Greenland ice losses rising faster than expected

University of Leeds

The midnight sun casts a golden glow on an iceberg and its reflection in Disko Bay, Greenland. Much of Greenland's annual mass loss occurs through calving of icebergs such as this. Credit Ian Joughin, University of Washington

The midnight sun casts a golden glow on an iceberg and its reflection in Disko Bay, Greenland. Much of Greenland’s annual mass loss occurs through calving of icebergs such as this. Credit Ian Joughin, University of Washington

Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than in the 1990s and is tracking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s high-end climate warming scenario, which would see 40 million more people exposed to coastal flooding by 2100.

A team of 96 polar scientists from 50 international organisations have produced the most complete picture of Greenland ice loss to date. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) Team combined 26 separate surveys to compute changes in the mass of Greenland’s ice sheet between 1992 and 2018. Altogether, data from 11 different satellite missions were used, including measurements of the ice sheet’s changing volume, flow and gravity.

The findings, published today in Nature today, show that Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice since 1992 – enough to push global sea levels up by 10.6 millimetres. The rate of ice loss has risen from 33 billion tonnes per year in the 1990s to 254 billion tonnes per year in the last decade – a seven-fold increase within three decades.

The assessment, led by Professor Andrew Shepherd at the University of Leeds and Dr Erik Ivins at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, was supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that global sea levels will rise by 60 centimetres by 2100, putting 360 million people at risk of annual coastal flooding. But this new study shows that Greenland’s ice losses are rising faster than expected and are instead tracking the IPCC’s high-end climate warming scenario, which predicts 7 centimetres more.

Professor Shepherd said: “As a rule of thumb, for every centimetre rise in global sea level another six million people are exposed to coastal flooding around the planet.”

“On current trends, Greenland ice melting will cause 100 million people to be flooded each year by the end of the century, so 400 million in total due to all sea level rise.”

“These are not unlikely events or small impacts; they are happening and will be devastating for coastal communities.”

The team also used regional climate models to show that half of the ice losses were due to surface melting as air temperatures have risen. The other half has been due to increased glacier flow, triggered by rising ocean temperatures.

Ice losses peaked at 335 billion tonnes per year in 2011 – ten times the rate of the 1990s – during a period of intense surface melting. Although the rate of ice loss dropped to an average 238 billion tonnes per year since then, this remains seven times higher and does not include all of 2019, which could set a new high due to widespread summer melting.

Dr Ivins said: “Satellite observations of polar ice are essential for monitoring and predicting how climate change could affect ice losses and sea level rise”.

“While computer simulation allows us to make projections from climate change scenarios, the satellite measurements provide prima facie, rather irrefutable, evidence.”

“Our project is a great example of the importance of international collaboration to tackle problems that are global in scale.”

Guðfinna Aðalgeirsdóttir, Professor of Glaciology at the University of Iceland and lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report, who was not involved in the study, said:

“The IMBIE Team’s reconciled estimate of Greenland ice loss is timely for the IPCC. Their satellite observations show that both melting and ice discharge from Greenland have increased since observations started.”

“The ice caps in Iceland had similar reduction in ice loss in the last two years of their record, but this last summer was very warm here and resulted in higher loss. I would expect a similar increase in Greenland mass loss for 2019.”

“It is very important to keep monitoring the big ice sheets to know how much they raise sea level every year.”

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From EurekAlert!

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144 thoughts on “Greenland ice losses rising faster than expected

  1. Sea level continues to rise at 3mm/y latest data. How can they possibly reconcile that with their findings?

          • The findings, published today in Nature today, show that Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice since 1992 – enough to push global sea levels up by 10.6 millimetres. The rate of ice loss has risen from 33 billion tonnes per year in the 1990s to 254 billion tonnes per year in the last decade – a seven-fold increase within three decades.

            Wow…a whopping 10.6mm in a mere 3 decades (+/_ 10%)…
            Since 1992 Greenland melting has risen sea levels by…………
            Carry the one…factor in expansion…
            A Whopping 2/5″ (two-fifths of an inch)
            At that rate, Greenland will contribute 1 inch to sea level rise every 75 years or just under 1.5 inches every century.

            Where did I put my rowboat??

      • Satellite data, both for ice and for sea level, is un-calibrated. That means it is meaningless.

        Of course they are able to measure ice height from 120 miles up, with a wildly varying orbit, to millimeters. Sea level too.

        A scientific report of data without error bars is simply a lie.

        Wow….

      • Stokes you lie like a rug.

        Calibration?

        The satellites can measure the surface of the ice or the sea to fractions of millimeters from 120 miles up with their orbits that vary by far more than this?

        Un-calibrated data is not data, it is a sham.

        Pseudo-science.

        Wow…

      • GPS achieves at best an accuracy of ≤ 700 mm so how does this system measure to an accuracy of 10ths of a mm?
        With the speeds satellites move in relation to a massive gravitational body like earth would surely mean Einsteinian Physics is relevant instead of Newtonian. Measuring ice ‘loss’ to tenths or even hundredths of a millimetre would mean calibrating the entire measuring equipment within the satellite plus everything in between and the target to cater for:
        – The enormous temperature swings experienced by the satellite of several hundred degrees within minutes
        – The temperature of the surface being measured.
        – The speed in which the signal travels and the varying distance to the target point as the earth is not flat to a precision of hundredths of a mm
        – The varying gravitational forces as earth’s gravity is not uniform and gravity distorts time.
        – The precision of the actual measuring surface to establish where measurement begins, which has to be a greater precision than 100th of a mm.
        – The varying atmospheric conditions of temperature, pressure and humidity.
        – A reference point to calculate gain or loss (how is this done?)
        Have I got this wrong?

