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Retreat of glaciers in Greenland

The glacier retreat in Greenland due to global warming documented with pictures of Eqi Sermia glacier, not far from Ilulissat, taken at intervals of 10 years.

With the increasing attention of media to the environment and climate changes, it's today quite common to hear and read news about the effects of global warming and how the temperatures are constantly increasing throughout the whole world, at a rate that is starting to create lot of troubles in many countries.

Although most people in the world will perceive the global warming in the form of a slightly hotter summer or milder winter with less and less snow, there are several places in the world where the effects of climate changes are much more dramatic and are literally changing the landscape at a very fast rate.

The Arctic is certainly one of the places in the world where the global warming is changing the landscape very fast, with freezing of the sea happening each year later and later in winter, and thawing occurring each year earlier and earlier in spring, not to mention the locations where the sea is no longer freezing anymore. Fjords in Svalbard which 50 years ago were still frozen solid in June, now can be freely navigated with any kind of small boat or ship even in March.

Greenland is in the same situation, with sea ice not forming anymore along most of the western shores, even hundreds of miles north of the Arctic Circle. Who spent all his life in Greenland can remember a totally different environment just going back for a few decades. These differences are of course well visible also in the glaciers, especially in outlet glaciers ending into the sea through a fjord, since such fjords are getting every year longer with much more water and land free of ice.

The retreat of glaciers in Greenland is evident not only to the people living there, but also to returning visitors having the opportunity to visit the same locations at intervals of a few years. I've been in Greenland several times and twice to Eqi Glacier, a wonderful place located around 3-4 hours by boat from Ilulissat, in north-western Greenland, approximately 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

The quality of the picture below is far from modern standards, since it was taken during my first trip to Eqi Glacier in August 2001, therefore still using on old film camera. However, regardless of the quality of the photo, it is important to see the main concept: as you can notice, compared to the photo taken in the same location 10 years later, the glacier was much, much more longer.

Retreat of Eqi Glacier in Greenland

In the sequence of the followings pictures, the same phenomenon of glacier retreat in Greenland can be yet observed on Eqi Glacier. An aerial photo also shows that in just 10 years, the glacier has retreated by more than one kilometer, meaning millions of cubic meters of ice now melted.

Glacier retreat in Greenland

The complete process that is producing such huge retreat of glaciers in Greenland, as well as in almost any other place in the world, is not completely known, but most scientists agree that the global warming, joint to the increase of sea water's temperature, is certainly playing a fundamental role.

So, have you been to some beautiful place in the Arctic, to observe glaciers and sea ice? If not, there is no time to wait, since the things are changing very fast. I consider myself very lucky because I visited the Arctic many times since the mid '90s and now, for as far as I know, some of the tours I had in Svalbard, Greenland and Canada, are already no longer possible due to the missing ice.

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