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The Great Greenland Meltdown Con

February 25, 2017

By Paul Homewood




Another day, another ludicrous Greenland meltdown scare story:


From “Science”:


From a helicopter clattering over Greenland’s interior on a bright July day, the ice sheet below tells a tale of disintegration. Long, roughly parallel cracks score the surface, formed by water and pressure; impossibly blue lakes of meltwater fill depressions; and veiny networks of azure streams meander west, flowing to the edge of the ice sheet and eventually out to sea.

The scientists flying over the world’s largest thawing chunk of ice have selected a particularly auspicious summer to be studying the melt. The edges of Greenland’s 1.7-million-km2 ice sheet regularly melt in summer, even in years when the ice sheet as a whole grows because of snowfall in its higher, colder center. But in 2016, the melting started early and spread inland fast. By April, 12% of the ice sheet’s surface was melting; in an average year the melt doesn’t reach 10% until June. And just before the scientists’ journey, a violent river of meltwater, one of hundreds coursing out from the ice sheet, swept away a sensor, bolted to a bridge to measure the water’s turbidity. It was the second time in 4 years such a device had fallen victim to the liquid fury of the glaciers. "I’ve been doing these trips for years, but I’ve never seen so much water," the helicopter pilot told the researchers.

In Greenland, the great melt is on. The decline of Greenland’s ice sheet is a familiar story, but until recently, massive calving glaciers that carry ice from the interior and crumble into the sea got most of the attention. Between 2000 and 2008, such "dynamic" changes accounted for about as much mass loss as surface melting and shifts in snowfall. But the balance tipped dramatically between 2011 and 2014, when satellite data and modeling suggested that 70% of the annual 269 billion tons of snow and ice shed by Greenland was lost through surface melt, not calving. The accelerating surface melt has doubled Greenland’s contribution to global sea level rise since 1992–2011, to 0.74 mm per year. "Nobody expected the ice sheet to lose so much mass so quickly," says geophysicist Isabella Velicogna of the University of California, Irvine. "Things are happening a lot faster than we expected."


They begin with the early melt last April, but forgot to say that was due to a warm and wet weather front from the Atlantic. NSIDC explained that similar events have happened in the past, and after a few days the melt had stopped.

Maps of melting and graph of melting extent


Over the year as a whole, the accumulated surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet was close to the long term average. This year, of course, it is running well above average.



Top: The total daily contribution to the surface mass balance from the entire ice sheet (blue line, Gt/day). Bottom: 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 1990-2013 is shown (dark grey). The same calendar day in each of the 24 years (in the period 1990-2013) will have its own value. These differences from year to year are illustrated by the light grey band. For each calendar day, however, the lowest and highest values of the 24 years have been left out.


Meanwhile, temperatures last year in Nuuk, close to where the study took place, were the lowest since the 1993.

Apart from the anomalously mild year of 2010, temperatures since 2000 have been similar to the 1930s and 40s.




The DMI’s SW Greenland Series, most recently updated to 2013, shows that recent summer temperatures have also been similar to the 1930s.




Last summer, the mean temperature at Nuuk was 6.9C, which according to GISS is only the 28th warmest since 1900, and well below the summers of 1931 and 1948 which reached 8.0C. 


As the Science article points out, there has been some calving of glaciers, But this needs to be put into perspective.

We know from ice cores that the 19thC was the coldest period since the end of the ice age.

Other studies, such as this one from Kelly & Long, support this fact. They also say that the Greenland ice sheet and mountain glaciers reached their maximum extents since the early Holocene during the Little Ice Age.

It is little surprise then that glaciers have been gradually receding since then.


These Greenland scare stories usually have certain common denominators:


1) Helicopter photos of melt pools and running water.

2) A few years of satellite data of ice sheet mass loss.

3) A focus on a day or two of warm weather.


None of them put these into any sort of perspective, or explain that such events are perfectly common. Instead they pretend that this is all something new and deadly, simply because nobody has been around to spot it before.

They get away with it because the public are too gullible and the media too complicit.

  1. February 25, 2017 8:57 pm

    The last line of the article is:
    “Reporting for this story was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.”

    It’s just a normal day in the fake news department.

  2. bendssv permalink
    February 25, 2017 9:15 pm


    What else is new? Apparently, “Scientific” American also joined the global warming / climate change charade….

    Ben Dussan

  3. February 25, 2017 9:38 pm

    Deja vue. The warmunists have run out of scares. Greenland, Pine Island in WAIS, heated Arctic. Despite previous rebuttals, these still all get recycled. As if they don’t realize that not only do skeptics have memory, the internet never forgets.

    • nigel permalink
      February 25, 2017 10:27 pm

      The large snow-fall this winter makes it likely that the mass-loss due to melting in the coming summer will be less than usual.

  4. Broadlands permalink
    February 25, 2017 10:54 pm

    For some really old monthly temperatures (1779-1780) google ” “thermometer at Okak” click on the Philosophical Transaction, Royal Society page. 236 years ago…

  5. catweazle666 permalink
    February 25, 2017 11:24 pm

    For anyone who believes the Greenland icecap has been melting for decades, the story of Lockheed P-38 Lightning ‘Glacier Girl’ should prove instructive.

