Greenland Icecap – 2023

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By Paul Homewood

Summer is over in Greenland, and the SMB has finished above average once again.

This is the fifth of the last seven years to finish above average:

Courtesy of Tony Heller

As always, please read the DMI explanatory note:

When calving and bottom melting are factored in, there is a net loss of ice. However this loss has been taking place since the end of the 19thC, following the Little Ice Age, the coldest era in Greenland since the Ice Age.

Annual average surface mass balance (blue line), marine mass balance (gray dashed), and their mass balance sum (black line).

The above chart runs to 2021, but I have updated it to include last year, and simplified the chart with a 10 year average:

As can be seen, the rate of loss in the last decade is similar to the 1930s, 50s and 60s. During the 1970s and 80s, Greenland’s climate grew much colder, and the ice mass loss almost stopped completely.

Significantly the rate of loss now is not accelerating, as you may have assumed from what the media have told you. On the contrary, the rate of loss has been slowing down since 2012.

The average annual loss between 2013 and 2022 was 184 Gt, which equates to 0.51mm sea level rise a year.

In short there is nothing alarming or unprecedented about the tiny amount of ice melt in Greenland.