A new book for your coffee table explores the beauty of Greenlandic nature and science. (Photo: Bo Elberling)
Catherine Jex, ScienceNordic
The grandeur of Greenland’s landscape may at first seem static: an island nation, dominated by the world’s second largest ice sheet that gives way to dramatic mountains containing some of the oldest rocks on earth.
The Ice-Free Greenland – from molecule to landscape, by Bo Elberling is bilingual, with text in both Danish and English. It’s available to purchase at Gyldendal Publishers.
But for Bo Elberling, professor of environmental geochemistry at the Center for Permafrost, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, the ice-free margins of this vast island reveal a landscape in continual change.
It is this side of Greenland that Elberling captures in his new book “The Ice-Free Greenland–from molecule to landscape”: a glossy, coffee-table book that blends vivid landscape photography with environmental science to show a little-seen side of this part of the Arctic.
“Greenland is such an amazing place with polar bears in the north and sheep farms in the south. There are such amazing contrasts and variability to be seen,” says Elberling.
“I hope that people will be attracted to the book by the pictures, but if I can add a bit of information to this–meaning research results in a general context–and if people can learn something from it, then I’m very happy,” says Elberling.
Pancake ice in Disko Bay, west Greenland, during a warm winter. The broken ice causes problems for polar bears trying to hunt seals, while Inuit hunters ditch the dog sleds in favour of fishing boats. (Photo: Bo Elberling)
Permafrost is soil or sediment, which has been frozen for at least two consecutive years. Permafrost covers about 25 per cent of the land area of the Northern Hemisphere and contains almost 50 per cent of all the world’s soil organic carbon. Elberling and his colleagues are trying to find out how fast and how much carbon could be released from this permafrost as it thaws due to climate change. (Photo: Bo Elberling)
1,000 year-old kitchen midden deposits of seal, whale, and walrus bones are exposed by the sea in Qajaa, west Greenland. Preserved within the deposit is also a small canoe from the early Thule culture. (Photo: Bo Elberling)
Winter expeditions, living with local Inuit communities are vital to understand the archaeological remains preserved throughout Greenland. Elberling describes the experience of hunting in Qajaa in west Greenland as “harsh, cold, and an unbelievable experience.” (Photo: Bo Elberling)
A young peat (dark, upper soil) develops on Disko–an island off the coast of west Greenland. Almost half the organic matter in this thin peat layer is carbon. In time, this peat will grow as plants die and decompose. But how much of this carbon dioxide will be released back into the atmosphere? (Photo: Bo Elberling)
Autumn near Zackenberg research station, east Greenland. Black bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpina) dominates the tundra in bright red. (Photo: Bo Elberling)
Sheep farming in southern Greenland dates back 1,000 years to the arrival of the Norsemen. The size of the sheep industry depends on the ability of the landscape to produce enough grass for winter feed. Sheep farming is expected to expand throughout the south as the climate changes. (Photo Bo Elberling)
Drones are an important tool for mapping the agronomic potential of fields in south Greenland for sheep farming expansion (Photo: Bo Elberling)
Methane is a greenhouse gas that is released by thawing permafrost. Here new equipment is measuring the exact uptake and release of methane in the soil at Zackenberg research station, north east Greenland. (Photo: Bo Elberling).
See some example photos from the book in the gallery above and continue reading the rest of this article at ScienceNordic.com. [wp-svg-icons icon=”mug” wrap=”i”]