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Greenland Temperatures In 2017

July 1, 2018

By Paul Homewood

As we all know, Greenland is warming up rapidly, causing the ice sheet to melt faster and faster.



Well, according to the BBC and New York Times, at least.

Only one slight problem – the temperature record shows quite a different story.

Each year, the DMI publishes the Greenland – DMI Historical Climate Data Collection:




Greenland has a number of very long running weather stations covering most of the country’s coastal regions, except for the far north. The report provides temperature graphs for each:













On both east and west coasts, it is abundantly clear that temperatures were just as high in the 1930s and 40s as they have been in the last decade or so, with the exception of the anomalously mild year in 2010.

And the reason is simple – the AMO:




There is certainly no evidence of rising temperature trends, and every likelihood that temperatures will plummet again when the AMO turns cold again.


Meanwhile for the second year running, the Greenland ice sheet has been increasing at close to record levels:



Not that you will any of this on the BBC!




NB, DMI have this handy explanation of how the ice sheet gains and loses mass:


Ice flow

Due to gravity, ice flows slowly outwards like dough on a kitchen counter. When snow falls on top of the ice sheet year after year, the layers below are slowly compressed into ice. In the central part of the ice sheet, where little if any melt occurs, new layers will therefore continually be added. The ice does not grow in height, however, since the extra ice is balanced by the flow away from the center. Further out towards the coast we find the equilibrium line, where snowfall and melt are exactly balanced. Below the equilibrium line, there is more melt than snowfall and here the net mass loss is countered by the flow coming out from the center of the ice sheet. Here it is the ice sheet itself which melts.

For an ice sheet that neither grows or shrinks, there is at all points averaged over the year a balance between

  • the amount of snow that falls and is compressed to ice
  • the amount of snow and ice that melts or evaporates (sublimates) and
  • the amount of ice that flows away due to the ice motion

The two first contributions make up the surface mass balance. For the ice sheet as a whole, there is a balance between the surface mass balance and the amount of ice that calves into the ocean as icebergs.

If climate changes, the surface mass balance may change such that it no longer matches the calving and the ice sheet can start to gain or lose mass. This is important to keep track of, since such a mass loss will lead to global sea level rise. As mentioned, satellites measuring the ice sheet mass have observed a loss of around 200 Gt/year over the last decade.


  1. July 1, 2018 7:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  2. July 1, 2018 7:37 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    THE pesky 1930’s pops up again (hidden in plain sight from the correction-pen of Gavin and NASA-GISS!)

    HOW inconvenient that Greenland temps in the 1930’s were as ‘warm’ as today, before CO2 became an issue.

    (Small typo “Not that you will [read/see] any of this on the BBC!)

  3. July 1, 2018 9:49 pm

    Well, according to the BBC and New York Times, at least.

    The homes of climate fake news.

  4. Tom Dowter permalink
    July 1, 2018 10:02 pm

    When data is sparse and noisy, it is usually possible to “torture” it so as to make it “confess” to any story that you might want it to tell.

    Back in April of this year, (the 20th), Paul drew our attention to a study claiming to show that Greenland was no warmer in 2017 than it was in 1880. This is a bit difficult to sustain.

    There are 15 stations in Greenland to be found in the GHCN database. Unfortunately none of them have complete records for both 1880 and 2017.This makes it a bit difficult to determine what has happened to Greenland temperatures.

    Fortunately however, it is possible to link stations with data for 1880 with those with data for 2017 by using “pivot” years where both have data. In every single case, the pivot years are warmer than 1880 and cooler than 2017. This is true whether one uses the adjusted or unadjusted data.

    The no warming in Greenland story looks a bit dodgy.

    • dennisambler permalink
      July 2, 2018 8:12 am

      Greenland warming would seem a bit incompatible with the increasing ice shown by DMI.

      Excess melting would appear a little dodgy:

      • richard verney permalink
        July 2, 2018 2:19 pm


        From which it would appear that there is nothing particularly unusal about Greenland tempeatures.

        Indeed, if one reviews the NOAA data, they set out both the unadjusted and the adjusted data. The unadjusted data shows the late 1930s/early 1940s warmer than today!

        Ditto, if you review their data for Iceland.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      July 2, 2018 8:26 am

      What a load of nonsense. Make up a methodology then claim it proves something? What are you using to show your pivot years method produces a better result?

      Look at the data provided. Where is the error in that, rather than raising a spurious load of claims.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        July 2, 2018 9:44 am

        I would add that it is expected to be getting “warmer” as we exit the LIA, CO2 has nothing to do with it though.

