Global warming impacting Greenlanders' daily lives

Jul 09, 2009 by Slim Allagui
Greenlandic fisherman Johannes Heilmann poses for a photo in front of the shipping harbor of Nuuk fjord. From his trawler that motors along the Nuuk fjord, Heilmann has watched helplessly in recent years as climate change takes its toll on Greenland. Global warming is occurring twice as fast in the Arctic as in the rest of the world.

From his trawler that motors along the Nuuk fjord, fisherman Johannes Heilmann has watched helplessly in recent years as climate change takes its toll on Greenland.

Global warming is occurring twice as fast in the Arctic as in the rest of the world.

Heilmann, in his 60s with a craggy, rugged face from years of work in the outdoors, says he and his colleagues can no longer take their dogsleds out to the edge of the ice floes to fish because the ice isn't thick enough to carry the weight.

And yet the freezing waters with large chunks of ice are too difficult to navigate in their small fishing boats, making fishing near impossible.

"We can't use the sleds any more, the ice isn't thick enough," laments Heilmann, saying he now has to rely on bird hunting, and sometimes seal hunting, while waiting for the summer months to go fishing.

At Ilulissat, more than 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, Emil Osterman tells local daily Sermitsiaq how "in 1968, when I was 13, we went fishing in December in the fjord and the ice was several metres thick."

Now, more than 40 years on, the ice at the very same location at the same time of year "is only 30 centimetres thick."

The head of Nuuk's fishing and hunting association, Leif Fontaine, explains how climate warming is also affecting the region's shrimp industry -- Greenland's main export and biggest industrial sector.

"When the water gets warmer, the shrimp become rarer as they move further north," he says.

"And the melting ice is worrying, especially for the residents of isolated villages in the north and the east who only have sleds and no boats to hunt, fish and survive," he adds.

That has forced some hunters to let their sleddogs starve to death, since they can't provide them with the seals and fish they need to eat.

Polar bears that roam the ice also have an increasingly difficult time finding food, especially seals, as the ice floes melt. As a result they end up approaching villages in search of nourishment, presenting a danger to the locals and themselves.

In Nuuk, residents like Nana Pedersen and Sofus Moeller, two recent high school graduates, are worried about the changes to the climate.

They recall a snowstorm that took place on June 20 -- rare even for Greenland.

Moeller says he is "worried" about the changes, but admits that he doesn't think about it every day.

"I don't know if it's warmer than before, since winter after all lasts until May here," he says.

But at the new Arctic research centre in Nuuk, director Soeren Rysgaard has no doubts that is having an impact.

"It's very visible in the Arctic."

Fishermen who pull up fewer fish in their nets or who can no longer fish in certain areas because the ice is too thin are those most affected right now, he says.

But the speaker of the local parliament, Josef Motzfeldt, notes that has also brought "some good."

A growing number of tourists have come to Greenland to see how climate change is causing the North Atlantic island's enormous glaciers to melt, and new species never before found in Greenland are turning up, such as sea urchins and squid.

In southern Greenland, the longer summers are benefiting vegetable farmers, who are experiencing some of their most lucrative times.

"Trees are growing and the fields are full of potatoes, lettuce, carrots and cabbage" to be sold at the local market, explains Anders Iversen, who heads a plant nursery near Qaqotorq in the south.

Temperatures are warmer now, with the mercury sometimes rising above 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) in summer, he says.

"If global warming continues, we will be able to grow even more kinds of vegetables during a longer season," he adds.

The farmers' hopes could soon be confirmed by new worrying observations in Greenland's far north.

The Sunrise, a ship belonging to environmental group Greenpeace, has recently arrived at the Petermann glacier, one of the region's biggest glaciers that is in the process of breaking up, where experts will study its developments.

For Greenpeace, the shrinking of the glacier is a clear sign that global warming is no longer "a theory, but a harsh reality."

(c) 2009 AFP

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Arkaleus
3.5 / 5 (14) Jul 09, 2009
"Global warming is occurring twice as fast in the Arctic as in the rest of the world."

This statement doesn't make any sense. For something to be global it must affect the entire world by definition. The correct statement should be "The climate of Greenland is changing faster than the rest of the planet, on average."

