Greenland ice melting four times faster than in 2003, study finds

January 21, 2019, The Ohio State University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Greenland is melting faster than scientists previously thought—and will likely lead to faster sea level rise—thanks to the continued, accelerating warming of the Earth's atmosphere, a new study has found.

Scientists concerned about sea level rise have long focused on Greenland's southeast and northwest regions, where large glaciers stream iceberg-sized chunks of ice into the Atlantic Ocean. Those chunks float away, eventually melting. But a new study published Jan. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the largest sustained from early 2003 to mid-2013 came from Greenland's southwest region, which is mostly devoid of large glaciers.

"Whatever this was, it couldn't be explained by glaciers, because there aren't many there," said Michael Bevis, lead author of the paper, Ohio Eminent Scholar and a professor of geodynamics at The Ohio State University. "It had to be the surface mass—the ice was melting inland from the coastline."

That melting, which Bevis and his co-authors believe is largely caused by global , means that in the southwestern part of Greenland, growing rivers of water are streaming into the ocean during summer. The key finding from their study: Southwest Greenland, which previously had not been considered a serious threat, will likely become a major future contributor to sea level rise.

"We knew we had one big problem with increasing rates of ice discharge by some large outlet glaciers," he said. "But now we recognize a second serious problem: Increasingly, large amounts of ice mass are going to leave as meltwater, as rivers that flow into the sea."

The findings could have serious implications for coastal U.S. cities, including New York and Miami, as well as island nations that are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.

And there is no turning back, Bevis said.

"The only thing we can do is adapt and mitigate further global warming—it's too late for there to be no effect," he said. "This is going to cause additional sea level rise. We are watching the hit a tipping point."

Climate scientists and glaciologists have been monitoring the Greenland ice sheet as a whole since 2002, when NASA and Germany joined forces to launch GRACE. GRACE stands for Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, and involves twin satellites that measure ice loss across Greenland. Data from these satellites showed that between 2002 and 2016, Greenland lost approximately 280 gigatons of ice per year, equivalent to 0.03 inches of sea level rise each year. But the rate of ice loss across the island was far from steady.

Bevis' team used data from GRACE and from GPS stations scattered around Greenland's coast to identify changes in ice mass. The patterns they found show an alarming trend—by 2012, ice was being lost at nearly four times the rate that prevailed in 2003. The biggest surprise: This acceleration was focused in southwest Greenland, a part of the island that previously hadn't been known to be losing ice that rapidly.

Bevis said a natural weather phenomenon—the North Atlantic Oscillation, which brings warmer air to West Greenland, as well as clearer skies and more solar radiation—was building on man-made climate change to cause unprecedented levels of melting and runoff. Global atmospheric warming enhances summertime melting, especially in the southwest. The North Atlantic Oscillation is a natural—if erratic—cycle that causes ice to melt under normal circumstances. When combined with man-made global warming, though, the effects are supercharged.

"These oscillations have been happening forever," Bevis said. "So why only now are they causing this massive melt? It's because the atmosphere is, at its baseline, warmer. The transient warming driven by the North Atlantic Oscillation was riding on top of more sustained, global warming."

Bevis likened the melting of Greenland's ice to coral bleaching: Once the ocean's water hits a certain temperature, coral in that region begins to bleach. There have been three global coral bleaching events. The first was caused by the 1997-98 El Niño, and the other two events by the two subsequent El Niños. But El Niño cycles have been happening for thousands of years—so why have they caused global coral bleaching only since 1997?

"What's happening is sea surface temperature in the tropics is going up; shallow water gets warmer and the air gets warmer," Bevis said. "The water temperature fluctuations driven by an El Niño are riding this global ocean warming. Because of climate change, the base temperature is already close to the critical temperature at which coral bleaches, so an El Niño pushes the temperature over the critical threshold value. And in the case of Greenland, has brought summertime temperatures in a significant portion of Greenland close to the melting point, and the North Atlantic Oscillation has provided the extra push that caused large areas of ice to melt".

Before this study, scientists understood Greenland to be one of the Earth's major contributors to sea-level rise—mostly because of its glaciers. But these new findings, Bevis said, show that scientists need to be watching the island's snowpack and ice fields more closely, especially in and near southwest Greenland.

GPS systems in place now monitor Greenland's ice margin sheet around most of its perimeter, but the network is very sparse in the southwest, so it is necessary to densify the network there, given these new findings.

