Greenland Hype Meltdown

NOTE: Another related story posted here

By Steve Goddard

A popular AGW cottage industry from 2003-2007 was to make press releases warning that the Greenland ice sheet was melting down. Some fine pieces of journalism were produced, like this one from the BBC.

The meltdown of Greenland’s ice sheet is speeding up, satellite measurements show. Data from a US space agency (Nasa) satellite show that the melting rate has accelerated since 2004. If the ice cap were to completely disappear, global sea levels would rise by 6.5m (21 feet).

This one from New Scientist

The Greenland ice sheet is all but doomed to melt away to nothing, according to a new modelling study. If it does melt, global sea levels will rise by seven metres, flooding most of the world’s coastal regions.

NASA’s Earth Observatory even has a regular section named “Greenland’s Ice Alarm.” In their August 28, 2007 edition they included the map below, which shows Greenland warming at 3°C per decade.

One has to wonder where their data comes from, because GISS shows that Greenland has not warmed at all over the last 90 years.

GISS temperature trends since 1920

Below is the GISS temperature graph for Godthab, Greenland. It was warmest around 1940, and the only recent warm years were from (you guessed it) 2003-2007. The Godthab pattern is fairly typical for Greenland and Iceland.

NASA’s Earth Observatory generated their 3C/decade trend by very carefully cherry-picking their start and end points. Tamino must be incensed by NASA’s behaviour, because he hates cherry-picking.

But you don’t hear so much about Greenland melting down any more.

Science 23 January 2009:

Vol. 323. no. 5913, p. 458

FALL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION:

Galloping Glaciers of Greenland Have Reined Themselves In

Richard A. Kerr

Ice loss in Greenland has had some climatologists speculating that global warming might have brought on a scary new regime of wildly heightened ice loss and an ever-faster rise in sea level. But glaciologists reported at the American Geophysical Union meeting that Greenland ice’s Armageddon has come to an end.

Greenland warming of 1920–1930 and 1995–2005

Petr Chylek

M. K. Dubey

Los Alamos National Laboratory, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA

G. Lesins

Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

We provide an analysis of Greenland temperature records to compare the current (1995–2005) warming period with the previous (1920–1930) Greenland warming. We find that the current Greenland warming is not unprecedented in recent Greenland history. Temperature increases in the two warming periods are of a similar magnitude, however, the rate of warming in 1920–1930 was about 50% higher than that in 1995–2005.

Below is a video I took flying over Greenland from east to west on August 10, 2008 (peak melt season.) On the east side there were lots of icebergs and little evidence of any melt. As you traverse to the west side, you see a few melt ponds.

Temperatures have been running well below normal in Greenland this summer.

It is mid-summer and temperatures in the interior of the Greenland ice sheet are currently  minus 16F. Temperatures never get above freezing for more than a few minutes there.  Meanwhile temperatures in the interior of the East Antarctic ice sheet are close to minus 100F.

Every good citizen knows that the poles are melting – because they have been fed a continuous stream of gross misinformation. The press loves to print this stuff, but never makes any serious attempt to set the record straight later.

They can always recycle the ice shelf fracturing melting story a few more times.

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rbateman

How does a mass of ice like Greenland suffer catastrophic melting if 95% of the place is below zero even in the summer?
In the mind of the hypnotized, anything is possible.

Sera

“Every good citizen knows that the poles are melting…”
Apparently from the bottom up. Current air temps are -26.4°C and current water temps are +5.2°C for the north pole.
http://coolwx.com/cgi-bin/findbuoy.cgi?id=25595

Phillip Bratby

The BBC and New Scientist both gave up doing objective science years ago. There’s no surprise in their alarmist fairy stories. I await an objective article from Richard Black of the BBC.
I’m waiting.