        • Stephen,
          No, you have not gotten it wrong, but you have underestimated the capabilities of the engineering achieved in the filed of LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites.
          Yes, we can and do account for all of these things and more in well designed satellites, which are, however, very expensive. I do not know what satellite was used to collect the data. I can say that “good” satellites have orbital trajectories which account: for underlying land mass changes which will perturb the orbit, such as when passing over the Himalayan Plateau; thermal fluctuations due to solar radiance; as well as accounting for seasonal changes and solar radiance changes which cause Earth’s atmosphere to expand. LEO is like skimming just above the wave tops of a not so smooth atmospheric/space boundary. Occasionally you will hit the more tenuous “wave tops”. If you are a skier then this analogy might make sense: Flying through LEO can be like spring skiing, some times fast and some times slow. However, all this is accounted for. Which is why satellites have limited lifetimes, mostly not because of the electronics, but because they have run out of maneuvering fuel used to readjust the satellite every time it gets tugged. It doesn’t take much, but hey don’t carry much either.
          Satellites calibrate their orbit to a theoretical Earth center and know the exact altitude (to the best its predecessors could measure) of the land that it is passing over. As to measuring the surface, lasers and radar work very well through a variety of media. Yes, we can photograph you license plate from LEO.

          • And yet for all of those equations, isnt it true that to obtain a final figure of actual sea level, wind directions and strengths have to be aquired from weather bureaus to ‘estimate’ the height of seas and swell? That is not accurate to 100mm let alone stating SL increases of 1mm or even less.

        • Off the shelf GPS is capable of better than 6 mm accuracy with the right technology – its called survey grade, and it relies on additional data extracted from the GPS signal. There’s a gulf between that and the stated measurements here …..

        • GPS can deliver precision of as small as +\- 1.0 mm in survey quality equipment with post processing of the data. But sea level measurement by satellites are not GPS. Says like NASA’s JASON 3 use a radar altimeter.

      • Excerpted from above article:

        The findings, published today in Nature today, show that Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice since 1992 – enough to push global sea levels up by 10.6 millimetres. The rate of ice loss has risen from 33 billion tonnes per year in the 1990s to 254 billion tonnes per year in the last decade – a seven-fold increase within three decades.

        The big question is, …… how’s come the Mediterranean Sea level hasn’t risen in the past 3,800 years, as confirmed by this research, to wit:

        Minoan Island devoted to the color purple

        The finds on Chrysi show the high value placed on the rare purple dye and the flourishing economy of the settlement between 3,800 and 3,500 years ago, during the Protopalatial and Neopalatial periods of the Minoan civilization on Crete.

        Archaeologists have investigated the settlement on Chrysi since 2008, revealing various discoveries, including the remains of large carved stone tanks near the waterline on the beach.

        READ MORE HERE

        Yup, it appears that the Minoans constructed large carved stone tanks near the waterline on the beach 3,800 years ago ……. and they are still situated near the waterline here in 2019 AD.

      • 0.7 mm/yr x 10 years (decade) = 7 mm or 0.27 inches in 10 years, or 2.7 inches in 100 years. Sorry, doesn’t sound catastrophic to me.

        • But, but, Phil, a 2.7 inches SLR per 100 years means that there should have been 102.6 inches or 8.55 feet of SLR in the past 38 hundred years ….. but no such SLR occurred in the close proximity of the island of Crete. ‬ ‬

          And the LIA wasn’t cold enough or long enough to remove that 8.55 feet of SLR even iffen it had occurred.

      • “254 Gtons/year is about 0.7 mm/yr.”

        Or 5.67 cm between now and 2100.

        Is that even measurable?

      • I represent a retired (redundant) US President.
        He would like to apologise for saying “today we/I have stopped the sea level rising”
        He was wrongly advised.
        Also we have a very nice piece of real estate in Martha Vineyard for sale, yours for 12.5 million.

      • ..254 Gtons/year is about 0.7 mm/yr.

        Right on! 〰️360,000,000 sq. Kms of ocean surface requires 360 Gtons of ice/water per mm SLR. less fresh snowfall, all other variables: mean ocean depth, surface area, mean temperature etc. presumed constant. Scary!
        Cheers
        Mike

    • More importantly, sea level rise has [i]slowed[/q] slightly in the last few years. Perhaps an effect of the 2016 El Niño, but how do they reconcile the numerous claims of accelerating glacier melt with the measurements showing sea level rise has decelerated slightly?

      • It’s more than slowed, it’s reversed, over the last century.

        Have you seen the latest Australian Bureau of Met sea levels for a stilling pond adjacent to the broadest piece of ocean in the world?

        The latest mean sea level at Ft Denison tide gauge is 6 inches LOWER than the first reading taken in 1914:

        http://www.bom.gov.au/ntc/IDO70000/IDO70000_60370_SLD.shtml

        If there is no sea level rise in the Pacific over the last century, there is no net land ice melt and no sea level rise to worry about anywhere.

        The increase in Pacific atoll areas supports this, too.

      • Stinkerp, maybe the cited changes are real and maybe they are only change in technique anomalies. Check out this report: Greenland’s Shrunken Ice Sheets: We’ve Been Here Before, author Charlotte Hsu, November 22, 2013, GEOLOGY. A team of mostly Geologists studied the fossilized shell debris, from fresh water shelled animals, found in lateral moraines in front of Greenland glaciers and found that the maximum Greenland glacier retreat was from 5,000 to 3,000 years ago. The Researchers utilized both carbon 14 dating and Amino Acid sequencing, where L amino acids convert to D amino acids in a gradual manner. Who knows what variation in glaciers advancing and retreating is normal? Looks like Greenland is saying everything is normal now.

