Greenland ice melt due to 'global warming' found not so bad after all

These are meltwater streams and rivers on the surface of the western area of the Greenland Ice Sheet. CREDIT Dr Andrew Sole, University of Sheffield

These are meltwater streams and rivers on the surface of the western area of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
CREDIT Dr Andrew Sole, University of Sheffield

From the UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH and the “note the soot on the ice in the image they included above” department:

Satellites shed light on Greenland Ice Sheet response to warming

Parts of Greenland’s ice sheet have been found to be less vulnerable to climate warming than was thought – a discovery that could have a small but beneficial impact on sea level forecasts.

Satellite images have revealed that despite dramatic increases in ice melt across Greenland in recent years, the speed of ice movement in some areas has slowed down rather than accelerated.

The finding, observed on a sector of the ice sheet that terminates on land rather than in the ocean, will help scientists improve predictions of how quickly Greenland’s ice will be lost in a warming climate.

Until recently, scientists thought that the increased volumes of meltwater from Greenland’s ice in response to climate warming would speed up the motion of all parts of the ice sheet by helping the ice slide more rapidly.

However, their latest study shows that in recent decades, ice movement in some areas that terminate on land has slowed down rather than accelerated. The discovery suggests that further increases in ice melting, fuelled by climate change, may further slow movement of these sectors of the ice sheet.

A team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh used satellite data to track the shift of ice features such as crevasses in an 8000km2 area of Greenland over three decades. They found that, despite a 50 per cent rise in meltwater from the ice surface in recent years, overall movement in the past 10 years was slower than in previous decades.

They found that this was caused by large amounts of meltwater produced in summer producing channels at the base of the ice sheet, which drain away water efficiently, slowing the glacier’s movement the subsequent winter.

Scientists say more research is needed to understand the movement of other parts of the ice sheet, which terminate in the ocean and which have seen acceleration in recent decades.

The study, published in Nature, was carried out in collaboration with the Université Savoie Mont-Blanc in France and the University of Sheffield.

Andrew Tedstone of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: “A large sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet has slowed down, despite sustained warming in the past decade. However, the ice sheet’s overall contribution to sea level rise continues to accelerate in two ways – through increases in surface melting and the movement of glaciers which terminate in the ocean.”

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76 thoughts on “Greenland ice melt due to 'global warming' found not so bad after all

      • Hmm… increased calving accompanied by increased formation. Sound like what one might expect at the tail end of the warm phase of the cycle.

      • “Greenland is losing mass at about 200 Gt/yr”
        It seems that number is from a model, no?
        “The snow and ice model from one of DMI’s climate models is driven every six hours with snowfall, sunlight and other parameters from a research weather model for Greenland…The model has been updated in 2014 to better account for meltwater refreezing in the snow, and again in 2015 to account for the lower reflectivity of sunlight in bare ice than in snow”
        And it’s been my understanding that ice mass from satellites has huge error bars.
        A quick glance shows Greenland’s ice at 2.85 million cubic kilometres (Gt)
        So is the “loss” of 200Gt +/- 50% really going to show up?

      • WAS losing mass.
        Now take a look at this year, as the AMO starts to swing back the other way.
        Massive gains !!!

      • That blurb on the DMI SMB page has not changed since mid 2014, and the net loss is based on an average including the massive loss from the anomalous 2012 year. The 2013-2014 net loss was about 6 GT. Nobody has said yet what the calving loss was in 2014-2015, as far as I can tell. If it was a normal year, they likely ended the 2014-2015 season with a net gain.
        This year’s SMB accumulation is already 175 GT, well above the 1990-2013 mean they use on the DMI site, and outside the grey high/low bands, implying it’s a “record high.” The 1990-2013 average trend line shows the average time for 175GT mass gain to be reached is early December.
        It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the AMO shift has begun, manifested by reversal of the cyclical mass loss that previously manifested between 1920 and 1945 (mostly in the 1930’s), and the ice sheet is recovering as it did mid-20th century.