The thing is, we've seen this for centuries, and can document at least as far back at the Viking colonizations. Until "scientists" can explain why Greenland is subject to such large swings in climate, they are hardly justified in claiming human emissions of CO2 as the cause.

Warmists cannot produce a climate model that works. They can approximate computer models and pothulate, but so far can't describe beyond a doubt the relationships they claim are causing climate change. To make braod claims without scientific verification is nothing more than religious prognostication.
Sanescience
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 09, 2009
I've noticed more articles that freely mix "Climate Change" with "Global Warming" hoping to pollute the term before rational science raises the issue to public consciousness. Yes climate change happens. No, it is not "settled science" what effect CO2 released by humans has.

Even the term "settled science" isn't something a rational scientist would use. Science is the process of trying to find what is wrong with a theory so that it can be improved or scrapped altogether in favor of a better description.
HerbM
3.7 / 5 (6) Jul 09, 2009
What evil sick schmuck (adults may substitute a stronger word) would "let their sleddogs starve to death"?

Anyone who cannot take care of an animal is obligated to find someone who can (and will) or a humane way to put the animal down.

omatumr
2.5 / 5 (8) Jul 09, 2009
PROPAGANDA OR SCIENCE ?

"Global warming is occurring twice as fast in the Arctic as in the rest of the world."

This statement doesn't make any sense. For something to be global it must affect the entire world by definition . . . .

The thing is, we've seen this for centuries, and can document at least as far back at the Viking colonizations. Until "scientists" can explain why Greenland is subject to such large swings in climate, they are hardly justified in claiming human emissions of CO2 as the cause.


I regret to say that you are right on target.

Unfortunately scientists have learned to say what the politicians want to hear. The result is often nonsense like this.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://myprofile....anuelo09


mongander
3 / 5 (6) Jul 10, 2009
Science is all about massaging the data to fit your prejudice.
Canman
2.7 / 5 (10) Jul 10, 2009
Why does every global warming article have a list of responses from people who are disgusted with the way science is being manipulated? This article, in particular, is about a place that is obviously warming, no debate. The theory of man made global warming is supported by mountains of evidence. A great deal of this evidence actually rules out natural or cyclical explanations for global warming: ice cores, lake-bed sediment cores, sea ice measurements, air and water measurements, known behaviors of greenhouse gases, albido measurements, solar output measurements, changes in the earth's orbit and orientation. Thousands of people who are trained to be even more skeptical than the lay-skeptics are all converging on the reality of man-made global warming. All this is true, even while it is a matter of public record that Exxon is still paying people to express doubt in the reality of man made global warming in order to sow confusion in the public mind. Skepticism in this situation will lead to inaction. Inaction in this situation is immoral.
3432682
2.8 / 5 (9) Jul 10, 2009
We skeptics speak up because we're tired of the propaganda paid for with $10 billion annually by the alarmist industry. And you worry about Exxon paying people.



Global warming has been a boon to mankind. It is extremely rare to find an actual example of GW doing something bad. For this story, I wonder how many times Greenland ice has waxed and waned in the last 10,000 years.



We do not find GW supported by a mountain of evidence. We merely find people who state that such evidence exists, and who know nothing of evidence to the contrary.



Alarmist science is strictly one-sided, a dishonest scientific enterprise - the Enron of science. The GW theory is simply wrong, broken, and in need of replacement with something that can actually replicate history, and make predictions which bear out. Why is GW not working for the last 10 years?



We need research on the real action of water vapor and clouds, because the heat tripling effect of CO2 upon water vapor and clouds postulated by the IPCC is highly questionable. It appears to be backwards - high altitude water vapor drops with higher temperature, contrary to GW theory. It may well be that clouds block incoming sunlight, and reduce temperatures.



We need to understand how CO2 can be increasing steadily, but temperatures are not. We need to understand just how much more greenhouse effect will occur if CO2 doubles, and doubles again. There is a diminishing rate of return, and the total heating effect should be limited to about 1 degree.



We need to understand the effect of ocean cycles on climate. The IPCC has chosen to totally ignore them. We are now entering ocean cycle phases which should cool us down. And it appears that cooling might be under way.



We need better information on solar cycles. We are in the quietest phase in about 100 years. We need to know why historic temperatures track solar activity extremely well. The IPCC also totally ignores solar cycles.