Sera
Do you really believe the water at the North Pole was 12.6C yesterday? You might want to read this.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-468256/Briton-astounds-world-person-swim-North-Pole.html

Briton astounds the world by becoming the first person to swim to North Pole
By COLIN FERNANDEZ
Last updated at 00:09 21 July 2007
Only a few seconds in the icy depths would be enough to kill most mere mortals.
But yesterday, protected by nothing more than a pair of Speedo trunks and his extraordinary central heating, Lewis Pugh took the plunge and became the first man to swim at the North Pole.
The 36-year-old Londoner spent almost 19 minutes at minus 1.8C as he front crawled for a full kilometre – more than half a mile in the coldest water a human has ever swum.

Dave F

Uhhh, I clicked the video and got a karate tourney? Good fun, but I doubt that happened in a fly-by over Greenland.

Dave F
Try clicking on the youtube play button at lower left.

villabolo

rbateman says:
July 12, 2010 at 10:28 pm
How does a mass of ice like Greenland suffer catastrophic melting if 95% of the place is below zero even in the summer?
In the mind of the hypnotized, anything is possible.
***********************************
VILLABOLO:
Could it be that the other 5% is 5-9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer?
http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20100608_Figure4.png
Or how about those GRACE satellites that Anthony loves?
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/greenland_slide.html
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL040222.shtml
By the way, blue is my favorite color.
http://www.amap.no/swipa/press2009/Press_Photo_15.jpg
http://www.amap.no/swipa/press2009/Press_Photo_3.jpg
REPLY: By the way, press photos with no provenance could be taken anywhere. It wouldn’t be the first time it has happened. Having been a member of the press for 25 years I cna tell you the couldn’t tell Antarctic from Greenland or the North Pole from an ice filed in Alaska. Just posting a couple of pictures of meltponds proves nothing unless they have factual context. Dates, locations, etc. -A

R. Gates

Sera says:
July 12, 2010 at 10:45 pm
“Every good citizen knows that the poles are melting…”
Apparently from the bottom up. Current air temps are -26.4°C and current water temps are +5.2°C for the north pole.
________
Even basic logic should tell you that those temperature figures you reported are so far off as to be laughable. For the actual temps, which are about 27 degrees C warmer in air temp than you reported, readers ought to check out:
http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/
And by the way (Steve), it’s clear, sunny, and showing a warming trend at the N. Pole right now, and despite your dire warnings last week that the melt ponds were freezing over, they are sparklin’ in the bright sunshine:
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/latest/noaa2.jpg

I remember there was a stir a few years ago (start of 2007?) when a British survey team stood up at a conference and said the area they had been studying had abruptly stopped melting.
“It was like someone turned the tap off” was the take home quote. I rememeber they were ‘shouted down’ by the other conference goers. I’ve tried to find a reference to it since, but it seemed to have ‘disappeared’ from the web.
Anyone else remember?

villabolo
Obviously, none of the cities in Greenland are located on the ice sheet. They are all located near sea level, and the granite they are built on is not in any danger of melting down.
The only temperature station on the ice sheet is the one I reported in this story, currently at -16F.
http://www.summitcamp.org/status/weather/index?period=month

FergalR

Haven’t you thought that it’s worse than anyone thought James Hansen thought?
The ice isn’t going to melt. It’s just going to jump into the sea, because there’s no floating ice holding up its weight:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/07/greenland-glacier-shrinks-overnight/

sera,
current air temps at 87°N are not -27°C, it stands for the longitude and the water temps at this region is of course not +xx degrees, because there is nothing but ice at this point all the years.

FergalR
The weight of the ice depresses the land below it, forming a bowl shape. Ice has about 1/3 the density of rock, so 10,000 feet of ice depress the land below it by more than 3,000 feet. (Isostasy.)
Have you ever seen ice cream jump out of a 3,000 foot deep bowl?

R. Gates
Cranking up the hyperbole a bit?

villabolo

[no more posts until you address the Monckton issue]

villabolo
As mentioned in the article and video, there were a few melt ponds at lower elevations on the west side of Greenland in mid-August 2008.
Do you believe that your pictures somehow present contradictory information?

