Much Ado About Nothing In Greenland

James Blalog set up time lapse cameras to capture glacial loss in Greenland and elsewhere. I’m not sure he got the results he was expecting.  There are some excellent videos on his web site showing that Greenland is not changing much.

Here are a few worth watching :

His videos confirm recent research :

Greenland’s Ice Armageddon Comes To An End

Helheim Glacier’s flow to the sea sped up in 2005, as evidenced by the 5-kilometer retreat of its leading edge, but by 2006 it had slowed back down. Credit: Ian Howat.

It has come to an end,” Murray said during a session at the meeting. “There seems to have been a synchronous switch-off ” of the speed-up, she said. Based on the shape and appearance of the 14 largest outlet glaciers in southeast Greenland, outlet glacier flows have returned to the levels of 2000 nearly everywhere. “There’s a pattern of speeding up to maximum velocity and then slowing down since 2005,” Murray reported. “It’s amazing; they sped up and slowed down together. They’re not in runaway acceleration.”

Glacial modeler Faezeh Nick of Durham University in the UK and her colleagues found similar behvior when they modeled the flow of Helheim Glacier. In their model, as they report recently in Nature Geoscience, Helheim’s flow is extremely sensitive to disturbances at its margin but can quickly adjust. “Our results imply that the recent rates of mass loss in Greenland’s outlet glaciers are transient,” the group writes, “and should not be extrapolated into the future.”

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18 Responses to Much Ado About Nothing In Greenland

  1. Lazarus says:

    This seems to refer to a single glacier and not Greenland as your title suggests.

    Any reference for Murry’s comments?

    • *Based on the shape and appearance of the 14 largest outlet glaciers in southeast Greenland, outlet glacier flows have returned to the levels of 2000 nearly everywhere.*

    • Lazarus says:

      Steve your link is nearly two years old and I can’t view the whole thing to confirm that Tavi Murray said this and if she did in what context and how it relates to her whole view. I suspect she has little doubt that AGW is affecting her chosen area of research.

      But the main point is that this is old, old news. Since then we have had the Petermann glacier break, a Greenland glacier retreating a mile in just two days;

      And numerous other pieces of news and research highlighting that Greenland’s ice Armageddon coming to an end was greatly exaggerated;

      And the Arctic Report Card;

      I’m disappointed as I expect blogs to be current.

      • And ocean science professor Andreas Muenchow says years of data on the glacier itself show that after this month’s event, the mass of ice is still, on average, discharging about the same amount of water it usually does – some 600 million cubic meters a year, or about 220,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. “Even a big piece like this over 50 years is not that significant.  It’s just the normal rate,” he said.

      • ChrisD says:

        What Murray was referring to as “the Armageddon” was not the overall idea that Greenland is loasing ice but the extraordinary losses that occurred in 2003-2005, whic saw loss rates of up to 210% compared to 1996. She presented evidence that there was a weather-related reduced runoff from the glaciers during those years, which affected ocean currents and allowed warmer waters to come closer to Greenland, which in turn greatly accelerated ice loss.

        Nothing she said contradicts the view that Greenland is losing ice. She said that the loss rates had returned to where they were prior to the 2003-2005 event, so Greenland is still losing ice and still contributing to SLR, just not as fast as it was in 2003-2005.

        The implication that “the Armageddon” refers to the overall idea that Greenland is losing ice at an accelerating pace is inaccurate; it refers specifically to the events of 2003-2005.

  2. Geezer1 says:

    Lazarus. Did you read the article. I think not. Had you read it you would have seen Murray’s comments in the first paragraph and you would have the answer to your first question if you had read the last sentence of the second paragraph.

    • Mike Davis says:

      You need to excuse Lazarus as reading comprehension is not a displayed skill yet, but obeying a puppet master’s commands is very evident!

      • Lazarus says:

        Mike Davis says:
        “You need to excuse Lazarus as reading comprehension is not a displayed skill yet, but obeying a puppet master’s commands is very evident!”

        Love it!

        Your wit and immense intellect must make you a legend in your own mind in debates and discussions with others.

        How can a mere Joe like me respond to such devastating rebuttal?

    • Lazarus says:

      Geezer, I did read the article but as a real sceptic I take little at face value, particularly if it appears to conflict with the research.

      I strongly suspect that Tavi Murray the Principal Investigator in the GLIMPSE project has been taken out of context or at least she agrees with the suggestion, now 2 years old, that accelerated glacier retreat is a Much Ado About Nothing.

  3. Geezer1 says:

    Thanks Mike. I can now go on my morning walk with a smile on my face. One needs to have some humor in life.

  4. mkelly says:

    Please note that the dark colored rocks that the camera is sited on never get covered with snow/ice even in the winter. The dark rocks absorb sun’s energy (whatever there is of it) and melt the snow.

    My asphalt driveway in the dead of winter in the UP of Michigan will melt snow from the bottom up and clear away some snow/ice.

    The sun shining on black rocks/material can over come cold temperatures to melt/sublimate snow/ice. Think Himalayan glaciers surrounded by black rocks.

    • Mike Davis says:

      It appears the photos were taken from the air and not from the ground. Unless you are seeing different pictures. While visiting Ohio in the 80s the residents had to shovel the snow and ice off the driveways as it failed to melt off the cold pavement. It melted faster off the plants than any portion of the rocks or pavement.
      I use south facing rocks piled up to warm my garden in early spring but they still hold ice during the coldest part of winter and they are limestone rocks rather than volcanic or basalt. The rocks I have that are laid on the ground for garden paths remain icy after the ground thaws due to their ability to retain the cold. Of course that is only based on observations n my front yard which is only 3 acres. The other 70+ acres are left natural forest on a south facing ridge.

  5. Scott says:

    My favorite part is that it’s “amazing” that there isn’t a “runaway acceleration”. Seriously? Is the null hypothesis and assumed behavior now one of catastrophic happenings around every corner?

    This is my biggest problem with the CAGW rhetoric. I actually believe in AGW, that man has an influence on the climate and is warming it up. But the ‘C’ part is so suppositional and without support, yet it is becoming the assumed behavior, that I find myself aligning with the “skeptics” at nearly every turn.


  6. John Silver says:

    “and should not be extrapolated into the future.”

    Wow, double wow!
    Does this mean the end of the Religion of Extrapolation?
    (As founded by Reverend Gore)

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