"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," Bevis said. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"

Explore further: Modest warming risks 'irreversible' ice sheet loss, study warns

More information: Michael Bevis el al., "Accelerating changes in ice mass within Greenland, and the ice sheet's sensitivity to atmospheric forcing," PNAS (2019). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1806562116

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52 comments

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Anonym518498
Jan 21, 2019
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
howhot3
4.1 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2019
Not good. Anonyn... is another flake-O that can stop breathing as far as anyone cares.
Dug
2.3 / 5 (12) Jan 21, 2019
"So why only now are they causing this massive melt?"

Because now there is someone to measure it. Which begs the question as to how good their respective historic metrology benchmarks and proxies really are for comparison?
aksdad
2.5 / 5 (13) Jan 21, 2019
And yet, strangely, we see no acceleration of sea level rise since 2003. In fact, measurements show sea level rise has slowed over the last few years.

http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
grandpa
2.1 / 5 (11) Jan 21, 2019
I imagine the people of Greenland are happy to have more land.
Da Schneib
3.9 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2019
Not good. All that fresh water will affect the thermohaline cycle, which could muck up the Gulf Stream. Somebody needs to get a figure for how much fresh water is being added, and what the effects are on the thermohaline cycle.
ChucktheCanuck
2.1 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2019
At a rate of 3/100th of an inch per year sea level rise, I'll have to break out the rubber boots in only 57,024 years! Oh, the humanity!
MR166
2.1 / 5 (11) Jan 21, 2019
"And yet, strangely, we see no acceleration of sea level rise since 2003."

Well that is a question for the next scare that NASA need funding for. It seems that Illegal Space Aliens are draining our oceans at night and irrigating other planets. Only Trillions more to NASA can stop the theft or soon our oceans will be empty.
Da Schneib
3.5 / 5 (11) Jan 21, 2019
@MR lies again. If it's not a lie post a link.
MR166
2.1 / 5 (11) Jan 21, 2019
https://phys.org/...ars.html

And don't forget that Antarctica is melting 6x faster.

Yet no sea level rise. This theft of our precious water must be stopped before we have no oceans left.

Of course the other possibility is that the poles are just fine and it is the theft of taxpayer dollars that must be stopped.
Da Schneib
3.6 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2019
At a rate of 3/100th of an inch per year sea level rise, I'll have to break out the rubber boots in only 57,024 years! Oh, the humanity!
So you live in the mountains and don't care what happens to people near the sea where all the money comes from.

Next?
malapropism
4.2 / 5 (15) Jan 21, 2019
@aksdad
And yet, strangely, we see no acceleration of sea level rise since 2003. In fact, measurements show sea level rise has slowed over the last few years.

http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

Hmm, three observations on the link you provided that seem to indicate that your comment is wrong:
1. The title of the paper is given as, "Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era", which would seem to be saying that sea levels are rising and that the rise is accelerating.

2. Reading the paper, it is clear that the researchers have controlled for errors and known variability wherever possible and yet still they see an accelerating rise of sea levels.

3. The graph from the paper linked shows, for the 60-day smoothed line, a higher degree of sea level rise compared to the trend line for every year since 2015; i.e. sea levels are rising higher than the average trend since then. No comparable number of years since 1993 (this graph) show this.
Da Schneib
3.9 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2019
@MR lies again. There is nothing in that article or the paper that it is about that says there has been no sea level rise since 2003.

Fake link.

This crap makes it obvious that deniers are liars.
MR166
2.3 / 5 (12) Jan 21, 2019
No lies here Da. Sea level rise is not accelerating as proven by the tide gauges throughout the world. Ergo, the poles cannot be melting any faster than usual for the last 2000 years or so.
Bert_Halls
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 21, 2019
@MR166 I will plant a mango tree in your mother's cunt and fuck your sister in the shade.
Da Schneib
3.9 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2019
Link it and quote it, @MRLiar. Deniers are liars. Every time their "evidence" is presented it turns out to be lies.
MR166
2.1 / 5 (11) Jan 21, 2019
As far a measured sea level rise goes tide gauges are the gold standard. The satellite readings that most of these propaganda sheets rely on are riddled with orbit decay errors and wide error bands.
Da Schneib
3.9 / 5 (15) Jan 21, 2019
No link, no quote. Deniers are liars.
MR166
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 21, 2019
I gave you a "5" Mango Bert because you seem to be brighter than most of the AGW advocates here.
Da Schneib
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 21, 2019
Still no link, still no quote. Deniers are liars. Including the giant orange anus and its butt-buddies like @MR.
SamB
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 21, 2019
Not good. All that fresh water will affect the thermohaline cycle, which could muck up the Gulf Stream. Somebody needs to get a figure for how much fresh water is being added, and what the effects are on the thermohaline cycle.