FergalR
That is what glaciers do in Greenland, they calve into the sea.
The Titanic was sunk by a huge chunk of ice that broke off a Greenland glacier.

FergalR

stevengoddard says:
July 12, 2010 at 11:20 pm
[…]
Have you ever seen ice cream jump out of a 3,000 foot deep bowl?
———
No, but I’d like to.

“One has to wonder where their data comes from”
No you don’t; you can read their caption:
“Temperatures have been rising several degrees Celsius per decade (red areas) since 1981. … . (NASA Map by Robert Simmon, based on data from Josefino Comiso, GSFC.)”
And if you get the GISS plot for the period they are talking about (last thirty years), you can see that the trends are indeed large. They are about 1°C/decade, which is indeed what the map seems to show for the Greenland land area (more for SST).

All of the icebergs in the first three slides of the video were pieces of glacial ice that broke off of glaciers. Some are more than 1/4 mile across.
During the winter snow accumulates on the ice sheet, and the increased pressure causes the glaciers to flow to the sea. That is how equilibrium is maintained.

richard telford

GRACE suggests that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet is accelerating. How strange that you forgot to mention that.

Andrew P.

tallbloke says:
July 12, 2010 at 11:11 pm
I remember there was a stir a few years ago (start of 2007?) when a British survey team stood up at a conference and said the area they had been studying had abruptly stopped melting.
“It was like someone turned the tap off” was the take home quote. I remember they were ‘shouted down’ by the other conference goers. I’ve tried to find a reference to it since, but it seemed to have ‘disappeared’ from the web.
Anyone else remember?

Yes, I remember the story, in particular the ‘tap off’ quote. But you are right, it seems to have vanished from the web.

richard telford
I have written about GRACE in the last two weeks. How strange that you forgot to mention that.
GRACE measures gravity, not ice thickness. Greenland is subject to large changes in elevation due to post-glacial rebound, and there are very few calibration points available away from the coast.
There is little reason to believe that some interpretations of the GRACE data wrt Greenland ice mass have much validity.

Barry Day

A buildup of 265 feet of ice since 1942.Yawn,Wake me up when it melts back to that level!
HERE;
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-1199461.html
” Eight southern pilots will begin an expedition to Greenland on Wednesday aimed at reaching one of eight aircraft buried deep in the icecap since crash-landing there during World War II.
Two B-17 bombers and six P-38 Lightning fighters are buried under 265 feet of ice and snow that has accumulated since bad weather and low fuel forced them to abort a flight to England in 1942.
The Greenland Expedition Society, headed by Atlanta architect Richard Taylor and Pat Epps, an aviation pioneer and owner of Epps Aviation, located the planes with subsurface radar and magnetometers last … “

Nothing unusual in the Arctic, nature is not static.
Why ?
Here is one answer:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm

Ben

“And if you get the GISS plot for the period they are talking about (last thirty years), you can see that the trends are indeed large. They are about 1°C/decade, which is indeed what the map seems to show for the Greenland land area (more for SST).”
I have an idea, lets find a time period in the last 100 years that was cold, then start a graph from that date, and viola, for some reason temperatures are on an upward trend. Stop using cherry-picked data. If we graphed from say the late 30’s or early 40’s until today, the graph would be the other way. Why don’t we pick a date in the past 100 years that is the AVERAGE of all the temps of the last 100 years and graph based on that? Or are we scared of a graph that doesn’t show anything other then a small upward trend?
If you are going to use cherry picked data as the backbone of your argument, at least have the backbone to admit it. Should I get out my excel and make you a downward trend just to show you how easy it is? I can even use GISS data to do this….
Or should we stop with these temper tentrums and open ourselves up to the belief that maybe humans
1) Do not understand the climate as well as we think.
2) May not be effecting the temperature as much as we think.
3) Are capable of using the scientific method instead of bad statistical modeling.

Nick Stokes
The long term trend in Greenland is flat or down. The trend is grotesquely cherry-picked. Chylek at Los Alamos reported that the 1920-1930 warming was steeper than the 1995-2005 warming.

