Warming Island, Greenland
Coordinates: 71 33 N 1 47 W
Oftentimes surprises make us happy, and these unexpected events or discoveries provoke good feelings. Once in a while however, we are unpleasantly surprised and greeted with a sudden occurrence that comes more as a rude awakening. Greenland’s Warming Island—also known by the less-easily pronounced Uunartoq Qeqertotoq—is a recent geographical example of the latter. Although formerly believed to be part of an ice-covered peninsula near the mouth of Kong Oscar Fjord, time has revealed a different truth. In the last two or three decades, global warming has reduced the size of glaciers throughout the Arctic and earlier this year, news sources confirmed what climate scientists already knew: water, not rock, lay beneath this ice bridge on the west coast of Greenland. More islets are likely to appear as the sheet of frozen water covering the world’s largest island continues to melt.
Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.