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Scientists: Greenland Is Now Much Colder With More Advanced Ice Sheets Than 90% Of The Last 7500 Years

December 16, 2016

By Paul Homewood




From NoTricksZone:

Fifteen international scientists recently collaborated to assemble one of the most comprehensive analyses of temperature and ice sheet changes for Greenland and the Canadian Arctic ever produced.  Briner et al., (2016) synthesized over 100 records from a large and accumulating database to publish “Holocene climate change in Arctic Canada and Greenland” in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

The results are not good news for those who wish to maintain that today’s Greenland Ice Sheet is losing ice area at an unprecedentedly accelerated rate, or that modern temperature values for the Arctic region are dangerously high.  Greenland’s Ice Sheet has a larger ice extent now than it has had for most of the last 7,500 years; only the Little Ice Age period (~1300-1900 A.D.) had more ice mass.   And both regions (Canadian Arctic and Greenland) are still 1 to 2°C colder now than they were just a few thousand years ago.


The Greenland Ice Sheet Is Now At Nearly Its Highest Extent In The Last 7,500 Years

In the climate alarmism world, the Greenland Ice Sheet has been cooperating with the ice-is-melting-faster-than-ever paradigm for decades.   For headline-creators who warn of “ominous” and “catastrophic” rates of change — and how humans are to blame for most of it —  the Greenland Ice Sheet has been losing mass at “unprecedented” rates since the 1990s.  For example:  The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing 110 million Olympic size swimming pools worth of water each year.  … ‘The Arctic Is Unraveling,’ Scientists Conclude After Latest Sobering Climate Report – Unprecedented warming has sent the Arctic into uncharted territory, says latest NOAA report … Alert! Greenland’s Ice Now Melting At Catastrophic Speed

But what does  “unprecedented” actually mean with regard to ice loss or temperature change in the Arctic?  Effectively, precedence only extends back to the beginning of the 20th Century in most cases.  Some may only extend precedence back to the 1961-1990 period, which is the baseline for nearly all surface mass balance estimates.   So ice is said to be melting faster than any time since 1900, or since 1961-1990.   But consider that in 1900, with centuries of solar minima and large-scale volcanic eruptions leading to plummeting Little Ice Age temperatures,  the Greenland Ice Sheet had accumulated more ice and expanded its margins more than at any time in the last 7,500 years.  And as the 15 scientists contributing to Briner et al. (2016) reveal in this encapsulating graph from the paper, the Greenland Ice Sheet’s surface area has only negligibly retreated from that high point (~1900).  Today’s ice sheet extent is still among the highest of the Holocene.



Briner et al., 2016     “The Greenland Ice Sheet retracted to its minimum extent between 5 and 3 ka [5,000 and 3,000 years ago], consistent with many sites from around Greenland depicting a switch from warm to cool conditions around that time.”


Taking a closer look at what this graph depicts, we first of all can clearly see that Greenland’s ice sheet reached its much-lower-than-now  minimum extent between 6,000 and 2,000 years ago, with the absolute lowest levels between 5,000 and 3,000 years ago.  This millennial-scale ice sheet recession took place at a time when an anthropogenic influence was non-existent, and when CO2 levels were safely in the range of 260 ppm – about 140 ppm lower than today’s levels (400 ppm).

And as mentioned above, it is also clearly discernible that the modern Greenland Ice Sheet extent has not only not fallen outside the range of natural variability, it barely even falls below the coldest centennial-scale periods of the last 10,000 years (the Little Ice Age).  Here is a much closer look (with annotations) at the last ~1,500 years of Greenland Ice Sheet area changes as shown in Briner et al. (2016):



Greenland and Canadian Arctic Temperatures Were 2°C Warmer Than Now For Most Of The Last 10,000 Years

Not only did Greenland’s ice sheet margins experience far greater retreat and higher melt rates during most of the last 7,500 years, but Greenland’s (and the Canadian Arctic’s) temperatures were also much warmer than today’s during the Holocene too.  Below are some of the summarizing comments from Briner et al. (2016) describing the temperature changes for this region.  Again, these much warmer temperatures occurred while CO2 levels were in the 260 ppm range.



Read the full report here.

  1. December 16, 2016 3:05 pm

    Antarctica is also probably gaining ice overall, but the BBC report yesterday from the current AGU meeting was only about melting of West Antarctic glaciers. NASA study of Antarctica:

    Simultaneously the liberal MSM are toy-throwing about lies and fake news.

  2. December 16, 2016 3:49 pm

    “The results are not good news for those who wish to maintain that today’s Greenland Ice Sheet is losing ice area at an unprecedentedly accelerated rate, or that modern temperature values for the Arctic region are dangerously high.”

    True, but never let the truth spoil a good story line.

  3. December 16, 2016 11:19 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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