New scientific evidence supporting a long-standing theory that abrupt climate change probably doomed Greenland’s Norse settlements about 650 years ago may also explain why most Canadians today are not speaking Danish and celebrating their Viking ancestry. The study by a group of researchers from Denmark, Germany and Norway used samples of marine sediment from Greenland’s west coast to reconstruct a picture of the giant island’s climate over the past 1,500 years. Their findings showed that when Scandinavian settlers led by Eric the Red first established colonies on Greenland in 985, the west coast around present-day Disko Bay — located just 400 kilometres east of Baffin Island across the Davis Strait — was relatively warm and conducive to the farming life the settlers favoured. But the researchers have concluded that a prolonged stretch of cold weather on Greenland appears to have led to the demise of the Norse settlements.