Barry Day

More on them here; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6232954.stm
The planes became buried under>> 300ft<< of ice but 15 years ago
It's getting deeper,evidently?

The 1940s were considerably warmer in Greenland than the present.
http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/050/mwr-050-11-0589a.pdf

THE CHANGING ARCTIC.
By GEORGE NICOLAS IFFT.
[October 1922, the American consul at Bergen, Norway, submitted the following report to the State Department, Washington, p. C.J
The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas about Spitsbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto un¬heard-of high temperatures in that part of the earth’s surface.
In August, 1922, the Norwegian Department of Com¬merce sent an expedition to Spitzbergen and Bear Island under the leadership of Dr. Adolf Hpel, lecturer on geology at the University of Christiania. Its purpose was to survey and chart the lands adjacent to the Norwegian mines on those islands, take soundings of the adjacent waters, and make other oceanographic investi¬gations.
Dr. Hoel, who has just returned, reports the location of hitherto unknown coal deposits on the eastern shores of Advent Bay—deposits of vast extent and superior quality.jjS^This is regarded as of first importance, as so far most of the coal mined by the Norwegian companies on those islands has not been of the best quality.
*i R. L. Holmes: Quart. Joura, Hoyal Meteorol. Soc., January, 1905.
The oceanographic observations have, however, been even more interesting. Ice conditions were exceptional. In fact, so little ice nas never before been noted. The expedition all but established a record, sailing as far north as 81° 29′ in ice-free water. This is the farthest north ever reached with modern oceanographic apparatus.
The character of the waters of the great polar basin has heretofore been practically unknown. Dr. Hoel re¬ports that he made a section of the Gulf Stream at 81° north latitude and took soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters. These show the Gulf Stream very warm, and it could be traced as a surface current till beyond the Slat parallel. The warmth of the waters makes it probable that the favorable ice conditions will continue for some time.
Later a section was taken of the Gulf Stream off Bear Island and off the Isf jord, as well as a section of the cold current that comes down along the west coast of Spits¬bergen off the south cape.
In connection with Dr. Hoel’s report, it is of interest to note the unusually warm summer in Arctic Norway and the observations of Capt. Martin Ingebrigtsen, who has sailed the eastern Arctic for 54 years past. He says that he first noted warmer conditions in 1918, that since that time it has steadily gotten warmer, and that to-day the Arctic of that region is not recognizable as the same region of 1868 to 1917.
Many old landmarks are so changed as to be unrecog¬nizable. Where formerly great masses of ice were found, there are now often moraines, accumulations of earth and stones. At many points where glaciers formerly extended far into the sea they have entirely disappeared.
The change in temperature, says Captain Ingebrigtsen. has also brought about great change in the flora and fauna of the Arctic. This summer he sought for white fish in Spitsbergen waters. Formerly great shoals of them were found there. This year he saw none, although he visited all the old fishing grounds.
There were few seal in Spitzbergen waters this year, the catch being far under the average. This, however, did not surprise the captain. He pointed out that formerly the waters about Spitsbergen held an even sum¬mer temperature of about 3 Celsius | this year recorded temperatures up to 15°, and last winter the ocean did not freeze over even on the north coast of Spitzbergen.
With the disappearance of white fish and seal has come other life in these waters. This year herring in great shoals were found along the west coast of Spitzbergen, all the way from the fry to the veritable great herrmg. Shoals of smelt were also met with.

villabolo

stevengoddard says:
July 12, 2010 at 11:13 pm
villabolo
Obviously, none of the cities in Greenland are located on the ice sheet. They are all located near sea level, and the granite they are built on is not in any danger of melting down.
The only temperature station on the ice sheet is the one I reported in this story, currently at -16F.
**********************************
VILLABOLO:
I don’t quite get it Steve. As to the temperature statistics I referred to I gave an Air Temperature Anomaly Map from NOAA/ESRL. Just one temperature station on the ice sheet is not enough to give a clear picture of the situation on a large continent.
I also fail to comprehend what the GRACE satellite estimates of ice loss, namely 137 billion metric tonnes in 2002 and steadily increasing, per year, to 286 billion in 2009, has to do with your mentioning the granite in Greenland.
I was responding directly to rbatement’s remark about his incomprehension of the ice melting down when temperatures would not get above 0(C?) at summer.

