From the CO2Science Archive: For years we have been bombarded with reports of melting and thinning of ice in the coastal areas of Greenland and the catastrophic consequences that climate alarmists have said will follow in the wake of the dramatic sea level rise they predict to result from the mountains of meltwater they say will be released to the surrounding ocean, together with their even further-fetched story of imminent thermohaline circulation shutdown induced by the impending huge freshwater discharge to the region of North Atlantic Deep Water formation. Little, however, has been written about changes that may be occurring in the much larger interior region of the island’s famous ice sheet and what they might imply. Now, a new study rectifies that deficiency.
Paper reviewed: Johannessen, O.M., Khvorostovsky, K., Miles, M.W. and Bobylev, L.P. 2005. Recent ice-sheet growth in the interior of Greenland. Sciencexpress / www.sciencexpress.org / 20 October 2005.
What was done
Johannessen et al. derived and analyzed “a continuous satellite-altimeter height record of Greenland Ice Sheet elevations by combining European Space Agency ERS-1 and ERS-2 data, in order to determine the spatial patterns of surface elevation changes over an 11-year period, 1992-2003.”
What was learned
The researchers report that “below 1500 meters, the elevation-change rate is -2.0 +/- 0.9 cm/year, in qualitative agreement with reported thinning in the ice-sheet margins,” but that “an increase of 6.4 +/- 0.2 cm/year is found in the vast interior areas above 1500 meters.” Spatially averaged over the bulk of the ice sheet, the net result is a mean increase of 5.4 +/- 0.2 cm/year, “or ~60 cm over 11 years, or ~54 cm when corrected for isostatic uplift.”
What it means
In a world that has been said by many to have experienced a century of warming that is claimed to have been unprecedented over the past two millennia (Mann and Jones, 2003), the Greenland Ice Sheet continues to accumulate mass, even at the apex of the historical (but likely highly-inflated) temperature increase. This finding does not bode well for those who have cried “the ice sheet is shrinking” so vociferously and for so long a time.
Mann, M.E. and Jones, P.D. 2003. Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia. Geophysical Research Letters 30: 10.1029/2003GL017814.