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What Happened To Greenland’s Tipping Point?

June 22, 2020

By Paul Homewood


Ten years ago, the Guardian warned us that Greenland would have passed a tipping point by now, with the whole ice sheet due to disappear by the end of the century:


The entire ice mass of Greenland will disappear from the world map if temperatures rise by as little as 2C, with severe consequences for the rest of the world, a panel of scientists told Congress today.

Greenland shed its largest chunk of ice in nearly half a century last week, and faces an even grimmer future, according to Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University

"Sometime in the next decade we may pass that tipping point which would put us warmer than temperatures that Greenland can survive," Alley told a briefing in Congress, adding that a rise in the range of 2C to 7C would mean the obliteration of Greenland’s ice sheet.

The fall-out would be felt thousands of miles away from the Arctic, unleashing a global sea level rise of 23ft (7 metres), Alley warned. Low-lying cities such as New Orleans would vanish.

"What is going on in the Arctic now is the biggest and fastest thing that nature has ever done," he said.

Speaking by phone, Alley was addressing a briefing held by the House of Representatives committee on energy independence and global warming.

Greenland is losing ice mass at an increasing rate, dumping more icebergs into the ocean because of warming temperatures, he said.

The stark warning was underlined by the momentous break-up of one of Greenland’s largest glaciers last week, which set a 100 sq mile chunk of ice drifting into the North Strait between Greenland and Canada.

The briefing also noted that the last six months had set new temperature records.

Robert Bindschadler, a research scientist at the University of Maryland, told the briefing: "While we don’t believe it is possible to lose an ice sheet within a decade, we do believe it is possible to reach a tipping point in a few decades in which we would lose the ice sheet in a century."

The ice loss from the Petermann Glacier was the largest such event in nearly 50 years, although there have been regular and smaller "calvings".

How did that work out then?

The article was written in 2010, which was the warmest on record. Since then, however, Greenland’s temperatures have returned to normal, and are no higher than they were in the 1930s.

Far from being the start of a new trend, 2010 was simply an outlier:



The Peterman Glacier is still more or less in the same position as it was ten years ago:





And DMI report that, despite a slight dip last year, Greenland’s major glaciers stopped retreating seven years ago:




And climate scientists wonder why they are a laughing stock!

  1. CheshireRed permalink
    June 22, 2020 2:09 pm

    The Guardian article was a stock-in-trade example of how to lie, without actually lying. Just opinions, innit?

    * The headline was alarmist and misleading to grab readers attention.
    * The ‘scientist’ gave multiple timeline options, thus covering his a*se.
    * Projections were so far into the future they couldn’t be falsified when they were made.
    * 20 feet of sea level rise a totally impossible outcome within a minimum of 1000 years, and thus worthless.
    * Almost no facts or measurable evidence, just assertions.

    Textbook Green Blob propaganda, then.

    • June 22, 2020 11:01 pm

      severe consequences … say alarmoholics.

      Of course 🥱

  2. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 22, 2020 3:09 pm



    (Paste link and remove *s)

    Up and down over the years before man’s CO2 could have been an influence, even a hint of recent cooling?

  3. Broadlands permalink
    June 22, 2020 3:56 pm

    “And climate scientists wonder why they are a laughing stock!” Unfortunately, they are not. They are brought up on stage like puppets to promote the narrative, educate the policy makers with more scary tales of our imminent demise. What is not mentioned is the fact that nobody can do anything about it, prevent it, mitigate it. Just keep talking about it. We have already been through several tipping points. The last one was 20 years ago….but who remembers those? Add more money to study the problem. Tax the problem. Lower emissions to net zero in twelve years? By 2050 at the latest. That’s what is laughable.

  4. Foster Mitchell permalink
    June 22, 2020 4:08 pm

    With all the carbon that has been emitted the last decade, temperatures have not risen?

    • June 23, 2020 12:13 pm

      The rise in C02 tends to follow the rise in temperature and not precede it. But that is a secret, so don’t tell the BBC or the press.

  5. June 22, 2020 4:23 pm

    In the much stronger warming of the previous interglacial, the Eemian, the Greenland ice sheet had stayed intact.

    • Broadlands permalink
      June 22, 2020 5:27 pm

      And in the late Eocene the pCO2 was double what it is now..the temperatures were mild. Polar ice sheets were forming even as the pH of the oceans had dropped well below today’s values. Carbonate plankton thrived and plant life on land was lush.

  6. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    June 22, 2020 5:24 pm

    I was ready to extol the web pages of the Greenland glaciers until I read this:
    On each satellite image, the positions of the glacier at the end of the melting season in September (“terminus”) are shown for the year 2000 (marked with a red line) and for the mid-1980s (marked with a green line).

    On my high quality monitor the colors are pink (1980) and blue (2000); as on the image you have included.

    I wonder, should I complain to the maker of the monitor?
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    Thanks Paul.

    Is Suzanne Goldenberg still an environment correspondent?
    In many cases, these folks parrot nonsense for a time and then move on to other activities.

  7. arfurbryant permalink
    June 22, 2020 6:01 pm

    Never let the truth stand in the way of s good story…

    • arfurbryant permalink
      June 22, 2020 6:01 pm

      …a good story. Doh.