We need an honest accounting of the catastrophic effects cap-and-trade on the economy, on job creation. Spain has 18% unemployment, at least partially because of a whole-hog green movement. Studies indicate that creating one green job kills two real jobs.



And we need to understand why this is such a political issue. Not one in 10,000 people know anything about the science. Those who spend a lot of time reading about it find the dogmatic stance of the alarmists to be unsupported, political, and truly a faith-based approach.
dachpyarvile
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 10, 2009
Why does every global warming article have a list of responses from people who are disgusted with the way science is being manipulated? This article, in particular, is about a place that is obviously warming, no debate. The theory of man made global warming is supported by mountains of evidence. A great deal of this evidence actually rules out natural or cyclical explanations for global warming: ice cores, lake-bed sediment cores, sea ice measurements, air and water measurements, known behaviors of greenhouse gases, albido measurements, solar output measurements, changes in the earth's orbit and orientation. Thousands of people who are trained to be even more skeptical than the lay-skeptics are all converging on the reality of man-made global warming. All this is true, even while it is a matter of public record that Exxon is still paying people to express doubt in the reality of man made global warming in order to sow confusion in the public mind. Skepticism in this situation will lead to inaction. Inaction in this situation is immoral.


Want to know one reason of many why we are sceptical? Here is one scientific reason:

See H. H. Lamb, Climate, History and the Modern World, pp. 157-159.

He lightly treats the fact that temperatures were at least between 4°C and 5°C warmer than at present. The evidence he gives are Old Norse graves that were dug, but which are frozen solid with permafrost now, recorded climate records, fishing much closer inland in Greenland, and a person surviving a two-mile plus swim in the water between islands, implying that the water had to have been at least 4°C warmer than the present averages.

Additional evidence not discussed in these pages are crop pollens and other artifacts indicative of warmer climate than presently in Greenland.

Yet, 1000 years ago there were no human CO2 emissions on the scale of today and no fossil-fueled industry to speak of! Read the material the climate scientists don't want you to see.
Canman
2.2 / 5 (10) Jul 11, 2009
Let me just start with your assertion that proponents of the theory that man made global warming are being alarmist. Of course they are alarmist! The whole world is getting hotter! Are people getting a little panicky? YES! If blood were leaking out of your jugular, would you be alarmist? YES! Why? Because it is Alarming!
Did I hear you say "global warming is a boon to mankind"? The Global Humanitarian Forum created in 2007 estimates that global warming now contributes to 300,000 deaths a year. Ok, let's say they are off by a factor of ten. OK, that's only 30,000 deaths a year. Yikes! Some boon.
Did you say that "GW is not working for the last ten years"? As a matter of fact, 11 of the last 12 years (1995-2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrument record of global surface temperature (since 1850).
If any readers out there would like to see just how "broken" the theory of global warming is, just do a search for "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. (This is a contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The data is right there. These are not just a bunch of clowns licking their fingers and sticking them up in the air, these are the professional climatologists (who actually made money teaching and doing research before climate change was a big issue) from all over the entire world.
Do you know why people know very little about "evidence to the contrary" of climate change? Because there is no reasonable evidence to the contrary! I'm serious. Go look up that report I just told you about. There is so much supporting data there, you could spend the next three weeks reading nothing else. And what "hard data" do you present us? An anecdote about graves and swimming in Greenland. Great, so you have just proven to us that there was a Middle Ages Warm Period, which climatologists already know about and have already accounted for, and has very little bearing on the discussion at hand. Until you can do better, stop confusing people. It is morally wrong.
Arkaleus
2 / 5 (4) Jul 13, 2009
Can you explain the links between changing climate and human deaths? How does a mathematical average of tempurates and co2 concentrations cause death?

It is absurd sensationalism to suggest climate change is killing anyone. Care to detail the chain of causality?

Climate change is an obvious fact of reality, so much so that the norm of planet earth could be said to be a changing, variable climate. There is no need to panic over this new realization, especially when you consider life evolved and adapted under this condition.