Since some people here like cherry-picking, temperatures in Nuuk, Greenland have been dropping 45C per century since 2007.
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=431042500000&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

Temperature increases in the two warming periods are of a similar magnitude, however, the rate of warming in 1920–1930 was about 50% higher than that in 1995–2005.
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2006GL026510.shtml
Petr Chylek, M. K. Dubey

Results of my analysis shows a perfectly good reason for that, for even longer period:
Period 1910 -1930 = 5.17/century (y = 0.0517x – 0.5709)
Period 1978 – 2005 = 3.72/century (y = 0.0372x + 0.0123)
Refer to top graph (red line GMFz average, micro Tesla reversed scale) in:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm
Or put in simple terms:
There was a good natural reason for the 1.4 times faster ( 40%) temperature rise during the 1910 -1930 then for the 1978 – 2005 period.

Andrew P.

This National Geographic 1971 Arctic ocean floor map: clearly shows the bowl from which the ice cream has to loup:
http://www.ngmapcollection.com/product.aspx?cid=1541&pid=15904
Here are some more interesting links which put Greenland’s recent (slight) warming into context:
http://www.ngu.no/en-gb/Aktuelt/2008/Less-ice-in-the-Arctic-Ocean-6000-7000-years-ago/
also:
Holocene sea-ice variations in Greenland: onshore evidence
http://hol.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/14/4/607
Ole Bennike
Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Oster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark obe@geus.dk
The oldest dated driftwood log from northern Greenland is c. 9300 cal. years old, which is about 2000 years younger than the beginning of the last deglaciation and 2000 years younger than the oldest driftwood on Svalbard. Driftwood entry to northern Greenland was rare until 7400 cal. years BP, indicating more severe summer sea-ice conditions than at present. More open water than at present probably characterized the period between 6800 and 5500 cal. years BP, during which time driftwood stranded on the beaches of Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden that is now covered by a floating glacier. In central East Greeland, the occurrence of the extralimital species Mytilus edulis in the time interval from c. 8500 to 6000 cal. years BP indicates more open water than at present, and in northwest Greenland studies of dinoflagellate cysts in a marine core indicate warmer surface waters, and hence less sea ice than at present from 7300 to 3700 cal. years BP.
Key Words: Palaeoclimate • sea ice • driftwood • Greenland • Arctic • Holocene • climate optimum.
The Holocene, Vol. 14, No. 4, 607-613 (2004)
also:
http://www.apex.geo.su.se/images/stories/apex2009.pdf
Summary: “Presently, for c. 10 months of the year the coast is brimmed by stationary land-fast ice, which prevents landing of driftwood. However, in the autumn, storms usually break up the land-fast ice, and pack ice with its driftwood can reach the shore. Our first early minimum coincides with a period of beach ridge formation on the exposed coastlines,beginning shortly before 8000 BP, showing that there was frequent open water and possibility for landing of driftwood. We interpret this period to be a period with less than present sea ice – both land-fast and multiyear. The first high frequency-driftwood period marks an increase in multiyear sea ice, possibly allowed to land by less than present land-fast ice. Finally, we interpret the third period as a period with changing duration of land-fast ice – changing from perennial (periods without driftwood), to seasonally exposed to pack ice, as at present (periods with driftwood). From this, notable periods with perennial landfast ice, i.e. “worse-than-present”, were 2400-1900BP, AD 200-800, and AD 1400-1800.”