  8. Ed P permalink
    June 22, 2020 7:10 pm

    Three – four months of much-reduced economic activity around the world, which have seen big improvements in air quality, should also show reduced CO2 emissions. These have not been detected and certainly the levels do not track the economic downturns – in some places CO2 concentrations have increased. So can we now please stop all the AGW nonsense (or whatever it’s called/disguised as this week), as climate is quite obviously not adversely affected or even influenced by human actions.

    The Guardian banner reads,”Support The Guardian – Available for everyone, funded by readers” Perhaps the last word should be changed, reflecting the unpalatable truth, to SLAVERY.

  9. Graeme No.3 permalink
    June 22, 2020 11:39 pm

    Let us assume that climate “scientists” know what they are talking about…bear with me.
    They tell us that a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere will result in a rise in temperature of 3.5℃, made up of a 1.2℃ rise due to CO2** and an amplifier of ~3 because more water vapour will be generated.
    This will then warm the Arctic more as they also include a ‘polar amplification’ of 3 to 5 times.
    So, taking the worst case of 3.5 multiplied by 5 we get a (very) theoretical temperature rise of 17.5℃ in Greenland.
    But this would require a doubling of current CO2 levels to 828 p.p.m. And even then I doubt that a rise in temperature in Greenland to MINUS 7.5℃ would result in much ice melting.
    And at the current rate of CO2 rise that would take about 140 years, making it even less probable that the Greenland ice sheet will melt this century.

    **and that 1.2℃ rise was merely arrived at by averaging the guesses of various correspondents (after removing the ‘too low’ figures of 0 & 0.25℃).

  10. BoyfromTottenham permalink
    June 23, 2020 3:55 am

    Most people have no idea of basic physics or how huge (area x height) the Greenland ice sheet is and how much energy it would take to melt even 1% of it, so it is easy to come up with a ‘temperature rise’ due to ‘global warming’ story that sounds scary to such naive folk. When are some real scientists going to go on TV and show the public how ridiculous these claims are? Don’t facts matter any more??? (a rhetorical question, of course)

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      June 23, 2020 8:35 am

      The Greenland ice sheet cannot melt before the next glaciation is due.

    • June 23, 2020 9:00 am

      Another factor is altitude. Most of the ice cap is at much higher altitudes where it never gets much above freezing.

    • June 23, 2020 10:42 am

      They can’t even get the summer sea ice to disappear, despite claiming it’s been ‘rapidly melting’ for about four decades.

  11. Alistair Pope permalink
    June 23, 2020 4:09 am

    Just Party! St. Greta (and her disciple AOC) have determined that the world fries and dies on 9th June 2030, but they left some uncertainty as they did not specify if it would be in the morning or after my lunchtime BBQ.

  12. timbot99 permalink
    June 23, 2020 4:29 am

    the world is now COOLING, and will continue to do so for the next ten years. There are short term 60 year cycles, called De Rop cycles, and we are in a cooling phase. The warming phase had nothing to do with CO2.

    • Ed P permalink
      June 23, 2020 6:00 pm

      Yes, as seen by the minimal sunspot activity, as during the Maunder Minimum

  13. June 23, 2020 4:38 am

    The polar ice sheets of the late eocene cooling event is a reference to Antarctica I thought, not Greenland.

  14. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 23, 2020 7:53 am

    What? Extrapolating disaster from one extreme data point didn’t work? Its almost as if the nonsense is deliberate…

  15. Robert Jones permalink
    June 23, 2020 8:46 am

    Pointing out that the geosciences professor was based at Penn State University gave the game away. Penn State is also Michael Mann’s ‘batcave’.

    • June 23, 2020 12:16 pm

      Gives one a whole new perspective on Penn State, doesn’t it?

  16. Gerry, England permalink
    June 23, 2020 9:09 am

    And yet earlier this month unprecedented amounts of ice were added to the Greenland ice sheet as noted on electroverse. 4Gt one week and then 5Gt a week later.

  17. Rudolph Hucker permalink
    June 23, 2020 6:26 pm

    How much longer are ‘experts’ going to be paid large sums of money, for total dishonesty, their scaremongering and misinformation should incur a Prison Sentence!

  18. June 24, 2020 4:38 am

    Horribly polluted here in Asia, are you still missing the big picture?

  19. mwalim permalink
    June 25, 2020 6:59 pm

    What’s happened to CO2 levels during 3 months of lockdown worldwide? Bugger all. According to theGW crowd it should be dropping dramatically as we reduce man made CO2 Why do people, especially the young, continue to confuse pollution levels with CO2? I’ve looked at official CO2 levels every day and it is pretty steady at 415 ppm.

  20. R0ger Youmans. permalink
    June 27, 2020 12:00 am

    In New Zealand our glaciers have retreated in my experence since 1940s to now. This is caused by a lower snow fal[ over this period and before. Yet our sk[ fields are still opperating. Our temperature has risen slightly above the average over the last 30 years. All our heat comes from the sun, and there is noyhing we can do about that. I do not believe CO2 is to blame. It is only in a very small amount 425 parts permillion in our atmosphere, and esential to all plant life. What we should be very concerned about is the gross amount of POLUTION we are creating, we are making our home a very dirty place, and this is what we should clean up.
    During WW2 the US Airforce lost a number of air craft on the ice of I think Greenland. A few years back after years of trying, they dicovered a Lightning (twin engined fighter) hunreds of feet down in the ice. Yet they say this ice is melting?

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