Why is change always bad? We do not know if the change will be good or bad, so let us just see what transpires. Maybe this will be good for the world with a new North West passage, maybe better growing seasons, etc...
Shootist
2 / 5 (8) Jan 21, 2019
natives raising cattle barley and wheat yet?

let me know when they have done so for a century.
Ken_Fabian
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2019
Acceleration of ice sheet melt is a very serious development - from being a small part of sea level rise (thermal expansion being larger) it is growing ever more significant. These kinds of changes are likely to be long running - even stopping emissions rapidly will not reverse this kind of melting once it kicks in.

There has been 3x more sea level rise in the past century than any century of the past 2000 years (some centuries it went up, some it went down). Not long enough yet to show the most recent accelerations from icesheet melt in sea levels as clearly distinguishable from internal variability (just regional flooding can shift water from sea to land and change sea levels between one year and the next).

https://www.aviso...vel.html
Thorium Boy
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2019
Well, let say this warmist alarmism is true. Greenland gets to be green again. The hard working people will have a decent place to live. Meanwhile welfare craphole New Orleans floods out? Sounds like a good trade to me.
Thorium Boy
2.5 / 5 (8) Jan 22, 2019
Well, let say this warmist alarmism is true. Greenland gets to be green again. The hard working people will have a decent place to live. Meanwhile welfare craphole New Orleans floods out? Sounds like a good trade to me.
Shootist
2 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2019
Climate change for you but not for the rich

https://www.franc...ate-jets
MR166
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2019
More from our crooked AGW science community.

https://wattsupwi...-energy/

Da Schneib
3 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2019
Err, you do realize that article admits there's AGCC, right, @MR?

Nice idea but it's gonna need work. Like most carbon-capture technologies do.
MR166
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2019
"Nice idea but it's gonna need work. "

You really think so eh?

You would not recognize AGW bs if you stepped in it!
MR166
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2019
Oh yea, the change from AGW to AGCC just highlights the total failure of the so called science to predict anything.
MR166
2 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2019
In fact the fraudulent professors would capture more carbon if they just took the grant money in dollar bills and buried them in back of their lab.
snoosebaum
3 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2019
strange headline considering the temps are well below freezing in the highlands all summer , ice will accumulate [ until my car warms the climate by 20C ]
ChucktheCanuck
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2019
IPCC AR5 - no convincing evidence of sea level rise in the last century.

"9.3.3 Accelerations in Sea Level Rise
Is there evidence of any "accelerations" (or departures from
long-term linear trends) in the rate of sea level rise7 From
examinations of both composite regional and global curves
and individual tide gauge records, there is no convincing
evidence of an acceleration in global sea level rise during
the twentieth century For longer periods, however, there is
weak evidence for an acceleration over the last 2-3
centuries"
Thorium Boy
not rated yet Jan 23, 2019
This "Science" site took money to link to some quack site talking about the Rife microscope. How do they live with themselves over that? Disgusting.
Thorium Boy
not rated yet Jan 23, 2019
This "Science" site took money to link to some quack site talking about the Rife microscope. How do they live with themselves over that? Disgusting.
Da Schneib
3 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2019
So basically it's been rising constantly but that rate hasn't accelerated. As far as they could tell years ago.

Got it.
zz5555
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2019
AR5 included papers from early 2013 and earlier, so the science is a bit old now. Here's a paper from 2015 suggesting that the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo masked the acceleration of sea level rise and that the acceleration should become apparent soon (https://www.natur...rep31245 ). And here's a paper from last year showing that the acceleration could now be seen in the satellite record (https://www.pnas....full.pdf ). There are other recent papers also showing that sea level rise has accelerated, so this isn't an outlier.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2019
Good news everybody

"The E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) is a newly-developed heating technology with an extremely high power density that will provide industrial-grade heat at costs well below those of conventional heating sources. In a live online broadcast on January 31, 2019, the E-Cat's inventor, Dr. Andrea Rossi, will introduce the first commercial E-Cat product, show a demonstration of the technology, and answer questions from interested viewers."

-The ice is saved yay!
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2019
This is sad

"Customers pay for heat delivered at costs that will always be significantly lower (at least 20 percent lower) than the cost of any other energy source the customer may use."

-When dr Mills's dark matter hydrino engine comes online, rossi will go broke.
MR166
3 / 5 (2) Jan 24, 2019
Otto Rossi did not invent the E-Cat, Al Gore did.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jan 24, 2019
Is that how he made his $300M after he left govt?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 24, 2019
Hey we're in luck. The good dr emeritus rossi has graced us with a theoretical basis for his infernal contraption.