      • The glacial melt eventually ends up in plants. The increased greening of the globe is not only capturing carbon, it is also capturing water.

  2. show that Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice since 1992 – enough to push global sea levels up by 10.6 millimetres.

    So we are resorting to scare tactics ? With the alleged warming, there isn’t increased evaporation, no ice formation other places? Or is it assumed that every other thing remains perfectly constant and that every drop of water remains in the ocean?

    predicted that global sea levels will rise by 60 centimetres by 2100, putting 360 million people at risk of annual coastal flooding.

    Yeah. Their models accurately model population growth and migration trends over eighty years out. Apparently people are completely unfamiliar with techniques to construct dikes, seawalls or other land reclamation projects.

    And what exactly is mean by “coastal flooding”? I live in an area hundreds of miles from any coast, and this area routinely experiences flooding – yet people still continue to move here and build.

    • Too bad for Miami and NYC. Too bad also that people in New Jersey aren’t allowed to move to Pennsylvania.

    • On people continuing to move to your area that already experiences flooding. This is often a recipe for worse flooding in future….because landowners undertake small scale flood control measures on their properties which serve to cause faster runoff and more rapid onset of downslope flooding of their new neighbors. Usually only large “government scale” flood control projects will alleviate the problem with large drainage canals…..and local government officials like to campaign for “climate change” bucks to defray costs and also use CC as an excuse to avoid responsibility for issuing the building permits initially. Mixing weather and politicians creates opportunities for vote-soliciting, virtue signalling, blame mitigation, and money grabbing that are truly amazing.

    • Two years of inconvenient data would be the 2016-2017 season and 2017-2018 season where the accumulated surface mass balance ended each year about 150 Gt above the 1981-2010 mean. (source DMI Polar Portal)

      • Taking the ice flow of glaciers into the sea from the SMB Gain did result in minor gians of 44 GT (2017) and probably less than 20 GT in 2018.

        The mass gain 2017 and 2018 of approx. 65 GT figure should be seen in the
        light of the total ice mass that the Ice Sheet has lost since 2002 – i.e. 3600 Gt.

        • The crucial point is not the total amount of ice mass lost in recent decades (a very, very low percentage of the total ice mass by the way) but whether there is an increasing trend of ice loss. If there was, it has apparently disappeared as is obvious from the data for 2012-2018 mentioned in the Abstract of the Nature article.

    • The evidence in the 1990s is monitoring of glacier discharge rates and estimates of new ice addition (input/output) and altimetry data (measuring height of glacial ice). These indicate almost constant ice mass and generally agreed.
      Beginning in 2003, gravity data from GRACE satellite started. That is also about the time GL ice loss accelerated. Since then, both GRACE data and altimetry data have given similar results.

      • Beginning in 2003, gravity data from GRACE satellite started. That is also about the time GL ice loss accelerated. Since then, both GRACE data and altimetry data have given similar results.

        The GRACE measurements invoked the Schrödinger effect and the cat died.
        Oops, you peeked!

  3. Back in the day of Newtonian physics, when the rules of conservation of angular momentum were routinely observed, whenever grounded polar ice melted the earth slowed down its spin. With modern global warming Newtonian physics no longer applies. –AGF

  4. “Professor Shepherd said: “As a rule of thumb, for every centimeter rise in global sea level another six million people are exposed to coastal flooding around the planet.”

    How does a centimeter rise in sea level expose 6 million people to coastal flooding? I’ve never been flooded out by a centimeter of water.

    • Expanding surface area. It’s never mentioned. The ocean basin does not have straight sides. More water into the ocean could – in theory – could cause flooding without any SLR and probably is.

      • I don’t get your point about that.

        I can see that a 1cm SLR could translate into a large area of land being covered, depending on the slope of the shore where earth meets water. Straight sides would have no extra area covered, just more of the face underwater. A beach with a 1:10 slope would see a high water mark 10cm further up the beach than before.

        Is that what you meant, or something else entirely?

      • Yes. The term describing the relationship between basin volume and surface elevation is “hypsographic curve”. Very nonlinear. Lots of information on the Internet. Another fly in the ointment is that as the sea rises (1 to 2 mm/year per FEMA’s latest), it rises against formerly dry land, and not the porcelain bathtub. The sea water must fill in the pore spaces in the soil before any rise is fully manifested. I recall a study of many years ago that the world’s pore spaces have enough volume to absorb years (decades?) of seawater volume increase. And the ointment collected another fly. Sea level undergoes a periodic rise and fall having ~19-year period, based on a solar-lunar tidal cycle called the Metonic Cycle. The period is called a Tidal Epoch, and NOAA averages over a full epoch to calculate the tides for the forthcoming epoch.

        • Neil Jordan

          Excuse my ignorance (genuinely) but couldn’t the infilling of pore spaces be happening right now?

          But then I guess that’s almost inbuilt into SLR as once it’s risen by, say, 10mm it represents ‘X’ devoted to infilling, which will presumably be the same for the next 100mm?

    • It’s very convenient…. 6 million per centimeter.

      Why don’t we just take a centimeter of sea water, distill it and put it on the land where it would do some good.

      Problem solved.

  5. “Professor Shepherd said: “As a rule of thumb, for every centimetre rise in global sea level another six million people are exposed to coastal flooding around the planet.””

