Lost samples from a secret army base reveal that Greenland's ice vanished 416,000 years ago. That means it could melt way faster than expected.

It was a difficult task to drill thousands of feet through a thick layer of ice, but the soldiers enjoyed that about it.

Taking ice cores for scientific research provided as the ideal disguise for their true goal, Project Iceworm, which involved hiding nuclear weapons beneath the ice sheet of Greenland.

The initiative, which was undertaken at the height of the Cold War, did not provide the outcomes the army had hoped for. But by the time they gave up on it in 1967, researchers had amassed enough ice cores to support their research into Greenland's historic climate.

Scientists also removed 12 feet of dirt from beneath the ice sheet in addition to the ice. The sediment cores were labeled, put away in a number of cookie jars, and left unattended because the majority of scientists were mainly concerned with the ice.

similar to the frozen bag of peas at the back of your freezer.

That is, until Danish researchers rediscovered the sediment cores in 2018 and sent them to University of Vermont geologist Paul Bierman. There, Andrew Christ, a doctoral candidate for Bierman, discovered some surprising things: indications of life.

It was tremendously surprised, remarked Christ, to learn that Greenland's ice had just melted.

The first find was made more than two years ago, but the date the country's ice sheet disappeared is just now being determined by the experts. The findings were released last week in Science by the group of 21 experts.

According to their report, Greenland's ice sheet disintegrated just 416,000 years ago, and sea levels were between five and twenty feet higher than they were when the sheet was frozen. According to the experts, this indicates that the existing ice sheet is significantly more susceptible to global warming than previously believed.

"The ancient frozen soil from beneath Greenland's ice sheet warns of trouble ahead," stated Bierman and his co-author Tammy Rittenour in The Conversation.

less resistant to warmth

It appears that the melting started far sooner than experts had anticipated. According to earlier estimations, the thawing had place at some point in the last million years, which is a large time range.

The Climate Change Resource Center claims that the Earth naturally experiences warmer and colder phases. If we go back 416,000 years, we were living in a warmer era.

As a result of measuring the amount of gases in the atmosphere by examining the molecules that were frozen in the samples, the researchers are confident that this warmer era was brought on by regular cycles.

According to their findings, greenhouse gas levels were far lower than they are now, Christ told Insider.

Therefore, since the country's ice sheet is more susceptible to temperature fluctuations than scientists initially believed, according to Christ, it follows that the natural, mild warming caused the ice to melt. The ice sheet is likely going to be sensitive to the changes we've made to our climate, according to what he and Bierman found.

The Greenland ice sheet will entirely melt in the ensuing centuries due to the climate problem, according to the researchers. "It won't take place tomorrow. But as time goes on, it will happen more quickly, according to Bierman.

According to the newspaper, this will result in an increase in sea level of five to twenty feet or more. What kind of damage would that volume of water cause, say, to the island of Manhattan or a city like Miami?

Bierman demonstrated the effects to Insider using the sea level rise viewer provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Streets, then blocks, then neighborhoods are being eaten away by the ocean. He added: "Imagine if the water rises higher than that. The viewer maxes out at ten feet."