WUWT readers may recall some articles we did years back debunking the alarm over the Petermann glacier calving off a large iceberg. In case you are unfamiliar, it’s what glaciers do. But, this particular event was seen as a bad omen of the planet, as this 2012 article in The Independent illustrates:
The whole Petermann glacier is the “canary in the coal mine” thing got started back is 2010, when a calving produced an iceberg 4 times the size of Manhattan Island. WUWT reported then:
There was all sorts of media caterwauling related to that. It all got started when
activists scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) started making wild claims like “The Arctic is screaming“, and the “Arctic would be ice free by summer of 2012“. Those are some famously bad (and failed) quotes by NSIDC’s Mark Serreze [and Jay Zwally]. Serreze once famously said:
Serreze: I have yet to lose any sleep over what is talked about in WattsUpWithThat or any other similar blog that insists on arguing from a viewpoint of breathtaking ignorance.
Meanwhile, Nature has been making a fool out of Serreze, because that darned ice just won’t melt, and he’s had to walk back some of his claims:
An article in Wired magazine recounts how sea-ice modellers are sharing data and methods and are learning from each other in the process. It’s not obvious whether the sea-ice community have actually made their data and code open to the world or whether this is just a case of sharing within the community, but it’s a step forwards at least.It’s also nice to see Mark Serreze apologising for his role in stirring up scare stories in 2007:
“In hindsight, probably too much was read into 2007, and I would take some blame for that,” Serreze said. “There were so many of us that were astounded by what happened, and maybe we read too much into it.”If climatologists are now going to eschew scaremongering then that is certainly welcome.
And, inconveniently, and with little fanfare in the media, this happened at the Petermann glacier:
Growth of Greenland’s Petermann Glacier during the past five years as revealed by NASA/MODIS satellite imagery from a low point in August 2012 (left) to August 2017 (right) Image comparison by Paul Dorian.
Oh, critics will say, it’s only one year-to-year comparison. Alright, how about a trend? Surely if observed calving in 2010 and 2012 defines “global warming” action on the glacier, a few years of comparisons would be even better, right?
Meteorologist Paul Dorian of Vencore Weather has this to say about it:
While we are celebrating a chilly Thanksgiving Day in the Mid-Atlantic region, Summit Station in Greenland will experience high temperatures around -40°F which continues the very cold and well-below normal trend for the month of November. Summit Station (also known as Summit Camp) is a high-altitude (10,551 feet) year-round research station in central Greenland and its exact coordinates actually can change since the ice sheet underneath is often on the move. In addition to the bitter cold, snow and ice accumulation throughout Greenland has been running at the high-end of normal since the fall of 2016 – at times at or near record levels – and NASA/MODIS satellite imagery reveals significant growth in the Petermann Glacier from a low point reached five years ago. One of the important reasons for closely monitoring the snow and ice buildup on Greenland is that this region can be an important cold air source for the central and eastern US during the upcoming winter season.
The accumulated surface mass balance from September 1st to now (blue line, Gt) and the season 2011-12 (red) which had very high summer melt in Greenland. For comparison, the mean curve from the period 1981-2010 is shown (dark grey). Courtesy Danish Meteorological Institute
Greenland is a massive island country that lies between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans and is full of dozens of glaciers. The Petermann Glacier is a large one located in the far northwestern part of the country that connects the Greenland ice sheet to the Arctic Ocean near 81 degrees north latitude.
Significant additional snow is expected over Greenland during the next ten days; forecast map courtesy NOAA/EMC/06Z GFS
Given the buildup of snow and ice in the past year or so on Greenland, it may not be too surprising to see an expansion of the Petermann Glacier . As snow accumulates on a glacier, the glacier is pushed by its own weight outward or downward, towards the sea. In fact, this particular glacier has grown by several kilometers during the past five years as revealed by MODIS satellite imagery from its low point in August of 2012 to this past August.
Read his entire analysis here
Note: about 30 minutes after publication, the article was updated to reference NSIDC scientist Jay Zwally’s quote along with Mark Serreze.