    That’s if they not all climate scientists by then, jetting off to somewhere that can build sea walls faster than lichen grows. Anyhow, if we buy them all some platform shoes such as folks wore in the 1970’s then that should keep them dry for several decades longer.

    I long since stopped taking care what these people claim, much less believe their competence and integrity to say anything other “It’s worse than we thought, we expect it to get worserer, and we will still claim to be shocked and awed by the worseness of it all. More money please”.

  6. The part I loved was this:

    “As a rule of thumb, for every centimetre rise in global sea level another six million people are exposed to coastal flooding around the planet.”

    Now, over the last century the sea level rose by about 80 20 centimetres … which means by their claim that 80 20 * 6,000,000 = half a billion 120 million people exposed to coastal flooding … riiiiight …

    Hard pass.

    w. [Edited to correct math mistake noted below, which doesn’t affect my point]

    • Oh, we’re all ‘exposed’ to flooding – whatever that means. I’m ‘exposed’ to more strange tropical diseases every time someone builds a new plane, boat or bridge. …

    • Willis Eschenbach

      I’m probably missing something really obvious here but, if SLR has risen 10.6mm since 1992, doesn’t that represent ~0.4mm per year. In which case over the coming 80 years, doesn’t that means SLR would be ~31.2mm?

      Or are we expected to believe that Greenland projected ice melt would ‘accelerate’ in an entirely predictable manner, where acceleration to me suggests a predictable annual increase in the amount of ice melt over the previous year?

      It also occurs to me that there is considerable debate over the reliability of millimetric measurements from satellites from the 1970’s when they were first launched with degrading orbits, changes in technology, data homogenisation, etc. since then.

      Reading the paper would do me no good whatsoever as I’m too dim to understand it.

    • The answer to that puzzle is easy Willis, the half a billion souls can’t be seen, because they are ….under water! So easy to miss the obvious. 🙂

  7. “The assessment, led by Professor Andrew Shepherd at the University of Leeds and Dr Erik Ivins at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, was supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).”

    Why would anyone sensible at ESA or NASA waste resources on these so-called studies. We all know what they are going to say before they even start.

    The money would be better spent on something of a more serious and potentially immediate threat such as countering the anti-satellite technology being developed by China. Or maybe just ways of cleaning up the hazardous orbiting space junk being left up there in increasing amounts. Anything to get these people actually doing something useful instead of forever just forecasting the end of the world.

    • You’re right, they do know what they will conclude before they start. But studies like this are intended for release during the annual climate summits. That’s the entire reason they are created.

      The Madrid summit is not over yet, so expect more to come over the next few days. Should be worth a laugh.

  8. “he Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) Team combined 26 separate surveys to compute changes in the mass of Greenland’s ice sheet between 1992 and 2018. Altogether, data from 11 different satellite missions were used”

    26 separate surveys, most taken via different methods and equipment.
    11 different satellite missions; different equipment, different scanning technology.
    Cherry picked selections.

    “The team also used regional climate models to show that half of the ice losses were due to surface melting as air temperatures have risen. The other half has been due to increased glacier flow, triggered by rising ocean temperatures.”

    Models that are recognized as inferior and tend towards excessive warming were used?
    I thought that most of Greenland’s surface temperatures have been at altitude and well below freezing? leaving only a few coastal areas affected by warm surface temperatures.

    They attribute half of the melting to rising ocean temperatures?
    Is this modeled foolishness or perhaps more likely personal beliefs and assumptions?
    Or perhaps that excuse works so well in Antarctica, they brought it North to Greenland?
    Except they failed to identify the actual mechanisms.

    Sounds like another fantasy fear fest meant to frighten people into capitulating to Gutierrez’s unelected socialist government demands and Gutierrez’s demands for billions of dollars.

    • Notice that only ablation is reported – and not accretion? This is the macro-cherry pick here. How much snow/firn/ice has accumulated on the glaciers during the same time period? Wonder if those calculations would lead to a mass balance, eh? Water in =/> water out, maybe? Could it be that much more ice accumulation has depressed and flattened the ice cap – and the satellite altimetrics have interpreted it as ice loss?

      Inquiring minds need to know the full story!

      Regards,

      MCR

  9. 3,800 Gt over 27 years = 140.7 Gt/y.
    Greenland total ice/snow mass = 2.6E6 Gt
    3,800 Gt = 0.15% of total

    https://gracefo.jpl.nasa.gov/resources/33/greenland-ice-loss-2002-2016/
    “Research based on observations from the NASA/German Aerospace Center’s twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites indicates that between 2002 and 2016, Greenland shed approximately 280 gigatons (aka billions) of ice per year, causing global sea level to rise by 0.03 inches (0.8 millimeters) per year”

    0.8 mm/y out of the current SLR of 3.0 mm/y or 11.8” PER CENTURY!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet
    “Analysis of gravity data from GRACE satellites indicates that the Greenland ice sheet lost approximately 2,900 Gt (0.1% of its total mass) between March 2002 and September 2012. The mean mass loss rate for 2008–2012 was 367 Gt/year.”

    In the TEN TEARS between 2002 and 2012 Greenland lost 2,900 Gt which represented –
    (0.1% of its total mass) (Yep, read the fine print.)
    YES – AN ASTONISHING, NAY STAGGERING EVEN, ZERO POINT 1 PERCENT OF ITS TOTAL MASS!!!!!!!!

