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Austin Nguyen
AP English III
12 December 2016
Global Warming on Greenland
Greenland is a country with an ice sheet 2.8 million cubic kilometers ("Greenland Ice
Sheet | Facts about Greenland Ice Sheet.") . The ice has been there as far back as
250,000 years, and it is vital to Earths climate as it influences ocean currents, regulates
global temperature, and provides a home for animals and indigenous people
("Greenland Ice Sheet | Facts about Greenland Ice Sheet."). Because of this ice sheet
our planet is kept in a state of equilibrium. However, during the past century, Greenland
has lost about a trillion tons of ice and is continuing to do so at an alarming rate
(Harvey). There are many causes for the reduction of ice, and many dangers if too
much melts away.
Global Warming is the largest and most obvious reason that Greenland ice is
melting. Since the Industrial revolution, humans have been increasing the amount of
carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere ("Changes since the
Industrial Revolution"). According to NASA, last October was the second hottest
October in the past 136 years, with 2015s October being the first ("The Last three
Octobers are the warmest on record"). This shows a positive correlation between and
Greenland gases caused by humans. Unfortunately, 85% of the worlds energy
resources comes from fossil fuels and continues to allow global warming to grow ("85%
of World's Energy Still Comes from Fossil Fuels").

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In addition to warmer temperatures, global warming also melts ice indirectly through
algae. It is common knowledge that darker colors absorb more heat than lighter colors;
darker colors like black take in all colors of light, which becomes heat energy, while
brighter colors such as white reflect light. Some algae like Chlamydomonas nivalis are
adapted to growing on and in the ice and snow (Witze). These plants darken the
surface of Greenlands ice sheet resulting in more of the suns rays being absorbed
rather than reflected with colors that range from green, to brown, and even purple.
Since algae is an aquatic plants, the water from the melted ice along with warmer
temperature from global warming aid in its ability to bloom consequentially creating
more algae.
Greenlands geography also amplifies global warmings effects. Topography maps
show that the elevation is much higher inland than the coasts. This means that as the
ice melts from the tops of mountains and glaciers, runoff erodes away ice and
eventually carves rivers into Greenland. Some of the runoff even creates lakes on
Greenland which appear a deep blue color. The darker color reduce the amount of light
reflected, increasing global warming. Independent of altitude, Greenland is also being
chipped away by the oceans waves, which are also warmed, creating sea ice. This is
inopportune for Greenland since the country is completely surrounded by the water.
These bodies of water speed up the melting of the ice both from the inside and out.
Global warming, algae, and runoff are all part of a large cycle of warming, increasing
in strength as time passes. Therefore it is crucial that global warming is an important
concern, but in our society there are many misconceptions that lead people to believe
otherwise. One is that humans are only contributing only a small amount of CO 2 into the

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atmosphere ("25 Myths and Bad Arguments about Climate Change"). This is false due
to the research done on ice cores at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Layers of ice
preserve the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it forms, and when
the scientists analyzed the ice, they found a drastic increase of CO 2 in the last century.
Studies from the University of Idaho, on the amount of the isotopes carbon-13 and
carbon-12 in the atmosphere, show that the ratio has changed and become more
similar to that of fossil fuels, further proving that humans are the cause of global
warming. Another myth is that global warming is a Chinese hoax. In addition to no data
on the subject to be found, Chinas Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin has told
president-elect Donald J. Trump, who is a supporter of this idea, that China did not
make up global warming, and that his Republican predecessors even began
negotiations for solutions sometime in the 1980's (Plumer).
Unfortunately, 36% of Americans are not worried about global warming and are not
aware of the dangers it brings ("U.S. Concern About Global Warming at Eight-Year
High."). One, is an abandoned, nuclear, military base called Camp Century. It was
used for missile testing during the Cold War, but left when it became clear the ice could
not support the tests. The military had departed with the intention of the base to be
buried by the snow, and lost for "eternity" (Joyce). The structure is said to contain 9,200
tonnes of abandoned infrastructure, 20,000 liters of chemical waste, and 24 million liters
of biological waste (Joyce). If the ice melts, the water could easily carry contaminants
out into the oceans impacting Greenland's animals and ecosystem (Joyce).
One species in particular is the West Greenland Cod. This fish travelled from
Iceland around the 1920's and developed a stable population around Greenland ("Arctic

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Climate Change"). Here, they thrived on the northern shrimp and have created a fishing
resource. Unfortunately, Camp Century was built on the western side of Greenland and
as the ice melts it threatens the cod living there. The West Greenland Current and
Labrador Current would also take the waste throughout the Labrador Sea and
eventually into the Atlantic Ocean. Any diseases from the waste could also spread to
the cod populations in the east of Greenland and Iceland, and to other animals higher in
the food chain such as birds, seals, polar bears, and even humans. The poisoned fish
would result in many sick people and animals along with lowered populations.
The ice sheets melting also has a direct impact on the terrestrial animals of
Greenland. Animals that have adapted white fur to the white ice like polar bears and
arctic foxes, will be hindered by what once gave them an advantage in hunting.
Walruses and birds which lived close to the clam and fish populations will be pulled
away with the receding ice ("Arctic Climate Change"). Humans are also facing a decline
in food as the number of seals and polar bears decrease (Struzik). The people in
Greenland also rely on the caribou herds for food, but from 1986 to 2015 there has
been a 96% loss in caribou (Badelt). To prevent the caribou from extinction a ban was
placed and in 2014 and 2015 forcing the people to go through the winter without caribou
The affect global warming has on Greenland is detrimental. It impacts both humans
and animals and affects everyone on Earth. As the ice melts and people continue to
oppose climate change, not much can be done to stop the impending doom. However,
the discovery of new energy sources like algae biofuel and the decline in the

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dependence on fossil fuels will slow global warming's effects allowing more time to find
more permanent solutions to a problem that affects us all.

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Works Cited
"25 Myths and Bad Arguments about Climate Change." The Logic of Science. N.p., 21
Oct. 2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.
"85% of Worlds Energy Still Comes from Fossil Fuels." Boston Commons High Tech
Network. N.p., 26 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
"Arctic Climate Change." 5. How Will Animals Be Affected by Arctic Warming? N.p., n.d.
Web. 11 Dec. 2016.
Badelt, Brad. "Northerners Face Winter Without Caribou." Arctic Deeply. Arctic Deeply,
18 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
"Changes since the Industrial Revolution." American Chemical Society. N.p., n.d. Web.
12 Dec. 2016.
"Greenland Ice Sheet | Facts about Greenland Ice Sheet." Greenland Ice Sheet | Facts
about Greenland Ice Sheet. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Harvey, Chelsea. "Greenland Lost a Staggering 1 Trillion Tons of Ice in Just Four
Years." The Washington Post. WP Company, 19 July 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Joyce, Christopher. "Melting Ice In Greenland Could Expose Serious Pollutants From
Buried Army Base." NPR. NPR, 5 Aug. 2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.
"The Last Three Octobers Are the Warmest on Record." NASA. NASA, 18 Nov. 2016.
Web. 09 Dec. 2016.
Plumer, Brad. "China Clarifies for Trump: Uh, No, Global Warming Is Not a Chinese
Hoax." Vox. N.p., 16 Nov. 2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.

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Struzik, Ed. "Ice Melt Increases Indigenous Food Insecurity." Arctic Deeply. Arctic
Deeply, 1 Apr. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
"U.S. Concern About Global Warming at Eight-Year High." N.p., 16 Mar.
2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.
Witze, Alexandra. "Algae Are Melting Away the Greenland Ice Sheet."
Macmillan Publishers, 15 July 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.