Layne Blanchard

I’ve flown over Greenland twice in the last two years. It was a frozen wasteland both times. I’m taking the same route in a few weeks, so I’ll take a look and see if we’re doomed or not. 🙂

villabolo

villabolo says:
July 12, 2010 at 11:28 pm
[no more posts until you address the Monckton issue]
********************************
VILLABOLO:
When I last presented a post about Lord Monckton on a separate thread it was an abbreviated version of what I indicated would be a detailed version. I had the whole post deleted except for the part indicating my future version. The moderator was RT which, I presume, is the same Moderator that just deleted an entirely unrelated issue
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/12/a-detailed-rebuttal-to-abraham-from-monckton/#comment-428685
I would like to know why? But then maybe this question would also be deleted?
REPLY: I don’t know, never saw it, but in general you are acting poorly here. Read the policy page available on the link under the header. – A

richard telford

“There is little reason to believe that some interpretations of the GRACE data wrt Greenland ice mass have much validity.”
I love it.
You write that it is currently -16F in the interior of the GIS. That the interior is well below freezing is of little relevance (except as a well-used trick to confuse the unwary) as mass loss through calving and melting occurs at lower, warmer, altitudes. It is the temperature here that is far more important (though when melt starts to regularly occur in the interior, the ice sheet’s future is very limited).
After pushing that irrelevance statistic, you dismiss the GRACE results with little more that “I don’t believe them, therefore they must be wrong”. Even if we could ascribe all the trend to post-glacial uplift (which the literature would appear to discount), uplift cannot explain the acceleration in mass loss.

jason

This post is about the non melting of the greenland glacier4. Why are people going on about arctic sea ice?

Looking at the data for many stations in the Arctic region – not just Greenland and Iceland – the trends for the 1910-1930ish period are just as high if not greater than those we are seeing recently. Alan Cheetham @Appinsys has a great composite of the anomaly graphs for Greenland: http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/RS_Greenland_files/image023.gif
I had found a great quote that operators at a weather station in Greenland believe the warming is cyclical (here).

richard telford

Barry Day says:
July 12, 2010 at 11:57 pm
A buildup of 265 feet of ice since 1942.Yawn,Wake me up when it melts back to that level!
——————-
The interior of the icesheet is the accumulation zone. More snow falls there than melts. Expect things left there (bomber, radar stations etc) to be buried by ice. Nobody is arguing that climate change will cause Greenland to lose its accumulation area any time soon. (In contrast, glaciers in Austria have lost their accumulation area – no new snow remains, even at the top of the glaciers, at the end of the melt season. These glaciers cannot last long).

Nick Stokes says:
July 12, 2010 at 11:38 pm
“One has to wonder where their data comes from”
No you don’t; you can read their caption:
“Temperatures have been rising several degrees Celsius per decade (red areas) since 1981. … . (NASA Map by Robert Simmon, based on data from Josefino Comiso, GSFC.)”

Nick, that is a nice example of cherrypicking from GISS. Indeed there is an increase since 1981, but there was more cooling before that. Temperatures around Greenland and ice melting was at least as high in the period 1935-1950 as in the current period. And summer temperatures then were higher than today.
From http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm05/fm05-sessions/fm05_C41A.html
Rapid thinning and velocity increase on major Greenland outlet glaciers (Jakobshavn Isbr’, west Greenland; Kangerlussuaq and Helheim glaciers in southeast Greenland) during the last two decades may indicate that these glaciers became unstable as a consequence of the Jakobshavn effect, with terminus retreat leading to increased discharge from the interior and consequent further thinning and retreat. Potentially, such behavior could have serious implications for global sea level. However, the current thinning may simply be a manifestation of longer-term behavior of the ice sheet as it responds to the general warming following the Little Ice Age (LIA). Although Greenland outlet glaciers have been comprehensively monitored since the 1980s, studies of long-term changes mostly rely on records of the calving front position. Such records can be misleading because the glacier terminus, particularly if it is afloat, can either advance or retreat as ice further upstream thins and accelerates. To address this issue, we compiled a history of surface elevation changes of Jakobshavn Isbrae since the LIA. We first combined data from historical records, ground surveys, airborne laser altimetry, and field mapping of lateral moraines and trimlines. This record shows two periods of rapid thinning by about 70 meters, in the early 1950s and since 1997. Observed changes in glacier behavior during these two events are markedly different. The recent thinning, which involved several episodes of retreat followed by large thinning, resulted in a rapid retreat of the calving front toward grounding line. Thinning in the 1950s occurred during a period when the calving front was stationary with only minor annual fluctuations. Nevertheless, aerial photographs collected in the 1940s and 50s indicate that thinning extended far inland.
About temperatures in Greenland:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/greenland_temp.html
and the retreat of the break up point of the largest glacier of Greenland near Ilulisat/Jakobshavn :
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/greenland_glacier.html