    Are you effing kidding me? The uncertainty must be 10 times that much.
    Who measures this crap and thinks the numbers have substance???
    Probably those barely 20 millennials with their participation/entitlement PhDs.
    Every year Greenland “loses” 500 Gt during the summer and gains it all back in the winter. (DMI)

    • Nicholas, you are so right.

      you reminded me of one lecture I had whilst studying engineering in the 1960’s, it was a guest lecture by the one and only Jacob Bronowski. As a measure of the man one of his more famous quotes was:

      “It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.”

      The three hour lecture/lab that he gave that day was standing room only and the purpose was to teach future engineers how to use common sense and what he called “ball court estimation” to check calculations and experimental results. Those were the days when digital computers were room filling devices and we were also still using thermionic device based analog computational machines.

      Over the years as an engineer I built more than my fair share of computer models of physical and chemical processes and always looked at the results through the prism that Bronowski handed me that day, seems like yesterday.

      I am constantly gobsmacked by what can only be viewed as “stupidity” by those supposedly educated individuals who worship at the altar of computer models without comparison to a realistic frame of reference and then further compound the visibility of their stupidity by publishing.

  10. Much of Greenland’s annual mass loss occurs through calving of icebergs such as this.

    As I see it, glaciers calving is a result of glaciers advancing, not glaciers melting. And it is well known that there is a net accumulation at higher altitudes on the ice sheet. Yet who am I to argue with “96 polar scientists”? It’s just that they, scientists, have obfuscated and lied to us before so I just do not trust them.

    • Robert, was the ’96 scientists’ number quoted because we couldn’t possibly refute such a large number of scientists?

      Do you actually need such a large number of scientists to come up with an answer that no one can refute?

      And do we know that these 96 individuals were all in fact scientists?

      Oh yes, and was the scientific method applied?

      I forgot about the 50 organisations! Seriously?

    • That’s a good point, why should all ice melt count as a loss?

      I bet you’ll never get an answer to that.

    • Very good point Robert.

      Much of the land that was covered of thick ice is rising due to reduction since the beginning of the current inter-glacial period.

      Greenland has been loosing 0.4% of it’s ice mass during the last 100 years. As this process goes on, it would be logic to me that the bedrock under the ice is rising. As the bedrock is rising, the calving is bound to be faster, than without the bedrock rising.

      So, without knowing the rate of change of the bedrock rising, it seems to me to be very difficult to draw any sensible conclusions. Maybe the bedrock is rising periodically over time, just like tectonic plates do not necessarily move at a fixed rate over time.

      Does the current sudden change in direction and speed of the magnetic deviation at the North Pole has any influence on the polar region’s weather and geology?

  11. “…since 1992 – enough to push global sea levels up by 10.6 millimetres. ”

    So, if you’re at the beach right now… RUN!!!

    • It so happens that I’m at the beach in Florida for the Winter, Steve O.

      I’m wearing shorts, so I think I’ll be OK.

      Now, women avert their gaze and cover their children’s eyes at the sight of my hairy, scrawny legs so I think my fellow snowbirds are in more danger of getting a glimpse of me in shorts and something horrible happening to their eyesight than any danger presented by sea level rise.

      Next year, we all plan to move our beach chairs a foot farther back from the ocean and there is a petition going ’round to prohibit me from wearing shorts.

      I think any emergencies, climate or otherwise, have been recognized and are being addressed on this stretch of the Florida coastline.

  12. This is really getting ridiculous! Coincident (or nearly so) of these “climate confabs” brings forth these silly, shallow alarmist “droppings. They’ve lost all credibility!

  13. Notice the timing of this report.
    Is there any other scary claims/conferences in progress at present.
    No cause not, silly me.

  14. Mark Twain had something to say about extrapolation.

    In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact

  15. Given that 2/3 of our planet is covered by the oceans and subject to tidal flows and other chaotic influences, and is in constant motion and turmoil, how on earth do they determine any accurate rise in sea levels anywhere?

  16. Greenland may be losing ice at a greater rate than in the 1990s because it was a bit colder back then:
    https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/arctic-temp.jpg?w=700
    The Greenland surface temperature is affected by two existing climate patterns ‘two existing climate patterns: the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO)’:
    https://i1.wp.com/www.climate4you.com/images/AMO%20GlobalAnnualIndexSince1856%20With11yearRunningAverage.gif
    That’s not to imply there is no GHG component in the observed surface warming.

  17. They really should be concerned about one or perhaps several incoming mountain size asteroids hitting the ocean (s) at once. Then they’ll be able to measure ocean height changes in kilometers!

  18. I always worry about rising sea level. I live in Colorado at 6,670 feet above sea level. Hope our house doesn’t get washed away.

    • You poor soul Littlepeaks. Living so high you can’t boil water at high enough temperature to get a decent cup of coffee. This predicted sea level rise should benefit your tastebuds mightily.

  19. We’re talking about 2,000 elephants charging into the ocean every second. That’s how much mass is going from Greenland into the ocean.
    — Erich Osterberg, climatologist, Dartmouth College

    No longer do these attention-getting claims need scientific substantiation or data. Nor examination of the tools used to harvest that data, nor how those tools are callibrated. Nor do such studies admit any room for error. Throw them in the hopper and out comes the quik-mix for another batch of climate paranoia.

    Happy holidays.

  20. Anything remotely connected to climate change is always happening faster than expected. I would suspect that if we added up all the reports of events happening faster than expected, every doomsday scenario ever proffered would already have been surpassed ten times over.

  21. “Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than in the 1990s and is tracking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s high-end climate warming scenario.”

