Friday, 14 January 2011

Greenland Endures Two Extra Days of Sunlight

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The global-warming hysterics have found something that terrifies them even more than the sky falling: It is the sun rising.

The latest round of raving from the tinfoil-hat wing of the climate-change crowd is that the sun rose too early in Greenland, and that this untimely dawn heralds the end of the world. As the Daily Mail tells the tale:

 The sun over Greenland has risen two days early, baffling scientists and sparking fears that Arctic icecaps are melting faster than previously thought.

Experts say the sun should have risen over the Arctic nation's most westerly town, Ilulissat, yesterday, ending a month-and-a-half of winter darkness.

But for the first time in history light began creeping over the horizon at around 1pm on Tuesday — 48 hours ahead of the usual date of 13 January.

The mysterious sunrise has confused scientists, although it is believed the most likely explanation is that it is due to the lower height of melting icecaps allowing the sun's light to penetrate through earlier.


Thomas Posch, of the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Vienna, said that a local change of the horizon was "by far the most obvious explanation."

He said as the ice sinks, so to does the horizon, creating the illusion that the sun has risen early.

One can readily understand the unspeakable horror of Greenlanders having to endure an additional two days of daylight in 2011 — or, to be more accurate, the perception of two more days of daylight, because the actual date of sunrise cannot change unless something far more dramatic than mere global warming were at work. The length of a day and the timing of sunrise and sunset are not based on perception, but on the motion of the Earth around the sun and the axial tilt of the Earth. For sunrise to come at a significantly different time anywhere on Earth would mean a change of astronomical proportions.

An article for The Hals Report thus raises a bevy of apocalyptic possibilities:

Until more information is available, I think it’s safe to say all explanations should be considered theories. Let’s end this article by laying out a list of possible ideas:

1. Are the melting ice sheets due to global waming? [sic]

2. Does the event have something to do with 2012 and the earths [sic] magnetic field?

3. Is the suns [sic] early arrival connected to the recent “mass bird death” phenomenom? [sic]

4. Was the sun just reflecting off ice and water?

Yes, let’s weigh the sane option last, shall we? The global-warming crowd has been in disarray since the Climategate scandal demonstrated how weak the science behind the theory of manmade climate change actually is. Dropping that theory right in there with 2012 fever is probably just about the right neighborhood. How the mass bird death in Arkansas could be linked with Greenland’s sunrise is anyone’s guess, but if the global-warming crowd can come up with something they deem plausible, we’ll probably be hearing more about that soon.

Since the “early” sunrise in Greenland is based on perception, an odd optical illusion seems the more reasoned approach, until something more definitive comes along.

Meanwhile, since Greenland lacks a Punxsutawney Phil to control the change of the seasons, those who are worry about the early dawn can lavish their pity on the poor seals, who will find that the polar bears now may have two more days this year for hunting them.