  6. February 25, 2017 11:41 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Excellent analysis of “Science” mags Greenland 🇬🇱 “Fake science” news by Paul Homewood.
    Another great example of the blatant misinformation/corruption/politisisation of climate “science”…

  7. Athelstan permalink
    February 26, 2017 12:02 am

    It is the usage of glacier/icesheet calving, ie chunks of ice dropping causing a spectacular splash into the sea, all Boys Buggering Club films especially those doctored by the attenborer ‘unnatural effects dept’ – love to show it – ‘calving glaciers’……..

    Back in the day, when I used to engage, had a tiff with, an online alarmunist troll who was ever so convinced that, calving was “evidence” of melting ice sheets – blah, shouty blah.

    To which, I replied having done some of this type of stuff; to analyse anything in the ‘norf’ and particularly where it tends to be a tad brass monkey land……………..and ice is a very slow “fing innit”, over a considerable period of time you need to do some serious measuring and research, photography/altimetry, surveying – all of it needs dedication and considerable patience and to wit – none of which is cheap.
    Further, that, it is very difficult to assume aught but that calving is usually evidence of a downwards movement from the source upper areas and most probably of snow accretion and thus is, nothing to do with melting although regelation – pressure, gravity is a key process in ice movement………………..

    And even after all that, it’s hard to tell what the ‘ell is going on.

    One final thing, the Greenland Ice cap ain’t going anywhere – very soon.

    • Broadlands permalink
      February 26, 2017 12:55 am

      It seems to me that the ice did go somewhere… when the Vikings were around. But, of course, they hadn’t added ~120 ppm of CO2.

      • Climate Otter permalink
        February 27, 2017 12:06 am


  8. February 26, 2017 1:38 am

    There’s a new understanding of the Vikings and their disappearance from Greenland. Climate change is a part, but not the whole story.

  9. Tom Dowter permalink
    February 26, 2017 2:36 am

    This looks like yet another attempt by the warmists to focus our attention on the Arctic.

    The Arctic is the one region which does not display that pesky slowdown in warming from around 1999/2000 which is shown by the rest of the world.

    Indeed, even if one bends over backwards to try to generate a “hiatus” for the Arctic by starting the trend in the pronounced El Nino year of 1998 and finishing in 2014, there is still an acceleration in warming when compared with the period 1979-1997.

    If we undertake the same exercise for the rest of the world, we find a pronounced slowdown.

    These conclusions are the same whichever of the five major temperature series that one uses.

    • February 26, 2017 7:58 am

      And that my friend is the right question.

    • nigel permalink
      February 26, 2017 9:07 am

      Whatever happened to the old wisdom:

      “one swallow does not make a summer”?

    • CheshireRed permalink
      February 26, 2017 11:51 am

      Correct, Tom.
      Why don’t they invest as much time discussing the ‘collapsing’ or ‘vanishing’ Antarctic? Oh, because it’s not collapsing or vanishing. So much for ‘global’ warming, then. Just a normal bout of propaganda from the climate liars.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 27, 2017 12:27 am

        To give them credit they do try with the ice shelf that is breaking away but since it is being warmed from underneath not above I guess that has kind of killed that one. Given that the two poles are asynchronous then it should be interesting to see the growth switch to the Arctic and retreat to the Antarctic.

  10. February 26, 2017 11:06 am

    “I’ve been doing these trips for years, but I’ve never seen so much water,” the helicopter pilot told the researchers.

    How many years?The last big El Niño – i.e. similar to the one we’ve just had – was in 1997-8.

  11. AndyG55 permalink
    February 26, 2017 11:39 am

    Here is a graph of the Greenland Total Ice Mass since 1900.

    If anyone thinks it is incorrect, all they have to do is prove it. 🙂

    • AndyG55 permalink
      February 26, 2017 11:41 am

      ps….. and provide a corrected version.

      • nigel permalink
        February 26, 2017 2:00 pm

        IA real warming of the Arctic would increase useable land by many millions of square kilometers – half of Canada, for a start.

  12. RAH permalink
    February 27, 2017 12:18 am

    In the end it doesn’t matter a bit what they claim. They have no leverage until there would be proof in rising sea levels that dramatically effect the lives of a significant number of people. And that ain’t happening because the melt they claim which has been happening ISN’T! They have to answer the question: If Greenland is losing ice faster than it has before then where is the corresponding increase in the rate of sea level rise?

  13. J. Perry permalink
    February 27, 2017 10:27 pm

    Hi, you always have an interesting perspective on here. I often come by for a different point of view. But, dude, there is a pretty unusual melt going on in Greenland. Just saw some geologists back from there and they say it’s pretty wack. Interesting geological features (and some archaeology stuff) melting out of the ice, though. Some stuff buried for 500 years popping out in some spots, I hear (and some old U.S. Army base that the military has apparently quietly visited recently). My geology friends don’t seem too freaked out, however, they say that Greenland’s been ice free a few times in the recent past (which for those guys means the last 2 million years or something), so I get the impression that those who understand the place see this as a cyclical thing. One said he thought the climate was having a “little bubble of instability swings” (he thinks Al Gore is a bonehead). Regardless, I thought I’d report that while the more hysterical folks out there might overplay it, the folks who live and work there do say that something widespread is actually happening.

  14. March 7, 2017 1:04 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.


  1. The Great Greenland Meltdown Con | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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