From Ice to Islands

Everyone knows that “No man is an island.” But apparently man’s activities can certainly cause them to appear.

Scientists recently discovered a new island off the coast of Greenland. The island, which is several miles long and used to be the tip of a peninsula in eastern Greenland, became its own land mass when a glacier connecting it to the rest of the country melted away. The occurrence is an alarming example of global warming at work.

From an article in The Independent:

Shaped like a three-fingered hand some 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle, it has been discovered by a veteran American explorer and Greenland expert, Dennis Schmitt, who has named it Warming Island (Or Uunartoq Qeqertoq in Inuit, the Eskimo language, that he speaks fluently).


The US Geological Survey has confirmed its existence with satellite photos, that show it as an integral part of the Greenland coast in 1985, but linked by only a small ice bridge in 2002, and completely separate by the summer of 2005. It is now a striking island of high peaks and rugged rocky slopes plunging steeply to a sea dotted with icebergs.


As the satellite pictures and the main photo which we publish today make clear, Warming Island has been created by a quite undeniable, rapid and enormous physical transformation and is likely to be seen around the world as a potent symbol of the coming effects of climate change.

By this point we probably don’t need to tell you about the disasters that will ensue from melting polar regions (hint: rising oceans, flooding in cities like London and New York, drowning island nations—shall we continue?). But it will be interesting to see what aptly-named new atolls join Warming Island. We’re thinking the Isle of Emissions, Carbon Oasis, and Glacial Melt Islet.


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