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Photo evidence: Glaciers can return

Greenland’s glaciers can recuperate within a short time frame if temperatures drop, shows research from the University of Copenhagen. 80-year-old photographs, discovered in a basement archive, prove that the ice was actually melting faster then, than it is now. See some of the old photos right here

Old photographs of Greenland laciers prove that glaciers 80 years ago were receding just as fast as today.

The photos were found in the basement of the Danish Ministry of Environment, National Survey and Cadastre. With help from scientists from the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) the aerial photos now serve as evidence in an investigation of climate change. This is according to a press release from the University of Copenhagen.

PhD student Anders Bjørk and head of research Dr. Kurt H. Kjær from the UCPH are both involved in the research project. They say to that the glaciers in southeast Greenland are thinning rapidly with the ongoing global climate change. The discovered 80-year-old photos of Greenland have helped them measure the pace of this glacial receding.

»We have managed to get an overview of the glacial evolution over a period of 80 years. This is the first time this has been done in a study of glaciers in Greenland. Our results show that glaciers are robust and can recuperate within a relatively short time frame if climate changes and temperatures drop again like they did in the 1940s,« says Anders Bjørk to

See the 80-year-old photos

In the early 1920s and 1930s, temperatures on the North Pole were high, similar to that of the present. Many glaciers underwent a melt similar or higher than those of the last ten years. In the 1950s and 1960s temperatures cooled again and glaciers started growing.

See some of the old photographs in Gallery: Greenland 80 years ago.

A comparison of the old photographs of Greenland, aerial documentation recorded by the Americans during Second World War, espionage pictures from the 1960’s, and satellite imagery from the 1970’s and 1980’s have made it possible for UCPH researchers to comment on the condition of glaciers today.

The results of Anders Bjørk and Dr. Kurt H. Kjær’s project have created international attention because Greenland is an important region whose climate changes affect the rest of the earth’s climate.

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