UVM scientists stunned to discover plants beneath mile-deep Greenland ice

Jakobshavn glacier, West Greenland [image credit: Wikipedia]

This article asserts that climate changes, namely warm periods that it tells us have happened many times before in recent history, can now be attributed to humans if they happen again.
– – –
In 1966, US Army scientists drilled down through nearly a mile of ice in northwestern Greenland—and pulled up a fifteen-foot-long tube of dirt from the bottom, says the University of Vermont.

Then this frozen sediment was lost in a freezer for decades. It was accidentally rediscovered in 2017.

In 2019, University of Vermont scientist Andrew Christ looked at it through his microscope—and couldn’t believe what he was seeing: twigs and leaves instead of just sand and rock.

That suggested that the ice was gone in the recent geologic past—and that a vegetated landscape, perhaps a boreal forest, stood where a mile-deep ice sheet as big as Alaska stands today.

Over the last year, Christ and an international team of scientists—led by Paul Bierman at UVM, Joerg Schaefer at Columbia University and Dorthe Dahl-Jensen at the University of Copenhagen—have studied these one-of-a-kind fossil plants and sediment from the bottom of Greenland.

Their results show that most, or all, of Greenland must have been ice-free within the last million years, perhaps even the last few hundred-thousand years.

“Ice sheets typically pulverize and destroy everything in their path,” says Christ, “but what we discovered was delicate plant structures—perfectly preserved. They’re fossils, but they look like they died yesterday. It’s a time capsule of what used to live on Greenland that we wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.”

The discovery helps confirm a new and troubling understanding that the Greenland ice has melted off entirely during recent warm periods in Earth’s history—periods like the one we are now creating with human-caused climate change. [Talkshop comment – ‘human caused’ = evidence-free assertion].

Understanding the Greenland Ice Sheet in the past is critical for predicting how it will respond to climate warming in the future and how quickly it will melt. Since some twenty feet of sea-level rise is tied up in Greenland’s ice, every coastal city in the world is at risk.

The new study provides the strongest evidence yet that Greenland is more fragile and sensitive to climate change than previously understood—and at grave risk of irreversibly melting off.

“This is not a twenty-generation problem,” says Paul Bierman, a geoscientist at UVM in the College of Arts & Sciences, Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources, and fellow in the Gund Institute for Environment. “This is an urgent problem for the next 50 years.”

The new research was published March 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

BENEATH THE ICE

The material for the new PNAS study came from Camp Century, a Cold War military base dug inside the ice sheet far above the Arctic Circle in the 1960s.

The real purpose of the camp was a super-secret effort, called Project Iceworm, to hide 600 nuclear missiles under the ice close to the Soviet Union. As cover, the Army presented the camp as a polar science station.

Full article here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

https://ift.tt/2Nmcu7O

March 16, 2021 at 09:51AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s