      • Not true per NASA for the past cycle (2013-2014). Estimated loss was only 6GT, essentially zero. And this season 2014-2015 will likely be reported in December as a net gain of some substance. Like 100-200 GT net annual gain. Is simple to estimate. If the calving loss is roughly constant (and this new paper says there are places where creep is slowing), and last year was basically zero net, then this year must be >+100 Gt just from the large SMB growth reported by DMI. Colder and snowier works wonders.

      • The next few years of Arctic sea Ice growth and Greenland net ice mass balance growth will leave more than a few NSIDC experts crying in their beers at the thought of facing their foreign colleagues at technical conferences.

      • My source says the total ice volume on Greenland is about five m cu km. If so a loss of 200 per year means it will take 25,000 years to melt. While I hold that out as a possibility, it is not something that is as concerning to me as a lack of agreement on where international borders are located, or a mutual ban of all nuclear weapons. Melting Greenland ice is hardly a concern in the top 1000 things mankind should address in the next century.

    • Silly fool, don’t you know that you can only look at the areas that the warmist freaks allow you to look at !!!

      • I am surprised they do not report the loss in units of milligrams.
        Like when they reported the net gain in ocean heat in joules.

      • “I am surprised they do not report the loss in units of milligrams.”
        No, if you really want to confuse people you use oddball multipliers like hectojoules or decigrams.

    • yes.
      this bit had me roflmao.
      “The finding, observed on a sector of the ice sheet that terminates on land rather than in the ocean, will help scientists improve predictions of how quickly Greenland’s ice will be lost in a warming climate.”
      oh really, like all the other fantastic predictions they have made over the last twenty years. or am i confusing predictions with projections ?

    • the yes was to lucius opening reply to the post. the numbers are all utter junk anyway. more reanalysis “data”.

    • Take a look at the elevation of the Greenland Ice Cap. It is a mountain of ice, most of which is located north of the Arctic Circle. Due to the atmospheric lapse rate and polar location, most of the ice sheet is well below freezing all year long.
      it would take thousands of years of significantly warmer temperatures to make any significant change in the volume of ice on Greenland. We are talking about a gnats whisker’s on an elephant. Not very long ago, 6-8 thousand years, the Arctic was mostly ice free. The climate was warmer and human’s changed from hunter-gatherers to farmers, and formed the basis for modern civilization.
      From that time onward, every 1-2 thousand years, temperatures have oscillated between warm and cold. And with this oscillation, food supplies have also oscillated. During the warm spells great empires were built using the surplus food. During the cold spells great empires were destroyed as food supplies became scarce.
      We are currently enjoying a warm phase and world food supplies have never been greater. Poverty has been substantially reduced over the past 20 years. What is the saying “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. Be careful what you wish for. History has shown us time and time again what to expect when the warming ends, and it isn’t pretty.

      • “History has shown us time and time again what to expect when the warming ends, and it isn’t pretty.”
        Ahhh, but it’ll still be caused by “climate change” as these rubes will still need their corrupt grant money.

    • Resourceguy
      Right on. Greenland is not a ridge of mountains with the glaciers sliding off the sides. It is a ring of islands, basically. It is going to take a long tim to melt, but it will eventually. The ice is not all that old, actually, even the oldest. When it is gone, the Arctic should be ice free in summer. Northern Canada will be much more habitable.

  1. This is recent announcement: 2015
    Greenland is blowing away all records for ice gain this year. They have gained almost 200 billion tons of snow and ice over the past two months, which is more than 50% above normal. The surface of the ice gained more than 200 billion tons during the previous 12 months.
    Five hundred billion tons of snow falls on Greenland every year. All of that has to return to the sea by either melt or glacier calving. Otherwise the ice would be piled up to the top of the atmosphere.

    • The elevation ASL of Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is 9,301 feet – 8,900 feet of which is ice!

      • That is roughly the mass height limit for the surface area that big. The higher the mass, the more pressure is put on the ice below and the balance between friction and surface pushes the mass away from the center. This on it’s own causes glacier calving once the mass is forced onto unstable surface, where uneven or in contact with ocean surface where it will break off easily. This prevents the glacier over Antarctica from ever reaching 3 km above sea level and why only got ice cores for around 840,000 years. When the glacier on Antarctica has been around for 30 million years. The much older ice has eventually been all carved off as icebergs and melted in the warmer ocean nearby.

