmidt of the University of Bristol, western England compared past and future changes in ocean acidity using computer simulations.   They found that the surface of the ocean is set to acidify even faster than it did during a well-documented episode of greenhouse warming 55.5 million years ago.

Accelerating acidification has already begun to take a toll on numerous marine animals that play a vital role in ocean food chain and help draw off huge quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere.   The calcium carapace of microscopic animals called foraminifera living in the Southern Ocean, for example, have fallen in weight by a third.
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 18:45:09 +0100 (MET)

WASHINGTON, Nov 13, 2009 (AFP) - Greenland's ice sheet has melted faster than previously thought, according to the results of a two-year study published by the US journal Science.  Scientists reported that warmer than usual summers accelerated ice loss to 273 cubic kilometers (65 cubic miles) of a year between 2006 and 2008, amounting to a 0.75 millimeter (0.02 inch) rise in global sea levels per year.   "It is clear from these results that mass loss from Greenland has been accelerating since the late 1990s and the underlying causes suggest this trend is likely to continue in the near future," said researcher Jonathan Bamber, one of the authors of the study, released Thursday.

The study analyzed satellite data using a new computer model.   "We have produced agreement between two totally independent estimates, giving us a lot of confidence in the numbers and our inferences about the processes," Bamber said.   Greenland's ice cap contains enough water to cause, if it became fluid, a global sea level rise of seven meters (23 feet).   According to the study, since 2000 the ice sheet has lost around 1500 cubic kilometers (360 cubic miles) of water, which amounts to an average global sea level rise of five millimeters (0.19 inches).

Researchers said that increased snowfall on the ice sheet has masked a melting increase since 1996, and the refreezing of meltwater also has moderated the effects of ice sheet loss.    Without these two moderating effects the study said the overall loss would have been double that observed since 1996.   In a landmark report in 2007, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted oceans would rise by 18-59 centimeters (7.2 and 23.6 inches) by 2100.   The increase would depend on warming, estimated at between 1.1 and 6.4 degrees Celsius (1.98-11.52 degrees Fahrenheit) this century, which in turn depends on how much man-made greenhouse gases are poured into the atmosphere.
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 22:45:01 +0100 (MET)

COPENHAGEN, Nov 11, 2009 (AFP) - Greenland reported its first case of swine flu on Wednesday as the death toll from the virus rose across Europe.   New A(H1N1) fatalities were recorded in Croatia and Ukraine, while a mass vaccination programme was due to get under way in France.

A pre-school age girl in Greenland was diagnosed with swine flu by chance during a routine health check, the island's chief doctor told a radio station.
The health authorities have given no details of how or where the girl came to be infected, but the doctor said he was sure there were more cases of the virus on the Arctic island.   Croatia's health minister said a 62-year-old man had died in Zagreb after contracting A(H1N1), bringing the country's swine flu death toll to three.

More than 2,500 cases have been reported since the virus first appeared in the country in July, according to official figures cited by state-run news agency HINA.   Neighbouring Serbia, where seven have now died from swine flu, declared a national epidemic.

Portugal's prime minister and health minister had flu jabs publicly on Wednesday in an attempt to allay fears about the safety of the vaccine.   On Sunday the country's director of public health admitted some doctors and nurses had raised questions about the vaccine, but Prime Minister Jose Socrates said vaccination was the best way to contain the virus.
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