Melting Greenland Ice Sheet Will Soon Unfreeze Cold War-era Dangerous Waste

Posted: Aug 5 2016, 10:02am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 5 2016, 10:04am CDT , in Latest Science News


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Melting Greenland Ice Sheet Will Soon Unfreeze Cold War-era Dangerous Waste
The northeast portal to Camp Century in 1964, shortly before the base was abandoned. Credit: US Army
  • Greenland Ice Sheet could Melt allowing Dangerous Waste to undergo Exposure

It has been found to be the case that the large Greenland ice sheet could melt due to global warming thereby allowing dangerous waste to undergo exposure.

Climate change is the evil genie of modern times that has managed to come out of the bottle and cannot be put back inside. Now the hazardous waste at a campsite buried beneath the Greenland ice sheet may get exposed.

This would be catastrophic to say the least. The US military base is termed Camp Century and it was established in 1959. It was meant for testing nuclear missiles from the vantage point of the Arctic.

This was during the height of the Cold War. The world was held hostage by the enmity between the two superpowers, the USA and the USSR. When this site was put away on the backburner in 1967, its waste products which were deadly were buried beneath the ice sheet.

The decommissioning agents thought that there would be no chance of this hazardous waste material coming to the light of day. Yet they were wrong. Today, the danger is very real though.

About 60 years ago, many companies and agencies were busy burying stuff that never should have seen the light of day. Yet they could not have forseen that one day all this burial business would come to haunt the ecological balance of the globe.

All in all this is a novel challenge that we have to face in a head-on manner. The study regarding this hazardous waste was published in a journal recently.

Climate change has heated up the Arctic environment more than the rest of the global village. Were the Greenland ice sheet to melt, all that chemical, biological and radioactive sludge would come out and start making the surroundings very toxic.

It is just a matter of time before the waste is revealed and the stink of pollution reaches the empyrean heights. To avoid this scenario is something towards which the world’s climate change scientists ought to turn their attention.

It is of paramount importance. The site may have served a purpose in the days of the Cold War and Cold Warriors, yet today it is obsolete and defunct.

By 2090, the snow could have melted to the point where a mess is left behind for humanity to deal with as best as it could. There lies a virtual city beneath the ice of Greenland.

The responsibility of cleaning up the radioactive waste lies on the world’s governments which landed us in this SNAFU in the first place.

The study was published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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