        • Yep, that all makes sense. But how few folks know a) That S.P. Station is nearly two miles ASL, and b) that it’s mostly ice. I’m a ham operator, and happened to luck into a late-night QSO with a ham who was stationed there at the time. He sent me a QSL postcard, which by itself is a cool memento, but it also had a list of “amazing facts” about the station on it.

      • There are no negative numbers on that graph so it suggests that the SMB is always increasing on a daily basis. I thought DMI showed net ice mass losses in recent years?

      • This may answer my question above:

        Over the year, it snows more than it melts, but calving of icebergs also adds to the total mass budget of the ice sheet. Satellite observations over the last decade show that the ice sheet is not in balance. The calving loss is greater than the gain from surface mass balance, and Greenland is losing mass at about 200 Gt/yr.

        http://www.dmi.dk/en/groenland/maalinger/greenland-ice-sheet-surface-mass-budget/
        The image shown above from realclimatescience.com cuts off the top half of the image actually shown at DMI. Potentially, if not intentionally, misleading IMO.
        That said, I believe everyone agress that Greenland’s recent ice mass losses have stopped/reversed for the past year.

    • However, in a study published in Nature in 2013, 133 researchers analyzed a Greenland ice core from the Eemian interglacial. They concluded that GIS (Greenland ice sheet) had been 8 degrees C warmer than today for 6000 years. The large and long-lasting warming had a modest effect on the ice sheet, leaving it largely intact.[11]
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7433/full/nature11789.html
      =============
      so, 8C warmer to 6000 years. much warmer than if we burned all fossil fuels on earth. modest effect.

  2. Damn, I knew that I should never have bought into that property development scheme from those “Central Greenland Lakes and Parks” people. They told me that the ice would be GONE.
    But now, they tell me that I’m going to have to wait for the next interglacial, at least.
    And to think – the map in the brochure made it all look so attractive:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet#/media/File:Topographic_map_of_Greenland_bedrock.jpg

    • That map is very helpful for understanding the inland ice floes. I’ve never seen the topography of greenland exposed.

      • The problem most Greenland glaciers have trying to slide into the sea is that ring of mountains they have to climb first.

      • Thanks. Yeah – that’s the one!! I must look up how I can show an image, as you have done.

      • I love this map! I must say I had never imagined the huge lake in the upper middle. I could just see someone unaware of the climate there being fooled into buying a gorgeous waterfront lot in the Central Greenland Lakes District, only to find out later that he would have to dig eight or nine thousand feet straight down through solid ice to reach his new property. What an opportunity for grand-scale fraud that would be; one could probably get some global-warming alarmists to make a purchase by saying, “Yes, there’s ice there now; but with more record warmth coming, you’ll be able to build there by 2025 at the latest.”

    • Is that lake really in the middle of Greenland or is that a depression generated by the shear weight of the ice above it ? In other words, would it spring back up if the ice were removed ?

      • Neo, isostatic rebound would push the central area back above sea level if all the ice were removed. Hudson Bay is thought to be the center of a much larger area which was pushed below sea level. The land surface continues to rise to this day in many areas.

    • look up
      Lake Van, Eastern Anatolia,
      Hydrochemistry and … – Springer
      Saline, 450-m-deep Lake Van
      (Eastern Anatolia, Turkey) is,
      with 576 km3, the third largest
      closed lake on Earth and its …
      link.springer.com/
      article/10.1007%2…
      Regards – Hans

    • Oh but it will be after “normalising” the figures.
      Right on top of the unsettling evaporation report and the absurd isoprene “discovery” too!
      Heresy, Mr. Perry! What we need is an auto da fe. (Carbon free of course!)
      The Science IS settled…

  3. That’s a lot of soot! Perhaps it gets concentrated on the surface as the ice melts away. The surface soot, instead of being washed away, stays on top forming a blanket.
    I’d think a simple backyard experiment this winter could be enlightening. Just sprinkle some ash after each snow fall, so a set of ash layers is formed within the snow. Then as the snow pile melts, does the ash remain to leave a black layer on top.
    Perhaps this is similar to what happens to those big piles of snow that are piled up in parking lots by front-end loaders — they look the dirtiest in late spring.

