Greenland could start exporting sand with a rare positive sping from global warming that melts the island's huge ice sheet and drains large amounts of precipitation into the sea, scientists said on Monday.
Mining of sand and gravel, widely used in the construction industry, can boost the economy for the 56,000 population of Greenland who have wide powers of self-government within Denmark but rely heavily on the subsidies of Copenhagen.
By sand and sand, "Greenland can benefit from the challenges brought about by climate change," a team of scientists in Denmark and the United States wrote in the journal Nature Sustainability.
The study, titled "The Promises and Risks of Sand Utilization in Greenland," said the Arctic island would have to assess the risks of coastal mining, especially for fishing.
The global temperatures that come down melt the ice sheet of Greenland, which locks enough water to raise the sea level by about 7 meters, if it ever thaws all the ice, and carries more sand and gravel into coastal fjords.
"You can think of it (molten ice) as a faucet that pours precipitation to the shore," said lead author Mette Bendixen, a researcher at the University of Colorado's Institute for Arctic Research and thousands of research.
Global demand for fuel will reach 9.55 billion tons in 2017, with a market value of $ 99.5 billion, and is expected to reach nearly $ 481 billion in 2100 as a result of increasing demand and a reasonable shortage.
It meant a rare opportunity for the island.
"Usually the Arctic peoples are among those who really feel climate change – the beach flapping, less than the Premaprost," said Bendixen. "This is unique because of the melting ice sheet."
David Boertmann of Aarhus University, who was not involved in the study, said there has been some local mining of sand for the local construction industry in Greenland.
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Pitfalls for Greenland, common mining and other projects on the island ranging from rare earth mineral uranium, including the distance to markets in Europe and North America, he said.
Still, Bendixen said sand was already often transported to long distances, such as Los Angeles from Vancouver or from Australia to Dubai.
"At the moment it's a cheap resource but it will be more expensive," she said.
The study said that sand and gravel may also be used in the future to shore up beaches and shoreline at risk of rising sea levels, partly caused by the thaw of Greenland.