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Old 03-31-2008, 05:04 AM   #1
AvianQuest
 
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Default Greenland's New Dawning?

Will Greenland return to "Normal"....and What is Normal?....and just Who Decides What is "Normal"?

Greenland was settled during a global warming period know as the Medieval Climate Optimum.

The colony flushed with the raising of crops and livestock for 300 years until the warming cycle was replaced by the Little Ice Age which doomed the colony killing off livestock and making farming impossible. Now, Greenland may be on its way back...




Qassiarsuk, Greenland - In this village of 56 people in southern Greenland, history has come full circle. It was here, in about 985, that Erik the Red, leader of a medieval Norse colony, built his farm and raised sheep, cattle, and barley.

But about 300 years later, the climate changed. The Norse's agrarian lifestyle began to unravel when the Little Ice Age arrived, dooming the colony.

Today the hillside overlooking Erik's Fjord is lush and green again. A crop of young potatoes and radishes await harvesting. The plot is surrounded by tall grass – food for thousands of sheep – blowing in the cool winds coming off the melting glaciers to the north and east. In a nearby village, residents have started growing broccoli.

"Spring is coming many weeks earlier now, and the last five winters have been very short and rainy," says Tommy Maro, mayor of Qaqortaq, the region's principal town. "It will be exciting to see how the land will change in the next 20 years. Maybe we will have more sheep farmers, more green areas, more things we can grow."

Perhaps nowhere else in the world are the effects of climate change as obvious as in Greenland, where warming temperatures have brought a mixed blessing to the 56,000 residents that live on this island, a self-governing territory of Denmark. As winter sea ice disappears, the traditional means that the indigenous Inuit people have developed to survive in the Arctic – sled dog mushing, seal hunting, ice-hole fishing – are rapidly becoming obsolete. Farming, an occupation all but unheard of a century ago, has never looked better.

"As we know, [Erik the Red's colony] disappeared mostly because the weather turned cold and under those conditions only the Inuit culture could survive," says Erik Rode Frederiksen, an octogenarian whose father, Otto, was the first Greenlander to try a hand at farming and named his son for the Norse leader. "It is the opposite we now see happening under our own eyes: here in south Greenland we are now approaching the climate conditions of northern Europe."

Rest of story…

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1001/p01s02-wogn.html
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Old 04-02-2008, 05:19 AM   #2
Tom Phillips*
 
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Nice story.

Any global warming, especially due to an increase in carbon dioxide (an essential plant nutrient), would greatly benefit life on Earth.
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