Here is a bit of correct ‘selective quoting’ for the highest temperature rise in the Arctic
917 -1.1604
1918 -1.0293
1919 -0.4372
1920 0.4255
total rise during 4 years 1.5859 degrees C
2001 0.8258
2002 1.0655
2003 1.1347
2004 1.0631
2005 1.3584
total rise during 5 years = 0.5326 degrees C

Raving

stevengoddard says:
July 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm
During the winter snow accumulates on the ice sheet, and the increased pressure causes the glaciers to flow to the sea. That is how equilibrium is maintained.

Yes except that you are forgetting to consider three essential things.
1) Too much ice accumulation flowing to the sea will eventually back up & back up and eventually establish an ice cap for a new ice age.
2) The Canadian Arctic Archipelago is mostly polar desert. The lack of ice accumulation is caused more by “failure” of precipitation than by temperate weather.
3) It is all a bunch of speculative nonsense regardless. Continents drift. Currents and precipitation patterns change. There is nothing sacred or in normal “equilibrium” about the specific geography, ocean currents or precipitation patterns in the polar regions. Ice caps form and encroach. Ice sheets disappear entirely. Climate marches on regardless.
I am suggesting that ice sheets/caps/glaciers are inherently unstable open ended structures that either disappear to nothing or else form and expand until some dynamic stasis limits their growth. The geography of the earth is in constant flux.
The advance or retreat of solid phase polar caps seem to play a major stabilizing role on planets. Without that stabilizing role, there would be be no solid capping region or else the cap would form an alternative gloss-over replacement for the ‘solid’ lithosphere.
Viewing the polar regions as indicators that get acted upon, as places that respond to changing climate by going into the long goodnight quietly does not feel correct. It seems to go against multiple examples on many worlds.
Sure it could be possible to lose the polar regions but it is apt to come with massive negative correcting feedback.

Dave Wendt

villabolo says:
July 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm
Or how about those GRACE satellites that Anthony loves?
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/greenland_slide.html
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL040222.shtml
The abstract of the second paper you cite second indicates that the GRACE data suggest an accelerated decline in the ice mass in 2007-2009. If you go to this site for the global drought monitor
http://drought.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/drought.html?map=%2Fwww%2Fdrought%2Fweb_pages%2Fdrought.map&program=%2Fcgi-bin%2Fmapserv&root=%2Fwww%2Fdrought2%2F&map_web_imagepath=%2Ftmp%2F&map_web_imageurl=%2Ftmp%2F&map_web_template=%2Fdrought.html
and click through their maps for 12,18,24, and 36 months from the present, they indicate that large portions of Greenland were experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions over the period referred to in the paper, which would suggest an explanation for the larger decline in mass loss unrelated to the melting rate.

Mike McMillan

FergalR:
The weight of the ice depresses the land below it, forming a bowl shape. Ice has about 1/3 the density of rock, so 10,000 feet of ice depress the land below it by more than 3,000 feet. (Isostasy.)
stevengoddard:
Have you ever seen ice cream jump out of a 3,000 foot deep bowl?
FergalR:
No, but I’d like to.

