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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Global Warming: Greenland Gains Island, India Loses One

At least in the short run, global warming is creating winners and losers. As average temperatures and sea levels climb, some places go green while others go under (water).

Greenland just got greener, adding an island off its coast that was once buried under glacial ice, now melted.

Neither climate computer models nor Google Earth can keep pace with global warming. In this photo, it still shows the island connected to Greenland's mainland by a glacial bridge. (It's the grey-white ice just above the words at bottom of photo)

Contrast Greenland's gain with India's loss. Just before the New Year, the island of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 souls, was submerged by the sea, as blogged about here. It was the first documented case of inhabited land lost to global warming.

The problem is... Greenland's newest island -- named Uunartoq Qeqertoq ("the warming island") in the Inuit language -- is uninhabited. Lohachara had a population of 10,000, and there is no re-location program available to its former residents.

Greenland's melting ice is the #1 contributor to rising oceans globally. It is losing 80 cubic miles of ice per year. That translates into a lot of water. More than Lohachara could withstand. More than a lot of other places will survive.

So global warming has its first namesake: Uunartoq Qeqertoq.

What will we call the next Lohachara?

Categories: GlobalWarming, Greenland, India

3 comments:

Donald Axel said...

Global warming and flooding of the C-shell islands and other places like the Netherlands and flat areas of Denmark would not be a problem if there was a political will to share and develop areas of more friendly character. I am not afraid of warmer weather but of political unrest.
Maybe we should start wondering how migration, friendship building and catering of basic needs can be done.

Anonymous said...

i wonder how global warming and the rising oceans will affect Bangladesh! musa

Jeff Kaplan said...

Bangladesh is going to suffer. Among the global warming losers, I expect it will be among the worst hit, especially its coastal areas which are hugely populated.