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Greenland Ice Mass Loss Below Average In 2020

January 18, 2021

By Paul Homewood

 Greenland Ice Mass Change (DMI)

DMI have not yet got around to updating their Greenland ice mass charts for last year, but the data is available from NASA up to October.

The DMI graph is in any event pretty difficult to look at for trends, and has the usual distorted y-axis, which make it look that the ice cap will soon be gone.

Taking the actual data from NASA, derived from GRACE satellite measurements, we can see the year on year changes below, which tell us clearly what has actually been going on:




The warm summers of 2012 and 2019 stick out, but equally there have been cold wet summers, such as 2017 and 2018.

What is evident is that there has been no acceleration in melt since the start of records in 2002. This runs counter to the alarmist message commonly perpetuated, for instance the ever reliable BBC!

The annual average mass loss since 2002 is 264 Gt, but this is a microscopic amount in comparison with the total ice cap mass, which weighs 2.6 million Gt. And as the top graph shows, the sea level rise in the last decades resulting from the melt is only around 10mm.

There is of course no reason we we should at all surprised or alarmed about this melting. We know Greenland is now warmer than in the 19thC, which ice cores prove was the coldest era there since the end of the Ice Age.

We know that temperatures in Greenland now are no higher than the 1920s to 50s. And we also know that glaciers there grew massively between the Middle Ages and the Little Ice Age.

There is no evidence whatsoever that melting will suddenly start to run away. Indeed everything points to it being a natural event, which may well reverse or slow down when the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation switches to cold phase and temperatures in Greenland fall sharply, just as they did between the 1960s and 90s.

  1. Andrew Harding permalink
    January 18, 2021 5:53 pm

    Like all the other predictions of climate doom, not a single one has come true, let alone within the predicted timeline.

  2. bluecat57 permalink
    January 18, 2021 6:13 pm

    “below average”? Shouldn’t you say “level challenged”?

  3. A C Osborn permalink
    January 18, 2021 6:26 pm

    I don’t believe “grace”, I thik she is a liar.

  4. Cheshire Red permalink
    January 18, 2021 6:27 pm

    Context: 2.6M GT to 260GT

    264GT is 0.01% loss pa.

    At this rate of loss if you had £100,000 in the bank it’d take c1,000 years for your bank balance to drop from £100,000 to £90,000.

    That assumes linear losses and no variations, which the above data shows clearly is the normal outcome.

    It seems our friends at the BBC forgot to mention this sort of context on the article linked. Imagine my surprise.

    • John Peter permalink
      January 18, 2021 9:04 pm

      Roughly 264Gt is 1/10,000 part of 2.6 million Gt. so it will take 10,000 years to melt at that annual rate. This is definitely a worsening situation as the last time I did the calculation a few years ago it would have taken 14,000 years. Definitely moving towards a Climate Emergency.

      • Harry Davidson permalink
        January 19, 2021 2:28 pm

        Pu a binomial fit on 2014 to 2019 (binomial does this best) and you will be able to predict the ice all gone on 20 years, easy peasy.

  5. Peter permalink
    January 19, 2021 4:20 am

    According to Wikipedia, the Greenland Ice sheet has a volume of 2.85 million cubic kilometers. That equals to roughly 2.5 million Gton of ice.

    The Danish graph says that the ice sheet has lost 4,000 Gt in the last 17 years. If the melt continues at this rate, the ice sheet will be gone in more than 10,000 years.

    Wiki also says that if the entire ice sheet would melt, it would lead to a 7.2m sea level rise.

    7.2m in 10,000 years seems manageable. 🙂

  6. January 19, 2021 5:15 am

    I would think that given the geological features of the region, it would not be possible to understand ice melt dynamics there purely in atmospheric terms.

  7. Harry Davidson permalink
    January 19, 2021 2:23 pm

    I went right off the DMI when the Kronprinz Hakkon trusted their ice thickness map to make a journey by ship to the North Pole. The DMI had recently adjusted their model because it was modelling the ice as ‘much ticker than reality’. The Hakkon didn’t get anywhere near the NP, only a small distance through the ice pack. Where DMI said it was less than 1 metre (which they could handle) they were finding 2 metres of 1 year ice, which the DMI said couldn’t happen. They probed different routes but found thick 1 year ice everywhere.

    So much for the DMI model. I only believe observations from them.

    • John Peter permalink
      January 19, 2021 8:22 pm

      Why should the DMI climate model be more accurate than other climate models. The computer models show double temperature increase compared with measurements so showing a double ice thickness should be par for the course.

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