I have the video, but it’s incompatible with YouTube.
I isostatic sinking due to the ice doesn’t depend on on the ice/rock density ratio, but on the density of the lithosphere or asthenosphere that Greenland is floating on.
Here’s a Greenland rock elevation map: http://i25.tinypic.com/zyge1e.jpg
and a cross sections chart: http://i26.tinypic.com/4jml4l.jpg
A lot of the icebergs off the east coast are not calved off the glaciers, but washed down through the Denmark Strait from the Arctic Ocean. I was flying that route from 2000 to 2006, and the amount of ice was far more than could have come from the glaciers.

Ferdinand,
My point was that you should first look at what NASA is actually saying. The argument of this post is that “no, it hasn’t been warming – the trend since 1920 has been down”. But that’s not what they were talking about – and a post like this should at least mention the period cited for their trend map.
NASA’s proposition, clearly stated, is that it has warmed significantly in the last thirty years, and that’s true. Now sure you can argue that it has warmed and cooled at other times, But you need to establish the basic facts.

Ryan

“That the interior is well below freezing is of little relevance (except as a well-used trick to confuse the unwary) as mass loss through calving and melting occurs at lower, warmer, altitudes. ”
The latitude is irrelevant since the ice is lost when it reaches the ocean. The ocean is at a temperature significantly warmer than freezing point (obviously) so any ice reaching the ocean will itself melt. This melting has little to do with climate per se and has more to do with the specific physics of ice dropped into warm water.
It is clear from other evidence that more ice is forming in the interior of Greenland since we know the depth of ice at the interior is increasing. Much of this ice simply cannot reach the ocean to melt because it is locked in by mountains. Thus that ice that can flow to the ocean is purely that ice that manages to squeeze between mountain passes carved by the sheer force of the ice over the eons. The force required to push the ice outward towards the sea is mainly coming from the pressure of fresh ice being formed inland. The speed at which this process happens is not clearly related to climate change in any obvious way.
As I have said before, the easiest way to detect changes in the mass of the ice would be to look at its most impotant impact – the rise in sea level and average loss of land over the whole globe. This could easily be detected by a convenient and extraordinarily precise proxy – the comparison of sailer’s maps from over the centuries to maps of today. This comparison would give us an average for the sea level rise amplified by the slope of gently shelving beaches in many locations that would tell us if we really had a problem caused by rising sea levels or not

Jack Simmons

I sure wish people would quit using the term ‘cherry picking’ as a pejorative.
My wife can make a delicious cherry pie when the mood strikes.
Just as you can’t have an omelet without breaking some eggs (according the Stalin), you can’t have cherry pie without cherry picking.
And nothing is more fun than watching the ice cream melt after putting it on the hot pie.
I must admit the resulting ‘model’ of ice cap melting is not allowed to resolve itself naturally. It is consumed.
Sigh. Scientific curiosity is overwhelmed by physical appetites.
Perhaps we need to wait another thirty years before anything like an accurate understanding of some of the apparent polar cycles is arrived at?

David Mayhew

richard telford says:
July 13, 2010 at 1:08 am
“In contrast, glaciers in Austria have lost their accumulation area – no new snow remains, even at the top of the glaciers, at the end of the melt season. These glaciers cannot last long”
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The “good” thing about the Austrian melting is that it reveals traces of former human activity and exposes wood from trees which were present there earlier in this interglacial (radiocarbon dating etc) at heights above the current tree line.
This evidence suggests it that it was warmer then than now. Would you agree?
DFM

papertiger

Layne Blanchard says:
July 13, 2010 at 12:39 am
I’ve flown over Greenland twice in the last two years. It was a frozen wasteland both times. I’m taking the same route in a few weeks, so I’ll take a look and see if we’re doomed or not. 🙂

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That’s the spirit. Way to keep an open mind there, buddy. 🙂

Richard Heg

“But you don’t hear so much about Greenland melting down any more.”
Maybe thats because you dont hear much about global warming any more.