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This newish paper in The Cryosphere, by Sole, seems to be a decent stab at analysing mass balance changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet and suggesting an explanation.

By their calculations, marine terminating glaciers are thinning much faster than land terminating ones. But they are, mostly, definitely thinning; this should come as no surprise to readers of the literature.

Their broad conclusion is that recent changes in the GrIS probably have most to do with changes in the surrounding ocean conditions. One of the more interesting suggestions they make is that, once marine terminating glaciers lose contact with their outlets (shame there’s no timeframe), the GrIS is unlikely to contribute much to sea level rise (sort of obvious, but worth noting).

Skumtics needn’t bother atarting to infer anything from this: the GrIS contribution to sea level rise is small, and anyway, sea level rise, in spite of the attention of the media, is not likely to be the most significant consequence of climate change. For this, I’d suggest drought and famine are likeliest contenders, closely followed by political instability and climate migration.

Good to see Stoat staying on the case: I think I probably share his POV on this subject, with less scientific basis. Note, following the comments I made in response to the posts by Antony Watts, that current sea ice anomaly is around -1 million km2; I’m optimistic that my predictions back then might be cashed in by March.

I’m currently framing a bet I would be willing to put money on. More later when I have done so.

Finally, thank you to all 41000 viewers who, by accident or design, have hit my page. Given my lowly estate and somewhat inconsistent blogging habits, it’s more than I ever imagined. I hope of you have got something from these pages. Best wishes 🙂



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January 2009