Since 1993, Greenland’s Ice Sheet Melt Has Added Just 0.39 Of A Centimeter To Global Sea Levels

Exposing ‘Staggering’ Ice Sheet Melt Deceptions

In recent months, two new papers published in The Cryosphere have provided a condensed summary of the ice-melt and sea-level-rise consequences of global warming for the Arctic region.

1.  Between 1900 and 2010, the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) has melted so extensively and so rapidly that the GIS ice-melt contribution to global sea level rise has amounted to 1.5 centimeters for the entire 110-year period.   One-and-a-half centimeters.  That’s 0.59 of an inch!

2. It gets worse.  Between 1993 and 2010, the contribution to global sea level rise has been a disturbing 0.39 of a centimeter.  Almost 4/10ths of a centimeter.  That’s 0.15 of an inch!

Leeson et al, 2017

Melt water from the Greenland ice sheet contributed 1.7–6.12 mm [median 3.9 mm, or 0.39 of a centimeter] to global sea level between 1993 and 2010

Fettweis et al ., 2017

SMB [surface mass balance, Greenland Ice Sheet] during the 1920–1930 warm period over Greenland was comparable to the SMB of the 2000s, due to both higher melt and lower precipitation than normal.”

“Finally, with respect to the 1961–1990 period, the integrated contribution of the GrIS SMB [Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Mass Balance] anomalies over 1900–2010 is a sea level rise of about 15 ± 5 mm [1.5 centimeters], with a null contribution from the 1940s to the 2000s

Breakdown: 1900-2010 GIS Sea Level Rise Contribution

1920s-1930s: GIS contribution to sea level rise: 1.1 cm

1993-2010: GIS contribution to sea level rise: 0.39 cm

1940s-2000s: a null contribution” [to sea level rise]

Washington Post Peddles Alarmism With Deceptive ‘Trillion Tons’ Of Lost Ice Pronouncements

It’s scary to learn that the Greenland Ice Sheet has lost a “staggering” 9 trillion tons of ice since 1900.

It’s not scary to learn that 9 trillion tons of ice losses actually amounts to less than 1 inch (0.6 of an inch, or 1.5 centimeters) of sea level rise contribution from Greenland meltwater since 1900.

So what does a world-renown news organization like the Washington Post do with this contextually-weighted scientific information?   Of course, like most other media organizations in the modern era,  the Post attempts to frighten the public with disturbing trillions of tons of lost ice exclamations without emphasizing the modest and nearly imperceptible sea level impact such “staggering” ice losses produce.

In December, 2015, the Post‘s Chris Mooney summarized “Greenland’s massive, centennial contribution to sea level rise”.

Washington Post  (December, 2015)

It is apparent from reading the article that Mooney is either (a) unaware that less than 1 inch of long-term sea level impact is not “massive”, and therefore using that descriptor in conjunction with  trillions-of-tons of ice loss can be misleading, or (b) he is aware that less than 1 inch of sea level impact in 110 years is not especially alarming, so he buries this inconvenient detail in the body of the article and instead he focuses on employing terms like “staggering” and “massive” and “trillions” and “disturbing” and “alarming” in an effort to conceal.

It would appear that (b) is more likely.

Notice above how Mooney cursorily acknowledges that 1 inch of global-scale sea level rise from 9 trillion tons of melted GIS ice “may not sound like much”.  But then, to recover, he misleadingly pivots to hypothetical scenarios, equating what one inch of sea level rise would do if this water equivalent from across the world ocean was only dumped on the United States’ interstate highway system.  (How does fantasy writing like this make it into a serious science article?)

And then, to pile on another thought experiment, Mooney adds the obligatory “if the entire ice sheet were to melt” conjuring so he can mention that “20 feet of sea level rise” is what’s at stake here.

One inch in 110 years isn’t enough to garner attention, but 98 feet (times 63) of submerged U.S. roads and global coastal areas is quite the scary scenario.

The Washington Post employed this same misleading and diversionary strategy about 8 months later, again relying on the “9 trillion tons of ice” lost study to scare readers.

Washington Post (July, 2016)

If Misleading Readers Wasn’t Allowed, What Would The ‘Honest’ Headlines Look Like?

