Sand from glacial soften might be Greenland’s financial salvation — ScienceDaily
As local weather change melts Greenland’s glaciers and deposits extra river sediment on its shores, a global group of researchers has recognized one unexpected financial alternative for the Arctic nation: exporting extra sand and gravel overseas, the place uncooked supplies for infrastructure are in excessive demand.
The unconventional, but doubtlessly profitable resolution was developed by scientists from CU Boulder, the College of Copenhagen, Arizona State College and the Rhode Island Faculty of Design. Their findings have been printed at present within the journal Nature Sustainability.
“The melting Greenland Ice Sheet delivers an infinite quantity of sediments to the coast,” mentioned Mette Bendixen, a researcher at CU Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Analysis (INSTAAR) and a Carlsberg Basis analysis fellow. “Eight % of the annual sediment contribution delivered to the worldwide oceans comes from the Greenland Ice Sheet and with continued international warming, this quantity is anticipated to extend.”
Arctic nations akin to Greenland battle with the continued results of local weather change, significantly an overreliance on now-vulnerable business fisheries and few different massive industries. Greenland has sought to diversify its financial system for years by mining, oil extraction and tourism, however progress has been sluggish; the nation nonetheless reviews a 10 % unemployment charge and protracted income shortfalls.
Concurrently, international sand reserves have been quickly depleted in current many years whereas demand has solely elevated because of international urbanization and infrastructure investments. The research estimates that the quantity of sand delivered to Greenland’s coast annually has a market worth equal to greater than half of the Greenland gross home product ($2.22 billion in 2015) and this worth is anticipated to double throughout the subsequent 25 years if the worldwide sand costs proceed to extend.
“With this work, we current a uncommon instance of financial alternative dropped at life by local weather change,” mentioned Irina Overeem, a CU Boulder affiliate professor and INSTAAR analysis fellow.
Sand exploitation might be controversial, nonetheless, as it will doubtlessly intervene with the pristine Arctic panorama. The research recommends a cautious evaluation of the environmental influence and implementation in collaboration with the Greenlandic society.
“If Greenland is to profit from sand extraction, we should elevate consciousness concerning the useful resource each domestically and globally,” mentioned Minik Rosing, a professor on the College of Copenhagen’s Pure Historical past Museum of Denmark. “The Greenlandic individuals have to be a part of this. Greenland has rigorous useful resource laws and authorities and business should collaborate to reduce potential unfavourable impacts of extraction on the atmosphere.”
“Once we began our analysis, we had no concept that our outcomes would foster the concept of building a sand mining business in Greenland,” mentioned Lars L. Iversen, a analysis fellow at Arizona State College’s Julie Ann Wrigley World Institute of Sustainability. “It simply exhibits how unpredictable science will be and the way we continually have to consider how our work contributes to resolve the worldwide challenges that we face.”