Tuesday, 22 April 2014

NASA discovers: Greenland WAS Green 3 million years ago

About 3 million years ago, Greenland looked like the green Alaskan tundra. 
Most people who have studied Climate Matters would be aware of  GUS -Gården Under Sandet (See Alarming News for the Alarmists) GUS proved that the Medieval Warm Period existed and hence the naming of the island "Greenland" by Eric the Red.

Now however a team of university scientists and a NASA colleague were greatly surprised to discover an ancient tundra landscape preserved under the Greenland Ice Sheet, below two miles of ice. The team reported their discovery on April 17 in the journal Science.

Just think! Greenland was really Green 3 million years ago.
The discovery indicates that even during the warmest periods since the ice sheet formed, the center of Greenland remained stable. This allowed a tundra landscape to be locked away, unmodified, under ice through millions of years of global warming and cooling. 
“The traditional knowledge about glaciers is that they are very powerful agents of erosion and can effectively strip a landscape clean. Instead, we demonstrate that the Greenland Ice Sheet is not acting as an agent of erosion; in fact, at it’s center, it has performed incredibly little erosion since its inception almost three million years ago,” said co-author Lee Corbett, a graduate student at the University of Vermont. (source)
The paper, published in Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1249047  Paul R. Bierman et al

Preservation of a Preglacial Landscape Under the Center of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Continental ice sheets typically sculpt landscapes via erosion; under certain conditions, ancient landscapes can be preserved beneath ice and can survive extensive and repeated glaciation. We used concentrations of atmospherically produced cosmogenic beryllium-10, carbon, and nitrogen to show that ancient soil has been preserved in basal ice for millions of years at the center of the ice sheet at Summit, Greenland. This finding suggests ice sheet stability through the Pleistocene (i.e., the past 2.7 million years). The preservation of this soil implies that the ice has been non-erosive and frozen to the bed for much of that time, that there was no substantial exposure of central Greenland once the ice sheet became fully established, and that preglacial landscapes can remain preserved for long periods under continental ice sheets.

The findings show that the soil had been stable and exposed at the surface for somewhere between 200,000 and 1 million years before being covered by ice. To help interpret them, the scientists also measured nitrogen and carbon that could have been left by plant material in the core sample. 
“The fact that measurable amounts of organic material were found in the silty ice indicates that soil must have been present under the ice,” said co-author Dr Andrea Lini from the University of Vermont. 
Greenland really was green! However, it was millions of years ago. Greenland looked like the green Alaskan tundra, before it was covered by the second largest body of ice on Earth,” Dr Rood said. (bold added - Source)