military base thought to be entombed under the ice of Greenland will likely be exposed by the end of the century, a Canadian led research team said Thursday.
A study spearheaded by York University found that ice melt at the site around Camp Century is due to eclipse net snowfall over the next 75 years. wholesale nfl jerseys military’s plan for the base, which it decommissioned in the 1960s and left nearly fully intact under the assumption that it would be buried forever under accumulated snowfall. and the former Soviet Union.
The need for Arctic missiles diminished with the advent of more advanced technology, and the project was ultimately abandoned in 1967. But lead researcher William Colgan said the military did not take many active steps to take the base out of commission.
Mother Nature, they thought, would do much of the work for them by continually adding layers of snow over the site and essentially burying it under the ice sheet.
“When it reached end of life, the army just closed the doors on it and left everything in place,” Colgan said in a telephone interview.
“They did take out the nuclear reaction vessel, but they left everything else in place. Buildings, trucks, supplies, waste, all of it. They thought it would snow forever.”
Colgan said the military’s approach had a sound theoretical basis at the time Camp Century was built, though scientists might have had cause to consider other options by the time the base was decommissioned.
Ice core samples taken while the camp was operational were among the earliest evidence of a warming trend in Arctic ice, he said, describing those early results as one of the initial building blocks of modern day climate change research.
But those results could not have prepared scientists for the pace at which climate change has accelerated, Colgan said, adding the current melting levels in the area will reveal the camp and all its waste materials by the end of the century.
Once exposed, the pollutants unearthed at Camp Century could then be released into the local ecosystem and circulate downstream to other countries, including Canada.
Colgan said the environmental impact is not especially significant, but thinks the fate of the base could have more important political implications.
Countries with abandoned military facilities in the area may find themselves in violation of disposal agreements through no fault of their own, he said, because rapidly melting ice has resulted in the waste being exposed.
He said it will be particularly important to be sensitive to the concerns of Greenland, which has 20 abandoned bases in the area already and is a critical hub for Arctic research.