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The Greenland Ice Sheet–The Facts v The Myths

November 6, 2019

By Paul Homewood


I came across the Statista website a while ago, as it had some useful graphics at the time, so I am now on their email address list. Each day they send a couple of random charts, with the hope I might subscribe!

They certainly seem a reliable outfit and offer a wide variety of stats, but today I received this from them:


For a company that prides itself in infographics, this disingenuous example is shocking.

The webpage it links to is little better:



The whole thing revolves around taking a handful of impressively big-sounding numbers out of context, then extrapolating them using dodgy assumptions.

The claim “enough water to cover Florida in five inches of water” is particularly fatuous, as it assumes that all of the extra water goes there!

I may not have a fancy art qualification to replicate their info chart, but here is what a proper Greenland factsheet should include:

1) Mass gains and losses of 12bn tonnes a day are not unusual. Over the year, the ice sheet grows by about 600bn tonnes in winter, and loses a similar amount in summer:


2) While billions of tonnes sounds like a lot of ice, the total Greenland ice cap contains roughly 2.6 million,  billion tonnes. To melt all of it at the current rate would take some 25000 years, by which time the next ice age would probably have started!


3) Sea levels have been steadily rising since the mid 19thC, at a rate of about 200mm per century. About 25mm of this has resulted from the melting of the Greenland icesheet.

According to official data from DMI, Greenland is currently contributing about 60mm of sea level rise per century. In other words an extra 35mm.


4) Temperatures in Greenland now are no higher than they were in the 1930s and 40s, a period when sea levels were rising just as fast as now. It is therefore likely that ice mass loss was as great then, although there were no satellites to monitor it.


5) For most of the last 10000 years, Greenland has been much warmer than present. The Little Ice Age, ending in the 19thC, was the coldest period since the end of the Ice Age.


In other words, forget the hype, and look at the facts instead!

  1. Pancho Plail permalink
    November 6, 2019 7:15 pm

    Hate to be a party pooper, but doesn’t graph 3 above show sea levels dropping over recent years?

  2. Dave Ward permalink
    November 6, 2019 7:29 pm

    As you’re on their email list I trust you have sent them a link to this page? It would be interesting to hear their reply.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    November 6, 2019 7:32 pm

    Were the Vikings consulted?

  4. historyscoper permalink
    November 6, 2019 7:41 pm

    The climate Communists at the U.N. IPCC are just trying to buy time so their massive propaganda machine can scare the public into pressuring the world’s governments to fall in line behind the 2015 Paris Climate Accord and give their wealth away for Marxist-style wealth distribution. Climate is just the sales pitch. Marxist social justice is the real purpose.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 7, 2019 8:13 pm

      …and do it all before the solar minimum kicks in in the next few years and spoils their argument.

  5. A C Osborn permalink
    November 6, 2019 7:42 pm

    Paul, they listed the losses for 2019, but not the gains in 2017/18, a typical warmist trick.
    If 2019 follows 2018 then there will be another mass gain.

    • November 6, 2019 9:42 pm

      It’s even worse than that Tony.

      They always used to show the previous year, until that became “inconvenient”.

      Then guess what? They have started doing it agin, because 2018/19 was below average!

  6. Dr Roger Higgs (geologist) permalink
    November 6, 2019 8:01 pm

    Geology, archaeology and astrophysics collectively allow confident prediction of an imminent metre-scale rise in sea level (about 3m by 2100), nothing to do with CO2, instead driven by the sun’s just-ended ‘Grand Maximum’ (1937-2004), unmatched since the AD 350 Grand Maximum, which caused the Romano-British Transgression, aka Dunkirk II Transgression (google them), driver of the hitherto enigmatic Anglo-Saxon migration to Britain, the beginning of the English nation. Antarctic melting, not Greenland, will be the main source. Please see this brief item, posted 3 days ago …

    • A C Osborn permalink
      November 7, 2019 10:21 am

      Sorry, I can’t see a 3M rise in sea level by 2100, the grand maximum is over and the Antarctic has not lost anywhere near enough ice to raise the sea levels that much.
      It is spring in Antarctica now and temperatures are still around -20C near the coast and -35C in land.

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 6, 2019 9:38 pm

    Isn’t it amazing that the 12 years to destruction deadline is 2030 more or less, it’s almost as if there were a UN Agenda to meet…… oh wait!

    Also amazing that the 2C limit suddenly became 1.5C, as it become more and more obvious that climate sensitivity is likely very low, and 2C (assuming unadulterated data!) would never have been reached – therefore no need to act.

    Anyway, back on topic, NTZ recently did a bit on Greenland, hard to get alarmed.

  8. November 6, 2019 10:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  9. November 7, 2019 2:53 am

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    SIFTING out the Climate Change hysteria from the Greenland ice-sheet in another informative, fact-piece via Paul Homewood…

  10. November 7, 2019 4:06 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  11. europeanonion permalink
    November 7, 2019 9:43 am

    There are some mighty rivers in the world dropping silt into the oceans and there is coastal erosion. How much does that add to sea level rise?

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      November 7, 2019 9:23 pm

      I don’t recall the figures but massive quantities of dust and sand are blown into the oceans

  12. oceaneng permalink
    November 7, 2019 12:17 pm

    Worth noting the strong correlation between Greenland temp and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (sea surface temp variation, cyclical over 60 to 70 yrs), which is also correlated to cyclical rate of sea level rise and Earth spin rate variation (LOD). As the warm phase of AMO ends, we should expect significant changes

  13. Tim Spence permalink
    November 7, 2019 12:56 pm

    A recent massive Greenland melt lasted 16 hours, I would wager that over 50% of all water droplets didn’t move more than a few centimetres before re-freezing, it probably didn’t allow water to form a stream never mind reach the sea.
    The extrapolation is comedy gold.

  14. swan101 permalink
    November 7, 2019 2:04 pm

    Reblogged this on ECO-ENERGY DATABASE.

  15. yonason permalink
    November 7, 2019 7:41 pm

    ”The claim “enough water to cover Florida in five inches of water” is particularly fatuous, as it assumes that all of the extra water goes there!”

    LOL – i’ve Done the calculation, and it agrees with older refs, that IF all Greenland ice melted (at current rate that would take at least thousands of years), it would raise sea level by 20-25 feet. Where I live in FL is over 50 ft above sea level.

    Also, central Greenland is a valley, and a lot of that fictional melt water would just remain in Greenland.

    It’s disgusting how they keep regurgitating the same outlandish lies.

  16. George Let permalink
    November 8, 2019 7:21 pm

    Sea levels rising – tell Obama who just bought a $15M house next to the sea.

  17. November 12, 2019 3:55 am

    I’ve also been a subscriber for some time and have found that in areas where I have particular knowledge, they are often terribly wrong. At what point I tried to contact them to point out an obvious error but didn’t find any way to provide feedback. I haven’t bothered since, but use their graphs to demonstrate either sloppy methodologies or hidden agenda.

  18. November 15, 2019 2:03 am

    Quite a few breathless Youtube videos on this topic. Here is a transcription of one of them. With unkind commentary.

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