Greenland. New reports on Greenland’s melting glaciers came during the year. According to researchers in New Zealand, the melting ice of Greenland and Antarctica risks causing extreme weather and more unstable climates faster than expected. The melt water is expected to disrupt ocean currents by weakening cold currents to the south and pushing warmer water to the sea surface. The Greenland Ice is up to three kilometers thick and contains fresh water that can raise the global sea level by up to seven meters.
Another study showed that it is raining more and more in Greenland, which contributes to the inland ice melting faster. Nowadays, rain falls not only in the summertime but also in the winter, when it was previously normal with only snow. In recent decades, the number of rains in winter has increased from an average of two to twelve.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of GRL in general and in geography as Greenland in particular.
A photo from northwestern Greenland of dog sledding on water-filled ice got international attention during the year. According to the Danish Meteorological Institute, DMI, the ice in Greenland began to melt as early as April, several weeks earlier than normal. In a single day, July 31, more than 10 billion tons of ice flow into the sea was estimated as melt water.
Summer was record-breaking in the Arctic, and Greenland was haunted by a major land fire in a peat-rich area on the west coast. The local rescue service did not cope with the blazing fire, and the autonomous government requested help from Denmark which sent a large rescue force.
The Swedish icebreaker Oden, with an international research expedition on board, spent a few months at the Ryder Glacier in northwestern Greenland to investigate, among other things, how climate change affects glaciers. No marine expedition has previously entered the fjord to the hard-to-reach glacier.
Greenland was increasingly drawn into the security policy fight for the Arctic. The Minister of Defense in Denmark said that Danish fighter jets could be stationed in Greenland. As a reason, it was stated that the Russian Federation should place fighter aircraft on an archipelago east of Svalbard, where Greenlandic airspace is within easy reach. According to Denmark, Russian action is in turn caused by US plans for large investments in Greenland airports.
With its strategic location between US and Russian territory and with its assets of minerals, metals, precious stones and perhaps oil, Greenland is of strategic and economic interest to the great powers. President Donald Trump even considered that the United States should try to buy Greenland from Denmark. The US had similar plans in the 1800s and 1900s but had to settle for military presence on the island.
Now Kim Kielsen, the head of government, explained that Greenland is not for sale but is open for trade and cooperation. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen visited Greenland, supported Kielsen and emphasized that the island is not Danish but Greenlandic. She described the idea of an American purchase of Greenland as absurd.
Trump responded by canceling a planned visit to Denmark in September. Trump and Frederiksen then spoke on the phone about developing relations between the countries, and the United States announced plans to open a consulate in Greenland as part of a strengthened US presence in the Arctic region.
At the request of Greenland, the Danish government decided on 85 million Danish crowns to support Greenland’s efforts against sexual abuse. Reports showed that every fifth child born in Greenland in the 1990s was sexually abused, eight times worse than in Denmark. The worst affected is a small town in eastern Greenland, where 80% of women have been abused. They would receive efforts from psychologists and social workers from Denmark.
The governments of Greenland and Denmark formed a joint working group to propose how to prevent abuse, improve police work, help vulnerable children and treat perpetrators.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Greenland in 2019 was 56,561, ranking number 209 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.190% yearly, and the population density was 0.1381 people per km2.