  5. July 2, 2018 1:21 am

    Well. Inuits in parts of Greenland used to catch fish close to shore. Then came several colder years. They left the villages. Then after years of cold, warmer climate came back. They returned. And so on, for centuries.
    Then came the colonization…followed by todays hysteria.

  6. dave permalink
    July 2, 2018 7:27 am

    “…no warming in Greenland…”

    The merged chart does show, to my eyes, a change; but one that occurred, suddenly, in the 1920s,. Most years before then are “blue” and most after are “red.” A change datable to a hundred years ago, can have nothing to do with present-day carbon dioxide levels. As Paul mentions, the change may have been caused by a shift in the dominant regime of the AMO.

    Meanwhile, it is snowing in Greenland:

    The explanation for this, of course, is the same as for the lovely weather in England. The jet-stream has developed a northerly meander.

    If this be global warming*, play on!

    * It isn’t.

  7. July 2, 2018 11:24 am

    Now that ships are trapped in Antarctic ice, time for Chicken Little to distract by ramping up the “Greenland is melting” meme.

  8. paul weldon permalink
    July 2, 2018 12:38 pm

    Paul, the graph you show of the surface mass balance of Greenland is only part of the equation that determines the overall loss/gain of the Greenland ice sheet. The missing part is the amount of ice that ”calves” to the ocean. At least that is how I understood the DMI explanation. If I have this correct it means that for the last 2 years the ice sheet as a whole has not gained in mass. Perhaps you could look at this again and re-assess if necessary?

    • July 2, 2018 1:42 pm

      Yes, but DMI don’t actually tell us how much is calved, so we don’t know if it has grown or not.

      What we do know is that, excl calving, the last two years have been well above the 1981-2010 mean

      • dave permalink
        July 2, 2018 4:24 pm

        It is KIND OF ASSUMED that the modern, “normal,” rate-of-calving is a loss of 600 gigatons annually, and, with a build-up each year on the surface of 400 gigatons, the overall putative effect on the ice-sheet is a net loss of 200 gigatons, i.e. 200 cubic kilometers.

        200 cubic kilometers is still, almost literally, “a drop in the ocean,” as the world ocean contains something like 1.4 BILLION cubic kilometers.

        In any case, the above graph (which uses the counting of icebergs sailing south) shows, apart from a lot of variability, a marked reduction in calving in this century.

        Certainly, as usual – hey-ho – there is NO sign of run-away, or doomsday, conditions.

      • dave permalink
        July 2, 2018 4:28 pm

        My link goes to the whole paper. It is Figure 2 which I think is interesting and which I am referencing.

      • paul weldon permalink
        July 3, 2018 6:54 am

        Paul, thanks for the clarification. It is going to be interesting to see how the Greenland ice sheet develops over the next decade or so. The relationship to the NAO is also extremely interesting. Also of interest is the similarity between annual temperatures of the last hundred years or so for CET, Greenland and here on the Baltic coast. It would appear that variation in temperature was at least regional.

      • paul weldon permalink
        July 3, 2018 7:04 am

        Dave, thanks for posting an interesting paper. I note your comment about the values for this century. I also not e the paper’s assessment that the last few decades have seen increasing numbers of icebergs. My version is that there is little difference, the main feature being the large increase in the 1990s. My main point from the paper would be that the causes of calving are many and varied, and originate from different areas of Greenland, possibly affected by the amount of sea ice remaining into the summer months. Open to interpretation?

  9. Reno Jensen permalink
    July 2, 2018 5:13 pm

    It is wonderful that we had 3 wonderful cold winters but keep in mind that Greenland is huge, in south 6 years ago there had been a winter with no or little snow while in the north the ocean froze because it snowed so much. Also the inland ice in the south is covered with so many particles of sand that it could be melting faster in the future.

    • dave permalink
      July 3, 2018 7:58 am

      It is always well below freezing in nine-tenths of Greenland – even right now.

      “The melt” occurs because of the sun being overhead for twenty hours a day. Most of the liquid in the pools of water refreezes, in the same place, two months later. Late snow, such as is occurring now, slows the melt.

  10. dave permalink
    July 3, 2018 7:43 am

    Thank you Paul.

    There is, of course a suggestion, that an influx of fresh water into that area, of as little as one Sverdrup during the summer months, could affect “the ocean conveyor belt.” We will know if that is happening, by virtue of calving, by the number of ice-bergs emerging. My rough calculation is that such a situation would need to be evidenced by one hundred thousand ice-bergs sailing past in a season. The number for the latest season shown on Figure 2 was one thousand.

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