    • You can se that happening after every snow storm in big cities, as piles of snow get dirtier and dirtier on top as the snow pile gets smaller.
      Finally, all that is left is a thin layer of ice with a clump of yucky silt on top.

    • Is it soot? How much of it? Is it dust? How much of it? Is it ash? How much of it? But do not call it all soot. That is an assumption.

      • A great deal of it is road dust. Some is exhaust soot. Roads deteriorate all the time and generate a lot of dust. Brakes wear and shed ceramic or organic particles. Dry farmland is a major source of dust that travels hundreds of miles. A lot of the dust in the Beijing air is from farms in the surrounding countryside.
        The energy needed to melt the snow is the same whether it is dirty or clean.

      • Crispin wrote: “The energy needed to melt the snow is the same whether it is dirty or clean.”
        The amount of sunlight needed to melt the snow changes drastically with a soot/dust/sand/grime layer on top. Pure clean snow reflects sunlight well. The dark layer readily collects the sun’s energy, accelerating the melting.

    • Go to any mall parking lot to observe that. Or the small mountain left after the rare and exciting event left in Boston. I bet they can’t wait for another. The thought of tourist flocking in to see it. Why it’s so warm there, nobody is leaving anymore for warmer climes like Florida or Arizona.

  4. “Andrew Tedstone of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: “A large sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet has slowed down, despite sustained warming in the past decade. However, the ice sheet’s overall contribution to sea level rise continues to accelerate in two ways – through increases in surface melting and the movement of glaciers which terminate in the ocean.”
    Has he not noticed that the av temp has plateaued the last 18 years? “despite sustained warming”, @ Tedstone, please check to temps of the past 18 years You do not any more funding and research, the answer is right there!

    • “…However, the ice sheet’s overall contribution to sea level rise continues to accelerate in two ways – through increases in surface melting and the movement of glaciers which terminate in the ocean.”

      I noticed that their abstract never mentioned measuring the increased surface melting nor did they measure those glaciers terminating in the ocean. They seemed to forget to measure where their particular glaciers ice flow source came from.
      It is really amazing how they derive ice volumes without knowing how much ice is still at the source along with prophetic powers for things they didn’t measure.

  5. Do warmer temps increase calving; or does the increase in weight from increase snow produce an increase in calving? Or is it possible that an increase in temp. might increase the melting resulting in less weight therefore less calving?

    • In Greenland, neither. Calving is only those glaciers reaching the sea. That is a very small part of the ice cap, most of which is over the interior of a bathtub shaped topography. Images in essay Tipping Points in my newest ebook. At highest estimated recent melt rate, would take ~15,000 years for the cap to melt. Not going to happen.

  6. Rain on ice (or snow) does a lot of rapid removal. Weak sunlight and temperatures near freezing not so much. When the precipitation is frozen growth happens – slowly.

  7. “…how quickly Greenland’s ice will be lost in a warming climate…”
    would be lost, please…

  8. “A large sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet has slowed down, despite sustained warming in the past decade.”
    But if this ‘warming’ is just the fake figures while in reality it has been static or even cooling, this would make sense. So..where do I claim my grant money from?

  9. [51] The warmest year in the extended Greenland temperature record is 1941, while the 1930s and 1940s are the warmest decades. Two distinct cold periods, following the 1809 (“unidentified” volcanic eruption and the eruption of Tambora in 1815 make the 1810s the coldest decade on record.
    Extending Greenland temperature records into the late eighteenth century
    Authors: B. M. Vinther,K. K. Andersen,P. D. Jones,K. R. Briffa,J. Cappelen
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2005JD006810/full

  10. The comments are the best. I learn more from the comments……..thanks everyone. I can pass this on to my grandkids sitting in classrooms, Catholic schools, being told the end of the world is coming because of human’s bad nature causing global warming. That is really what they are told!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. arial view of a beauiful landscape, but … there’s not enough elevation for rivers to supply freshwater. and no draining into the open sea.
    That’s a dead lake, no oxygen, maybe acidic water with a small, strange inhabitation.
    Regards – Hans

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