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e Greenland ice sheet is the second-largest single piece of ice on the planet (second only to the one in Antarctica). Nearly two miles thick in places, it contains some 684,000 cubic miles of ice. And because that is all above sea level — as opposed to floating, like the northern ice cap — if all of the Greenland sheet were to melt, it would raise the world sea level about 20 feet. So it's a bit worrisome that the annual melting season has begun a month earlier than the previous record start — and in spectacular fashion, immediately leaping to a melt extent not usually seen until June. It's a clear and present danger to any low-lying cities, but also a reminder that the uncertainty of future predictions is one of climate change's most threatening aspects.
The oldest ever recovered DNA samples have been collected from under more than a mile of Greenland ice, and their analysis suggests the island was much warmer during the last Ice Age than previously thought.
The DNA is proof that sometime between 450,000 and 800,000 years ago, much of Greenland was especially green and covered in a boreal forest that was home to alder, spruce and pine trees, as well as insects such as butterflies and beetles.
From the genetic material of these organisms, the researchers infer that Greenland’s temperature once varied from 50 degrees Fahrenheit in summer to 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in winter—the temperature range that the tree species prefer.
One Viking in particular, Erik the Red was very good at raiding and pillaging. Although history is somewhat sketchy, it is believed that he discovered Greenland after being sent away from Iceland in exile.
This was rumored to have been his punishment for committing murder. He was able to settle in Greenland and survive there for several years. Finally, his exile was ended and he found that he wanted to settle the island more fully.
For that, he needed to convince others to come with him. Erik the Red is believed to have lived from circa 950 to 1003CE. Of course, when you tell someone that they will be travelling with you to a place that is barren, cold and inhospitable you may have trouble convincing even a Viking to come with you.
So instead, Erik (according to popular legend) called the island Greenland and instead painted the island as being a wonderful place to settle.
originally posted by: Mianeye
Btw, do you even know why Greenland is called Greenland, it's not what you think ?
Greenland, the icy island nation in the Arctic, gets its name from an Icelandic murderer exiled there, who called it "Greenland" in hopes that the name would attract settlers. But it turns out that long ago, Greenland was actually quite green