Stop fearing a warmer earth, a warm eath means a verdant, plant-friendly environment that will help feed the successful human race.
Canman
3 / 5 (4) Jul 13, 2009
There are several chains of causality. Let's skip the more chains projected to occur, like the increase in range for disease carrying vectors (which is already starting to occur), or the decrease in fresh water suppied by ice packs in the Himalayas and the Andes (which are also starting to occur). And also lets ignore more circuitous chains, like a huge hike in african crop failure leading to migrating populations, which in turn lead to more regional conflict (as in Rwanda and Congo). Let's look at just good old fashioned heat waves. When the temps go up in some northern European city, and older folks are exposed to excesses in temperature, blood in their bodies is shunted to the surface of their body in an attempt to radiate off more heat. This shunting stresses their heart, so rates of heart attack go way up on hot days. Strokes go way up because people are losing more fluid and blood clots more easilly. As a case in fact, the heat wave in Europe, summer of 2003, corresponded to an additional 35,000 deaths above the same periods of time from previous years.
And we have not even gotten to predicted sea level rise yet.
John_balls
3 / 5 (4) Jul 13, 2009
There are several chains of causality. Let's skip the more chains projected to occur, like the increase in range for disease carrying vectors (which is already starting to occur), or the decrease in fresh water suppied by ice packs in the Himalayas and the Andes (which are also starting to occur). And also lets ignore more circuitous chains, like a huge hike in african crop failure leading to migrating populations, which in turn lead to more regional conflict (as in Rwanda and Congo). Let's look at just good old fashioned heat waves. When the temps go up in some northern European city, and older folks are exposed to excesses in temperature, blood in their bodies is shunted to the surface of their body in an attempt to radiate off more heat. This shunting stresses their heart, so rates of heart attack go way up on hot days. Strokes go way up because people are losing more fluid and blood clots more easilly. As a case in fact, the heat wave in Europe, summer of 2003, corresponded to an additional 35,000 deaths above the same periods of time from previous years.

And we have not even gotten to predicted sea level rise yet.

I have a feeling the people you are debating are either paid propagandist , which wouldn't be so surprising or are die in the wool right wingers. Either way they are repulsive and don't miss an oppurtunity to chime in on every global warming article by calling it junk science or calling everyone alarmist.
dachpyarvile
5 / 5 (1) Jul 14, 2009
The IPCC is controlled by "scientists" with a political bent. What YOU should do is look at the raw data and the previous report before the final report that was pushed out onto the public. A very different tale is told there before it was filtered through the lead political activists...er...I mean, lead climate scientists... :)

Funny thing about your dismissal of the evidence of the warmer period actually is very pertinent to the question of what warming will do to the environment. The temperature across the Arctic from Alaska to Europe was warmer by at least 4° to 5°C than today's climate. There was no massive melting of the GIS and flooding of the oceans onto land, then. So, it goes to reason that there will not be such a situation as is predicted for the recent future.

Seriously, check ALL the data for yourself. Don't fall for the pseudoscience of the latest IPCC report which does not match the data without first coming up with creative algoreithms (misspelling intentional) to smooth away any data that contradicts the final IPCC statements.
Canman
1 / 5 (2) Jul 14, 2009
I know there will be massive melting because there already is massive melting. Sea level used to be going up about 1mm per year. Now it is going up 3mm per year. There is no more concrete data than that.
10 years=30mm (3cm)
100 years=300mm (30cm)
And that is without any positive feedback loops, that is without taking into effect the local effect of gravity around the Antarctic or Greenland. If you want, I'll find the original sources on these, which are independent of the IPCC.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (1) Jul 16, 2009
Did I hear you say "global warming is a boon to mankind"? The Global Humanitarian Forum created in 2007 estimates that global warming now contributes to 300,000 deaths a year.

Winter cold snaps are directly responsible for over 4 million deaths a year in the US and Europe alone. The 300,000 GW deaths you tout are the elderly, poor, malnourished, and those with severe untreated respiratory problems.
Did you say that "GW is not working for the last ten years"? As a matter of fact, 11 of the last 12 years (1995-2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrument record of global surface temperature (since 1850).
Since 1978, not since 1850. The "global surface record" you're talking about is the resultant data since the start of satellite monitoring, not since the deployment of the NWS.