    This statement, taken at face value, tells you that climate scientists don’t know what is going on with either the climate, or the Greenland ice sheet. We’re not experiencing the IPCC’s high end warming scenario. If the Greenland ice sheet is behaving in a way that the IPCC thought would happen under a much, much greater rate of warming, then observations do not match theory, and the only conclusion is that the future state of the Greenland ice sheet cannot be reliably predicted because, to date, it has not been reliably predicted.

  22. Why are those numbers from the Nature article not put in perspective, not even here by WUWT? Mean ice loss in the recent decades is about 0.02 percent of the total amount. And the additional sea level rise in case meltng continues at this rate till the end of the century is only a few centimeters.

    • KJG, thank you for posting this. I also recently captured these graphs. I note that the current ice accumulation data (blue line for the 2019-2020 period, which started 9-1-2019) has recently been above the mean for the 1981-2010 period. This means to me that the current capability of the Greenland ice sheet to accumulate mass is undiminished by the increase in greenhouse gases since earlier decades. If carbon dioxide emissions had a discernible impact on the rates, wouldn’t the accumulation trend be pushed toward the low end of the range? Let’s just see what happens. Sea level rise is not new, and not scary.

  23. Can’t wait for Tony Heller to get his analysis into the voracity of this latest, shrinking Greenland Ice mass story.
    I wonder if the authors are aware of the cyclical nature of our climate?
    The news reports from early last century may be useful and helpful in establishing the reality of climate variability. They show, what we are so concerned about, sorry that should read, what the alarmists are so concerned about, is nothing new.

    • I have become a daily reader of Tony Heller’s blog ( search “realclimatescience.com” ). He uses historical reports and raw data to very effectively dismantle the alarmist narrative. I highly recommend his blog to readers here at WUWT.

  24. Guest post: How the Greenland ice sheet fared in 2019 Ruth Mottram et al

    “In the past, estimates based on rainfall gauges and temperature observations – usually from weather stations near but not actually on the ice sheet – were made and then extrapolated over a wider area. These days we use a physical approach known as a “surface energy budget method”. This involves adding up all the incoming and outgoing energy for the ice sheet surface – with the difference between them giving an estimate of how warm the surface is. ”
    “And using new satellite data, we show that – once all ice sheet processes are factored in for the past year – the Greenland ice sheet saw a net decline of 329bn tonnes in ice.”

    Amazingly clever how in the past they actually recorded physical data and made estimates but now they do not bother, just tap in the temperature for the day and that gives you the amount of ice gained or lost. No regard for how much snow actually fell in the year. That is unimportant.

    Then there is this little beauty of conjecture passed as fact.
    “However, 2018-19 was another year – and only the seventh occasion in a record going back 2,000 years – where surface melt was recorded at the summit. It really is very unusual to see melting at the summit.”
    Seven times in 40 years does not seem that unusual, after all there was nobody on the summit to use their eyeballs for the previous 1960 years? Or did they mean some sort of proxy assessment, in which case it could have been conjectured but not recorded.

    Finally
    “Data from the GRACE satellites indicate that Greenland lost an average of approximately 260bn tonnes of ice per year between 2002 and 2016, with a peak of 458bn in 2012. Clearly, the loss of 329bn tonnes we estimate this year is significantly above the 260bn tonne long-term average, but we have not broken the highest record for ice loss in a year.”
    Makes it sound like they were using GRACE satellites to help with their measurements, doesn’t it. No mention that GRACE has been out of action for several years and that there is no way to corroborate the new estimates.

  25. Greenland’s ice is melting – AGAIN??? Gee, and I thought that was normal summer behavior for glaciers.

    Well, that might explain why the jet stream decided to pay a visit to my kingdom and dump a walloping bowl full of cold Arctic air on us heathens a little early. We get January weather in December, which nobody wants. The only time I get any kind of globull warming is when the sun is shining through my big bay window, which faces south, and the sun heats up my living room, which means the thermostat says it’s 2 degrees warmer than the setting for the furnace and my solar heating reduces my gas bill by a few therms.

    If this were a normal winter, sunlight wouldn’t be quite so intense, would it? Or would it? Hmmmm… now, there’s a good question to ponder.

    Just a note: a few years ago, people who live on the island/subcontinent of Greenland were semi-pleased to find that melting ice allowed for rebound of land that had been buried for centuries, including some small islands that seemed “lost” to the world. Part of the natural cycle, isn’t it?

    So what was the problem again? Oh, that’s right: the “science guys” have to have money so they write up something with a lot of scare-mongering and send out a begging letter for cash. Business as usual. Which brings up that rather funny scene from ‘Day After Tomorrow’, the “instant ice age’ movie: We have biscuits enough for three weeks. We’ll be fine.

    Nothing new to see here. Just another attempt to scare people using propaganda. Moving on.

  26. I look at the DMI pages two or three times per week. Have done for a number of years. All but one weather stations are coastal, or nearly so. The sole interior station has this data for yesterday

    EGP 2019-12-11 00:00:00.0

    Temperature (°C): -54.73

    Windspeed (m/s): 4.69

    Incoming Sunshine (W/m²): -0.5

    I often wondered about the “Incoming Sunshine” numbers how does – 0.5W/m^2 affect ice against air temperatures.

  27. Again, “faster than expected” = dangerously flawed theory. Another admission the theory is wrong, wrong, wrong.

  28. If this keeps up then Greenland can be returned to it proper condition of a green and productive land. And what would be wrong with that?

