API magazine
October 1, 2020

Greenland’s Kangerlussuaq Airport is set to end civilian flights within five years due to climate change, as the melting of permafrost is cracking the runway.

The country’s main hub had 11,000 aircraft movements in 2018. Permafrost, the layer of soil usually frozen solid, is shrinking as temperatures rise. For airport workers, ridding the runway of the snow and ice has become a constant struggle. As a result, authorities will start building a new facility from scratch.

Around 80% of Greenland’s surface is covered in ice sheet. But global warming is drastically reshaping the country, causing the ice sheet to melt at a faster rate than previously thought, according to recent research. The airport’s situation shows how the built environment, and not just the natural environment, is being hit by climate change.