For a month and a half, there is absolutely no sun in Greenland, because of Earth’s angle in relation to our home star. People eagerly await for January 13, when the sun rises again, every year. Except this one.
This year, the sun rose 48 hours ahead of its projected date. Around 1pm, the first rays appeared on the horizon. The occurrence left everyone baffled, scientists included. But no, this doesn’t mean that Earth’s inclination has changed or that we are off our orbit or that the sun has changed its position.
The only explanation, according to Thomas Posch, of the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Vienna, is a local change of the horizon: Since the ice levels are sinking, so does the horizon. The Sun’s rays – coming at a very low angle because of Earth’s inclination – don’t get blocked by a mass of ice to the East and they can reach areas that were covered in shadow, illuminating them directly.
Scientists believe that this explanation is consistent with the temperature increase (3C on average in Greenland) and the decreasing level of ice in the North Pole. [Daily Mail]