If news organizations weren’t allowed to mislead readers about climate science, what would the headlines say?

With regard to the long-term (and recent) ice melt records for the Greenland Ice Sheet, a non-deceptive, non-misleading headline might look something like this.

75 responses to “Since 1993, Greenland’s Ice Sheet Melt Has Added Just 0.39 Of A Centimeter To Global Sea Levels”

  1. AndyG55

    And of course we all know that Greenland is actually very near its peak ice in 8000 years…

    And its all the fault on non-warming CO2 😉

    Also, for the chronically unaware, here is a graph of the Greenland Total Ice Mass since 1900.

    (could be some argument about the actual starting value….
    I’ve seen 2.4, 2.6, 3.1 x 1015 tonnes,
    but the trend is still correct 😉 )

    1. AndyG55

      ok, superscript command doesn’t work … 10^15 tonnes

  2. AndyG55

    testing….. 10¹⁵

  3. AndyG55

    There is absolutely no way they can say with any accuracy just how much ice Greenland has lost or gained in the last century….. since the LIA, btw..

    Certainly it looks to have gained this year.

    And certainly it is still very near its 8000 year maximum.

    Any amount either way will, in reality, be totally insignificant.

    Big scary numbers for the chicken-littles to swallow, though. 😉

  4. AndyG55

    And before some AGW junkie mentions GRACE…

    GRACE had known position deficiencies at launch and it was proposed in 2012 to correct/calibrate these, (Grasp mission)

    Anything before 2012 is just a load of junk.

    Considering Antarctica is 14 million million square metres in area… being off by even a mm is… 14 billion cu metres-

  5. Frederick Colbourne

    For the metric-system challenged, 0.39 centimeters is 3.9 millimeters

    = 3.9/25.4 inch = 0.15 inch, 5/32 inch

  6. SebastianH

    You shouldn’t abbreviate your quotes and leave out essential information, Kenneth.

    […] with a null contribution from the 1940s to the 2000s, suggesting that the recent contribution of GrIS to sea level change (van den Broeke et al., 2016) is unprecedented in the last century

    Oh, isn’t everything mostly natural and not unprecedented in your world?

  7. John F. Hultquist

    … it’s enough water to submerge the entire U.S. interstate highway system 98 feet deep – and to do so 63 times over, …
    [Chris Mooney, Wash. Post, 2015]

    Add this to the list of stupendously stupid analogies concocted by climate alarmists.

    1. yonason

      As J.F.H. points out here…
      …the ice that’s left to melt is high latitude and high altitude, which will melt slower than what caused the rapid sea level rise after the last ice age.

      Another point is that Canada is no longer under 2 miles of ice. There’s a lot LESS ice to melt.

      Finally, the fastest sea level rise for all that ice melting averaged about 1.5 meters per century. It can not only not exceed that today, it can’t even come close.

      I enjoy reading what Nils-Axel Mörner has to write on the topic.
      Nils-Axel Mörner

      He’s got some great videos, as well.

  8. yonason
  9. yonason

    Off Road – Speaking Of Deceptions

    Leftist politicians, “journalistas,” climate “scientistas,” etc., etc. None of them are any good.

    Here’s a bullet I hope my German friends can dodge.

    Of course if you haven’t an alternative, I don’t see how. Still, I’m hoping for the best for you.

  10. Richard111

    Out of curiosity I looked up the mean radius of the Earth and calculated the surface area in square metres. Took 71% of this as sea surface area, assuming 1 metre of water, multiply by 1.1 to get ice volume and find a rounded figure of 400,000 CUBIC KILOMETRES of land ice must melt to raise sea level by just 1 metre. Then calculate the energy required to convert ice to water at zero degrees C, never mind ice at minus 30C, and try and figure out how this energy gets to the Greenland ice over any time scale given for the pending doom.
    There would be no life on Earth if that volume of ice melted in just 10 years.

    1. SebastianH

      I am curious … what amount of energy did you get as a result of your calculations? Was it in the range x*10^24 Joules?

