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CLIMATE

Glacial 1991 day in Greenland belatedly sets Arctic cold record

A new cold record in the Northern Hemisphere of -69.6 degrees Celsius (-93.2 Fahrenheit) was set on December 22nd, 1991, in Greenland, the Danish Meteorological Institute announced Wednesday, 28 years after the fact.

Glacial 1991 day in Greenland belatedly sets Arctic cold record
File photo: Linda Kastrup/Ritzau Scanpix

The temperature, recorded at a weather station outside of the usual network, was exhumed by “climate detectives” who later had it confirmed by the World Meteorological Organisation. 

“The record was registered at an altitude of 3,105 metres, near the topographical summit of the icecap, at an automatic test station called Klinck,” DMI said in a statement.

“There have been a lot of heat records in the last decade and it's important to recognise the extremes,” DMI climatologist John Cappelen told AFP.

“The possibility of getting a cold record is lower and lower but I cannot say that it won't happen anymore,” he added.

The previous record low in the Northern Hemisphere was -67.8 Celsius,  registered in Russia on two occasions, in 1892 and 1933.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in the world is -89.2 Celsius, at the Vostok high altitude weather station in the Antarctic, set on July 21st, 1983.

READ ALSO: Climate change sends melting Greenland ice 'past tipping point'

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ENVIRONMENT

Greenland passes law banning uranium mining

Greenland's parliament voted Tuesday to ban uranium mining and exploration in the vast Danish territory, following through on a campaign promise from the ruling left-wing party which was elected earlier this year.

Greenland's parliament voted on November 9th to ban uranium mining. Prime Minister Mute Egede, pictured, said earlier this month he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement.
Greenland's parliament voted on November 9th to ban uranium mining. Prime Minister Mute Egede, pictured, said earlier this month he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement. File photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party won snap elections in April that were originally triggered by divisions over a controversial uranium and rare earth mining project.

The IA won 12 seats in the 31-seat Greenlandic national assembly, beating its rival Siumut, a social democratic party that had dominated politics in the island territory since it gained autonomy in 1979.

On Tuesday 12 MPs in the national assembly voted to ban uranium mining, with nine voting against. 

The IA had campaigned against exploiting the Kuannersuit deposit, which is located in fjords in the island’s south and is considered one of the world’s richest in uranium and rare earth minerals.

The project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has not yet been officially abandoned.

But French group Orano announced in May it would not launch exploration despite holding permits to do so.

The massive natural riches of the vast island — measuring two million square kilometres, making it larger than Mexico — have been eyed by many, but few projects have been approved.

The island is currently home to two mines: one for anorthosite, whose deposits contain titanium, and one for rubies and pink sapphires.

While Greenland’s local government is not opposed to all mining activities, it has also banned all oil exploration over concerns for the climate and the environment.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Mute Egede said he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement, which Greenland is one of the few countries not to have ratified.

READ ALSO: Greenland seabed scoured for marine diamonds

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