  29. Pure, unadulterated Alarmoscience™. These “scientists” should be ashamed for producing such garbage, tailor-made to alarm, cherry-picking numbers that “sound” alarming, and counting on people who are innumerate to take them at face-value. They then extrapolate their cherry-picked numbers out to 2050, or better yet, 2100 for maximum alarmist effect. It’s always “worse than we thought”, and it’s always mans fault, a double-lie.

  30. I am having a problem with the science here:

    3800 gigaton is 0.125% of the icesheet’s total mass of 3 million gigaton. That is within uncertainty of total mass measurements.

    DMI has participated in the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) Team and concludes that the inland Ice Sheet “is melting faster than expected”

    https://www.dmi.dk/?id=1187

    Yet same ice sheet is getting thicker for most of its surface:

    http://polarportal.dk/en/greenland/mass-and-height-change/

    Last ice sheet report describes 6 years of stable conditions:

    http://polarportal.dk/en/news/2018-season-report/
    “Glaciers have continued the development seen during the last six years in which they have more or less maintained their area”

    Whilst the 2018 report itself:

    http://polarportal.dk/fileadmin/user_upload/polarportal-saesonrapport-2018-EN.pdf

    The melting season began on 31 May 2018. This is five days later than the median date,

    The onset of ablation was on 25 June this year. This is relatively late, 13 days after the median, and the ninth latest date since 1981.

    The modelled surface mass balance (SMB) for the 2017-2018 season (September 2017 to August 2018) returned a value of 517 Gt.

    Page 4….
    2018, a gain of 517 gigaton, 2017 a gain of 544 gigaton, average 1981-2010 a gain of 368 gigaton, hottest summer on record 2012 a gain of 38 gigaton.

    Page 6 top, average 2003-2011 was negative 234 gigaton as compared to average 1981-2010 which was positive 368 gigaton.

    This way of handling data is at best confusing.

    /

    Someone is lying here?

    Oddgeir

  31. The alarmists do like to hide the real situation in a mass of scary sounding numbers. I’ll try and simplify the situation.

    On NOAAs website they have this feature article

    https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-sea-level

    They highlight this statistic in the text

    “The pace of global sea level rise more than doubled from 1.4 mm per year throughout most of the twentieth century to 3.6 mm per year from 2006–2015.”

    Scary eh?

    Well, elsewhere in the NOAA site you can find the individual US coastal sea level gauge data. This one shows sea level for the oft quoted ‘The Battery’ on the southern tip of Manhatten Island, the longest record.

    https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?id=8518750

    A steady mean trend of 2.85mm/annum, I’ll come back to this later. It’s handy that the analogue catch-all of warming is rising sea level, no need to know anything about anything except water finds its own level. No UHI effect, no homogenisation, quite difficult to cook the books, but I’ll come back to this too.

    Now, with knowledge of the average air temperature over this period, I can persuade myself I can just about see this reflected in the gauge trends, but the relatively massive rise in CO2 over the same period? It’s invisible. As indeed it is on all the other gauge records I looked at. That tells me that the effect of increased CO2 is insignificant.

    Furthermore, the land in NYC is sinking, the rate of which has been evaluated at 1.44mm/annum, see

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016EF000363

    This makes the net sea level rise to be 1.41mm/annum, almost exactly what was highlighted in the NOAA feature I started out with. Except there’s no acceleration.. The clever people say the acceleration is due to satellite detection of the additional thermal expansion of deeper water that isn’t adjacent to a coastline. Satellite measurement came in during 1992, it’s not AGW, it’s high tech obfuscation.

    Question – what possible interest is water expansion in mid ocean to anyone (sane) or anything?

    • Exactly the same interest as the ozone “hole”, er, thinner region with thicker edges, over Antarctica – as best I can tell. Good writeup Richard!

  32. Nope,

    https://www.iceagenow.info/greenland-ice-sheet-surface-mass-budget-far-far-higher-than-average/

    That shows it was increasing 2016-17 and 2017-18

    http://polarportal.dk/fileadmin/polarportal/surface/SMB_curves_LA_EN_20191211.png

    Shows there was some loss last year, wiping out the gains in the previous two, but this year we are bang on average.

    It looks like, “wait for a sunny day, take photos of ice melting, send out panic reports to media, get publicity”

  33. How much less ice loss do you get from virtue signalling and jet setting to spread the alarm? I’m sure it’s calibrated.

  34. You couldn’t miss the recent headlines about the 2019 Greenland ice melt but just in case here is a selection.

    The Guardian
    Greenland’s ice sheet melting seven times faster than in 1990s
    BBC
    Climate change: Greenland’s ice faces melting ‘death
    National Geographic
    Greenland’s melting ice may affect everyone’s future.
    NASA
    Greenland’s Rapid Melt Will Mean More Flooding
    Forbes
    Greenland’s Massive Ice Melt Wasn’t Supposed To Happen Until 2070
    Washington Post
    Greenland’s glaciers are losing ice faster and faster, according …
    Daily Telegraph
    Climate change melts 12.5bn tons of ice in Greenland

    BUT LOOK AT THIS.

    http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/

    The summer months were only moderately warmer than average relative to 1981 to 2010, roughly 1 to 2 degrees Celsius (2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit) higher along the western coast. This confirms that the main driver of surface melt in 2019 was above average cloud-free days, not warm air temperatures as in the 2012 summer melt. This also explains the exceptional dry and sunny conditions at the south.

  35. The Greenland ice sheet is dirty. That means it will melt even when the ambient temperatures are below freezing, as long as the sun’s rays hit it. And it is very telling that they don’t mention that fact.