      1. Richard111

        The isothermal melting of ice requires some 334 kilojoules per kilogram at 273.16 K. That figure applies only to the change of state from solid to liquid between the temperatures of -0.01C to +0.01C (or from 273.14K to 273.16K). But most of the ice on Antarctica is way below this temperature (like -50C) and for every degree below freezing each kilogram of ice will require a further average of some 2 kilojoules per degree more. To cut a long story short I reached the grand total of 121,454,545,500,000,000,000 kilojoules of energy.
        The next problem was how to deliver this energy to the ice. Can’t use the sea, the ice is on land! I picked a time scale of 20 years, (twice the then alarmist time of 10 years) and derived a figure of 20,000 WATTS PER SQUARE METRE!

        1. SebastianH

          So 1.215 * 10^23 Joules … that’s about half the increase in ocean heat content in the last ~30 years.

          Secondly, you don’t need to melt the ice uniformly over the whole continent. The additional heat in the ocean and atmosphere would move the melting zones a bit inland. The complete collapse of the West Antartic Ice Sheet alone would increase the sea level by about 3.3 m (

          1. AndyG55

            “The complete collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet ”


            seb, you must live in a world of scary hallucinogenic monsters. !! Here is a graph of the total Antarctic ice mass since 1900


            And we know from Zwally that Antarctica is actually GAINING ice by a tiny amount..

            You really have to STOP snorting that ice, seb, it is diminishing your mental capacity, and you had precious little to start with.

      2. sunsettommy

        Sebastian, do you now understand why Antarctica glacial ice and Snow is not in danger of melting away on us?

        1. SebastianH
          1. AndyG55

            ROFLMAO, linking to a rancid, anti-progress, zero-science, climate activist site.

            “citizen journalist” (wft is that, unemployment benefit supported ?)

            No wonder you are so very confused about what real science is. !!

          2. sunsettommy

            As usual Sebastian, your source is not presenting an honest assessment of the region. But it is funny to read this from YOUR link:

            “But if they had read my article properly they would have found that this is modelling of ocean currents which would start infiltrating the ice shelf around 2066. Much of the Ice mass loss from Antarctica will come from the destruction of ice shelves from basal melting, which will then allow an acceleration of ice streams presently being held in place by the ice shelves. The retreat of grounding lines of ice shelves, due to the dropping away of the sea floor in a substantial below sea level depression reaching depths of up to 2000m under much of West Antarctica, will also exacerbate basal melting and ice sheet instability.”

            Models,models and more models into the future.

            Your link also whined about what WUWT said about the region,which is why I am posting a few comments just for you, Seb:

            ” justthefactswuwt
            January 19, 2014 at 1:04 pm

            Leo Geiger says: January 19, 2014 at 11:50 am

            An additional fact for justthefacts: sea ice extent doesn’t have a simple direct relationship with ocean current temperatures. It is unwise to draw conclusions about the health of an ice shelf based only on the extent of sea ice around it.

            See Pine Island glacier for just one example of signs of warm ocean currents impacting the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet:

            That’s not an additional “fact” that’s “using three state-of-the-art ice-flow models” to “show that Pine Island Glacier’s grounding line is probably engaged in an unstable 40 km retreat”, whatever that means:

            Facts don’t come from “state-of-the-art ice-flow models”, they come from the observational evidence, e.g.:

            Southern Sea Surface Temperature as been below average for the last 6 years:


            and Southern Polar Lower Troposphere Temperature Anomaly has had a negative trend and is average;




            ” richardscourtney
            January 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm

            Leo Geiger:

            At January 19, 2014 at 2:15 pm you write saying in total

            Maybe that was keeping it too simple…

            Mass loss from ice shelves is primarily driven by basal melting from warm (relatively speaking) water, and to a lesser extent calving. That means basal melt rates (derived from changes in surface elevation) and calving rates would be better things to use to draw conclusions about the temperature of the deeper water (which is hard to measure directly) and the health of ice shelves.


            But apparently you believe simply looking at sea ice extent is all you need to do to declare “there are no apparent signs of the “warm ocean currents” “.

            I don’t think that simple assertion has much factual support.

            Oh, but you have provided cogent evidence for “that assertion” with your links.

