Is Greenland coming out of a 400 year "Deep Freeze?
Greenland has been in a "Deep Freeze" for 400 years, ever since the "little ice age" aberation settled in. The Viking Norsemen had originally settled in this newly discovered land just about 200 years before the extremely cold period decended upon them. (The "little ice age" was an aberation of the major Wisconsin glacial period that the Earth was gradually recovering from for the past 50,000 years.)
When the Norsemen decided to settle this newly discovered virgin land of vast green pastures the climate was pleasant. The summers were long enough to grow crops and there was little or no sea ice to clog the harbors. It only seemed fitting to name their new homeland, Greenland.
This all changed when the "little Ice age" settled in. The summers grew colder and shorter, the glaciers began advancing and sea ice began to clog the harbors. Scientists have determined that the 14th century was the coldest period known in Greenland during the past 700 years. The advancing glaciers, short summers and long cold winters had a devastating effect on the farming and ranching of the Norse settlements. These adverse conditions, along with the build up of sea ice in the harbors, eventually led to the isolation and extinction of the original Norse settlers.
Now that the cooling aberation of this "little ice age" is over the glaciers are once again melting, the rolling countryside of Greenland can once again bloom. The coastal sea ice will no longer clog the harbors and when the glaciers have retreated far enough, new towns can be established, farming and ranching will again flourish. It will be like a great reawakening for the land after being trapped in a deep freeze for 400 years.
The enviromentalists are blaming this global warming phenomenon on the emission of greenhouse gases caused by automobile and industrial emissions. British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently said "global warming is advancing at an unsustainable rate". Blaming greenhouse gases may be true to a limited extent and should be taken into consideration but the major reoccuring glacial cycles that have been going on long before mankind came on the scene are the overwhelming cause of the present global warming phenomenon.
The major glacial ages have been reoccuring with remarkable regularity in the past million years, with vast interglacial periods of warm, mild climate in between these extremely cold periods. The planet has been recovering from the "Wisconsin" major glacial period for the past 50 thousand years. The "little ice age" was just a little aberation in this long warming recovery. This global warming period should level out into a major warm interglacial period that may last over 1000 centuries.
As the global warming trend continues toward the interglacial age, the northern lands of Alaska, Russia and Canada's climate will become milder. The permafrost will retreat further north and the tree lines will advance northward. Vast new agricultual areas will become available as the summers become longer for growing crops and ranching.
In the south the weather will continue to become more energetic causing more and stronger hurricanes and tornadoes in the southern USA. The low lying underbelly of the country will become much more vulnerable to the higher sea level and stronger storms. Levees and sea walls will have to be built much stronger and higher. It may become totally impractical to live in low lying areas of the Gulf region. This will be a very slow process however, perhaps taking as long as several hundred years. The low lying countries of Bengaladesh and Holland, etc. will also be at risk to the rising sea level.
The sea level of the oceans have already risen quite abit during this global warming period. The coast lines of countries around the world will continue to recede as the sea level rises. Evidence of this can be seen around the Mediterrean Sea where ancient harbors that were once above sea level, are now well below sea level. England and Europe were connected by a land as also was Siberia and Alaska. The coast lines around the world will continue to recede as the warming climate releases more glacial ice back into the ocean. Perhaps there really was an "Atlantis civilization" 15,000 - 20,000 years ago when a lot more ice was locked up in glaciers and the sea level was much lower.
The polar regions have already become increasingly important because of warming climate trend. With the polar sea ice disappearing, seaports and trade routes are being planned along the far northern coast lines. Already commercial shipping is beginning to use the polar routes as the Artic Ocean becomes more navigatable. Cruise ships are even beginning to explore this area. Canada is planning to build a deep-water port at Iqaluit, the Arctic territorial capital. Political friction is already beginning to heat up over Canada's claims in the Polar region.
How long this present global warming phase will last is anyone's guess. It may be nearly over or it may go on for some time yet. What ever it is, as the warming trend levels off and merges with the major interglacial period that follows, if it anything like the previous major glacial cycles will last for at least a thousand centuries. A thousand centuries of warm mild climate, now if only mankind can last through this century.
Don Hamilton, author of "The Mind of Mankind: Human Imagination, the source of Mankind's tremendous power!
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The tremendous power that is responsible for all that mankind has achieved!