  36. Professor Shepherd said: “As a rule of thumb, for every centimetre rise in global sea level another six million people are exposed to coastal flooding around the planet.”
    600million per meter. 7.7 billion people…
    13 meters of Ocean rise will completely wipe out humanity! Waterworld the movie is a prediction!
    How many miles is 13 meters? Has to be enough to drown people in the Mile High City of Denver Colorado, no?

  37. “It is very important to keep monitoring the big ice sheets to know how much they raise sea level every year.”
    Or, alternatively, for a lot less money, you could measure the sea level…

  38. Yawn…… Zzzzzzz……

    Greenland was a lot smaller during the Eemian interglacial time, yet Polar Bears, Humans and the planet itself still orbiting the sun……………..

  39. Assuming that the loss rate of 254 gigatons = 2.54(10^14) kg per year is accurate, at 900 kg/m3, the lost ice would have a volume of 2.82(10^11) m3. The estimated area of the Greenland ice sheet is 1.756(10^6) km2 = 1.756(10^12) m2. In order to lose 254 gigatons of ice, the average thickness would decrease by 2.82(10^11) / 1.756(10^12) = 0.16 meter.

    Do these scientists really think that measurements performed from a satellite orbiting 200 km or more above the earth can measure such a tiny change in elevation of the ice (less than one millionth of the orbital altitude of the satellite) to any precision? Is the actual altitude of the satellite known to that precision, or is its orbit slightly eccentric (non-circular) and could there be some precession of the apogee and perigee?

    There is some anecdotal evidence that the Greenland ice sheet is gaining ice. At the end of World War II in 1945, a squadron of planes was flying from Europe back to the United States, and planned to refuel in Iceland, but lost their way in a storm and made an emergency landing in southern Greenland. The pilots were rescued by another squadron in better weather, but the damaged planes were left behind.

    During the 1990’s, the elderly pilots flew back to Greenland to search for their ditched planes, but could not find them visually. Using remote sensing techniques, it was discovered that the planes were buried by ice 100 meters thick. So, at least in that part of Greenland, the ice was getting thicker at about 2 meters per year.

  40. Perhaps that the ice is vanishing faster than expected is not due to events being worse than expected, but due to expectations being incorrect. If they don’t properly know how to properly calculate what to expect, then they can’t expect it to continue to be worse nor better than whatever is happening now. Perhaps they don’t truly know.

  41. One graph is all it takes to falsify this garbage.

    AMO

    Well what d’ya know, since the late 1990’s the water near Greenland is warm! Oh and how weird that it got so cool so fast from 1960. Almost like it might be a cycle or something. Fancy that.

      • Seeing it happens around the 2000 solar minimum I’d hypothesize that the drop in solar activity since the grand maximum may be the driver. The 2010 minimum was especially low.

        In lower solar activity conditions you get a slowing of the Rossby waves, which get more sinuous. If the jet streams are sinuous you get more mixing between temperate and arctic zones. In the 2010 winter the UK was famously covered in snow entirely, resulting in some fine sat pics. That event was a jet stream blocking event.

        In winter in the north you don’t have much buffering from latent heat of melting, so swings will be larger.

  42. Gee, could it be we’re in an interglacial period when glaciers subside before the future re-glaciation that will cyclically return? No, let’s not upset a political agenda with science! Those 11,000 Mickey Mouse climate experts know that we’re all doomed, right?

  43. https://www.the-cryosphere.net/12/39/2018/tc-12-39-2018-supplement.pdf Temperature reconstruction for Greenland shows it was as warm there or little warmer than now from ~1888 to ~1940 peaking around 1930. Is there any trend data from tide gauges that correlates to temperature? I can’t find any …

    If the claim is that warmth from more CO2 will melt Greenland then shouldn’t it first be determined that warmth actually is the most significant driving factor for ice loss?

  44. Since Greenland had a lot less 8ce when there was agriculture, and the rest of the world was ok, this study is yet another fear mongering bit of fluff designed to scare people and shut down thoughtful consideration of the facts.
    Since Greenland, based on more recent concerns about melting has always recovered, there is no reason to think of this study as anything but another bit of deceptive fear mongering.
    Since the amount of 8ce melting is so trivial compared to the mass of Greenland and the length 9f time covered by this dubioys study is so short, there 8s every indication the study is just another reason for thinking people to conclude that what poses as climate science is really a marketing campaign by extremists who reject science and history.

  45. See
    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2019/12/13/greenland-ice-melt-accelerating-says-jonathan-amos-conveniently-forgetting-what-he-wrote-in-2003/#more-42628

    Greenland Ice Melt Accelerating, Says Jonathan Amos (Conveniently Forgetting What He Wrote In 2003!)
    Greenland cools as world warms
    By Jonathan Amos
    BBC News Online science staff
    Greenland is significantly cooler now than it was 40 years ago.
    So, temperatures fell by 1.29C between 1958 and 2001, and have recovered by 0.75C in the past decade. Does not sound like apocalypse to me! Neither will this come as any surprise to regular readers of this blog, who are fully aware that temperatures in Greenland are no higher now than in the 1930s and 40s.

  46. Stepping back I am looking at the tide gauge information released by NOAA. The prediction I am hearing is 10feet of rise in sea level by 2100. Ok we are at 1.9mm/yr where is the acceleration? NOAA doesn’t buy it either.

    Objective reading of the simple graphs show that this “unexpected”melting hasn’t accelerated the predicted and failed rapid sea level rise predicated upon the unexpectedly expected rapid ineffective melting. Yes it is simple…

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