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Greenland is cooling down

21 Aug 2019 | Science Notes

No, it’s not a typo. Greenland is colder and icier now than for most of the past 10,000 years. If we had said it's "warmer" or the ice cap is "smaller" than at any time in history, you probably wouldn't have blinked because it sounds like a thousand headlines you've seen over the years. But you should have blinked because it's the opposite of the truth. According to a detailed new study (h/t No Tricks Zone), after the end of the last glaciation there 10,000 years ago, summers quickly became much hotter than today (by about 4 degrees C) and stayed that way for thousands of years. And the ice cap shrunk as a consequence, until cooling set in about 6,000 years ago. Yes, cooling. The ice cap then grew back and by about 1850 had reached its present size… just in time for alarmists to claim it's never been this small. Whereas in fact it was smaller for most of the past 10,000 years.

No doubt the warming was not just confined to Greenland. The Holocene Climate Optimum hasn’t yet been “rubbed out” the way alarmists have tried to snuff the Medieval Warm Period. And indeed the authors of this study discuss evidence of similar warming trends near Greenland, from Baffin Bay and Ellesmere Island. This warming was so intense and lasted for so long that it probably affected much of the Arctic. And yet the polar bears survived – funny that.

Greenland was in the news recently. But not because of the discovery that it's unusually cold and icy there in comparison with the past 10 millennia. Rather, as we noted elsewhere, a rogue temperature reading in one location came in a few degrees higher than expected, which made worldwide headline news until the scientists involved discovered it was a mistake and retracted it.

The retraction did not make worldwide headline news for some reason. But even if the reading had stood up, it's just one data point on one day – in other words, weather. What matters, we are constantly told, is the long term trends that make up climate. Now we know what they are in the Greenland and Eastern Canadian Arctic region: It's been getting colder for thousands of years. So Greenland isn't likely to be in the news again… until the next faulty thermometer reading.

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