Abstract
"Some theoretical frameworks that explore the possible formation of dense exotic electron clusters in E-Cat SK are presented. Some considerations on the probable role of Casimir, Aharonov-Bohm and vacuum polarization eects in the formation of such structures are proposed. Dense electron clusters are introduced as a probable precursor for the formation of proton-electron aggregates at pico-metric scale, stressing the importance of evaluating the plausibility of special electron-nucleon interactions, as already suggested in [14]. An observed isotopic dependence of a particular spectral line in the visible range of E-Cat plasma spectrum seems to conrm the presence of a specic proton-electron interaction at electron Compton wavelength scale..."

-although 'eects' is not a physical interaction that I'm aware of. More questions than answers Im afraid.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 24, 2019
Holy crap!

"In addition to its theoretical aspects, the paper describes an experiment conducted with the E-Cat SK, concluding that the COP of the E-Cat SK was:

"COP2 = Eout/E2 >107 (SSM)

"Definitely a huge value! After 60 days of continued operation an E-Cat SK has produced (as we can and from a simple extrapolation) 31680kWh of heat, approximately the equivalentof 2762 kg of heating oil (avoiding, at same time, the emission of about 800 kg of CO2)."

-With all that power, how can we not take him seriously? I mean, seriously? "800 kg of CO2" - of course Gore must be involved...
MR166
1 / 5 (1) Jan 24, 2019
""Some theoretical frameworks that explore the possible formation of dense exotic electron clusters in E-Cat SK are presented. Some considerations..................et all"

Ah the ghost of Professor Cory Irwin lives.

https://www.youtu...dRGbQPr0
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jan 25, 2019
Yeah rossi has a hairpiece now. Fail.
howhot3
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2019
From "Greenland ice melting four times faster than in 2003" to Rossi and E-Cat, such a nice dodge of the issue of man-made global warming. Oh well, carry on. Even though Rossi's paper is just complete BS, I'de like to hear something about it. So what's the physics behind dense electron clusters etc? And why does it have anything to do with Greenland ice melting? Rossi sounds like he's nuts while Greenland's ice melting is simply fact!
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2019
dodge
No dodge, just shameless opportunism. I wanted to announce rossis world premier of his hairpiece and also his reactor so I found a thread where it sort of fit.
And why does it have anything to do with Greenland ice melting?
Consider for the moment what such a powerful new energy source would mean. No pollutants, no radioactive waste, no need for energy storage or augmentation. No situation, no wasted acreage, no piles of mangled gulls or songbirds. No more centralized production or distribution grids. No more wildfires in northern california.

Etc.

Just glowing little boxes in everybody's basement and under car hoods, supplying endless power for next to nothing. Ships, trains, planes, starships. The only thing to worry about then, eventually, would be waste heat.

I do think rossi exposed his fraud during his last show when he lifted the corner of his black box and flipped a switch.

Dr Mills and his hydrino dark matter furnace still shows promise however.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2019
"No situation" should be 'no ???' Actually I forget. Spellcheck will be the death of us all.
howhot3
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2019
Dr Mills and his hydrino dark matter furnace still shows promise however.

Maybe for a good SCI-FI movie, But first you need to demonstrate that Dark matter is something one can extract energy from. I've followed Rossi for a while in hopes it was the real deal, but alas, I'm not getting it. Hydrated metals do heat up in a pressurized hydrogen gas by what can be described as 'internal friction' as the metal 'breaths'. I don't see anything that will save the planet.

But keep your chin-up @Ghost, there could be some exciting renewables showing up soon.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2019
Maybe for a good SCI-FI movie, But first you need to demonstrate that Dark matter is something one can extract energy from
-No all dr Mills has to do is produce a contraption that puts out a whole lot more energy than it takes in, in a convincing and useful manner, for a sufficient period of time. Even rossi could still meet these criteria.

Like this
https://brilliant...a-video/

-Is it real? Who knows? Could it be faked? Yeah, at the moment.

But I prefer to keep an open mind because its funner.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2019
If dr Mills gets one of those spheres or boxes to glow white-hot for minutes in the coming months then I would be very impressed and so should you.

But I dont think his present facilities will be adequate for accommodating that sort of production. Maybe he has a backyard.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2019
Actually, white-hot stainless would be a puddle. There are vids there of melt-throughs in impressive times. He also has graphite spheres and quartz bottles he is playing with. Who knows?

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