If any readers out there would like to see just how "broken" the theory of global warming is, just do a search for "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. (This is a contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

AR4 has been largely discredited in addition to being more than a decade out of date.

I know there will be massive melting because there already is massive melting. Sea level used to be going up about 1mm per year. Now it is going up 3mm per year. There is no more concrete data than that.
3mm a year in one hundred years will be 3 dm (decimeters) or 3 tenths of a meter. Beachfront erosion will advance by 3 miles in that same span of time. You shouldn't be worried about flooding, you should be worried about improper building codes in relation to shorelines.
Canman
1.5 / 5 (2) Jul 16, 2009
Winter cold snaps are not directly responsible for 4 million deaths a year in the US and Europe. Between 1979 to 2002 an average of 689 people per year died from hypothermia in the US according to the CDC.
AR4, as far as I know, is out of date with regard to at least one thing. Current estimates of sea level rise are much greater than previously estimated. Current estimates are at one meter within a hundred years instead of a third of a meter (Niels Bohr Institute,reported Jan 8, 2009 by physorg).
Velanarris
5 / 5 (1) Jul 16, 2009
Winter cold snaps are not directly responsible for 4 million deaths a year in the US and Europe. Between 1979 to 2002 an average of 689 people per year died from hypothermia in the US according to the CDC.

Hypothermia is not the only malady triggered by the cold. Heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks, etc are all directly related to cold weather exposure. Seeing as you attributed all of the above to warm climates, it's disingenous to not do the same in kind. After all, how many people died of heatstroke in your figures?



AR4, as far as I know, is out of date with regard to at least one thing. Current estimates of sea level rise are much greater than previously estimated. Current estimates are at one meter within a hundred years instead of a third of a meter (Niels Bohr Institute,reported Jan 8, 2009 by physorg).
AR4 was published as a review of a sub-collection of papers on climatological variance in 1997. The current year is 2009. That is 12 years worth of papers written after the fact, all of which disagree with AR4 citing its findings as underestimations or overestimations.



AR4 cites that AGW hypothesis will detect a hot spot in the upper troposphere, it did not.

AR4 cites that both poles will experience increased melting, they are not.

AR4 cites that the North Atlantic Conveyor will shut down due to desalinization, the NAC was disproven.

AR4 cites that sea ice faring species will face extinction within decades, all current known species residing on sea ice are recovering, thriving, or were inaccurately portrayed by AR4.



Shall we keep going?



I'm not saying AGW hypothesis is flat out wrong, because I don't know, (and neither does anyone else), but citing AR4 as any sort of expert reference material at this point in time is not doing your argument any good.
Canman
not rated yet Jul 16, 2009
What is the best reference material on AGW?
Velanarris
not rated yet Jul 17, 2009
What is the best reference material on AGW?

Historical and current observations.
dachpyarvile
not rated yet Jul 19, 2009
I know there will be massive melting because there already is massive melting. Sea level used to be going up about 1mm per year. Now it is going up 3mm per year. There is no more concrete data than that.

10 years=30mm (3cm)

100 years=300mm (30cm)

And that is without any positive feedback loops, that is without taking into effect the local effect of gravity around the Antarctic or Greenland. If you want, I'll find the original sources on these, which are independent of the IPCC.


Are you sure you are reading the actual data, or are you reading data smoothed or otherwise modified algoreithmically (mispelling intentional)?

Studies and evidence show that there was no massive meltoff of the GIS when climate was at minimum 4°C to 5°C warmer 1000 years ago than today.

What makes you think it will happen now?
GrayMouser
not rated yet Jul 19, 2009
What is the best reference material on AGW?


Historical and current observations.

Absolutely correct. The GCM computer models are predictions of what may happen IF the assumptions made by the models are true.

Historical observation tells us what has already happened.
We know that the Earth cools and warms naturally at varying intervals. (We don't know why this happens.)
We know we are in an interglacial period where warming is supposed to happen. (We don't know how hot it should get or how long it will last.)
We know that species adapt or perish due to these changes. (We can't predict which ones will adapt and which ones will die.)
We know that many species have survived multiple warming/cooling cycles (Such as Polar Bears and Corals.)
We know there is a lot we don't know. (But we don't know how important what we know and what we don't know are.)

As I always say: Weather happens.

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