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Climate change will turn Greenland green

History teachers often point out the humor in Greenland’s name. That northerly land, after all, is anything but green. According to the Icelandic Sagas, Eric the Red–exiled from Iceland for the crime of murder–stumbled upon Greenland’s glacial shores in the late 10th century. Though “Coldland” or “Snowyland” would have been more apt, he dubbed the place “Grœnland” in the hopes of luring settlers to the remote outpost with the promise of bountiful forests and fields.

Eric the Red’s false advertising, however, may become more appropriate in the not-too-distant future, an international team of researchers report in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Climate change is quickly converting once-frozen tracts into potentially hospitable places for trees and shrubs. In some parts of the country, pieces of land have already opened up and only await a few chance seeds to blow in and begin the process of converting the rugged landscape into lush forest.

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