            The first says

            Ocean waters melting the undersides of Antarctic ice shelves are responsible for most of the continent’s ice shelf mass loss, a new study by NASA and university researchers has found.

            and the second says

            We compare the volume flux divergence of Antarctic ice shelves in 2007 and 2008 with 1979 to 2010 surface accumulation and 2003 to 2008 thinning to determine their rates of melting and mass balance. Basal melt of 1325 ± 235 gigatons per year (Gt/year) exceeds a calving flux of 1089 ± 139 Gt/year, making ice-shelf melting the largest ablation process in Antarctica. The giant cold-cavity Ross, Filchner, and Ronne ice shelves covering two-thirds of the total ice-shelf area account for only 15% of net melting. Half of the meltwater comes from 10 small, warm-cavity Southeast Pacific ice shelves occupying 8% of the area. A similar high melt/area ratio is found for six East Antarctic ice shelves, implying undocumented strong ocean thermal forcing on their deep grounding lines.

            The ice shelves are growing, and your links each says that warm ocean currents under the ice are the major cause of “ice shelf mass loss”.

            Thanks for providing such clear evidence that your assertions are rubbish.




            “Gail Combs
            January 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm

            Leo Geiger says:
            January 19, 2014 at 3:01 pm

            …It’s that simple, eh? But, at the same time, somehow not so simple that one would expect those warm ocean currents to impact observations of calving rates or basal melt (ice shelf elevations)…
            WHAT warm ocean currents?
            I think you are mixing up the Arctic that has warm water from the Gulf Stream head in its direction vs the Antarctic with its Antarctic Circumpolar Current or ‘West Wind Drift’ that completely isolates the Continent form waters from the equator.

            The opening of Drake Passage at the tip of South America (Cape Horne) allowed this current that completely circles the continent to form plus the closing of the Isthmus of Panama is thought to be the geologic events that sent the earth into the present ice age.

            From some of my recent searches:
            The Cape Horn Current: “…The Cape Horn Current is a cold water current that flows west-to-east around Cape Horn. This current is caused by the intensification of the West Wind Drift as it rounds the cape….” WIKI

            The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the most important current in the Southern Ocean, and the only current that flows completely around the globe. The ACC, as it encircles the Antarctic continent, flows eastward through the southern portions of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans…. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current’s eastward flow is driven by strong westerly winds. The average wind speed between 40°S and 60°S is 15 to 24 knots with strongest winds typically between 45°S and 55°S. Historically, the ACC has been referred to as the ‘West Wind Drift’ …

            From another source that I trust a heck of a lot more, Maritime Safety Information CHAPTER 31 OCEAN CURRENTS: TYPES AND CAUSES OF CURRENTS I start at the beginning of the passage which talks of the southern Atlantic. The chapter also has a map that shows that some of the cold water heads up along the west coast of South America. And it show the West Wind Drift as COLD water going round and round the continent of Antarctica.

            …That branch of the South Equatorial Current which curves toward the south off the east coast of South America, follows the coast as the warm, highly-saline Brazil Current, which in some respects resembles a weak Gulf Stream. Off Uruguay it encounters the colder, less-salty Falkland or Malvinas Current forming a sharp meandering front in which eddies may form. The two currents curve toward the east to form the broad, slow-moving, South Atlantic Current in the general vicinity of the prevailing westerlies and the front dissipates somewhat. This current flows eastward to a point west of the Cape of Good Hope, where it curves northward to follow the west coast of Africa as the strong Benguela Current, augmented somewhat by part of the Agulhas Current flowing around the southern part of Africa from the Indian Ocean. As it continues northward, the current gradually widens and slows. At a point east of St. Helena Island it curves westward to continue as part of the South Equatorial Current, thus completing the counterclockwise circulation of the South Atlantic. The Benguela Current is also augmented somewhat by the West Wind Drift, a current which flows easterly around Antarctica. As the West Wind Drift flows past Cape Horn, that part in the immediate vicinity of the cape is called the Cape Horn Current. This current rounds the cape and flows in a northerly and northeasterly direction along the coast of South America as the Falkland or Malvinas Current….

            During the northern hemisphere summer, a weak northern branch of the South Equatorial Current, known as the New Guinea Coastal Current, continues on toward the west and northwest along both the southern and northeastern coasts of New Guinea. The southern part flows through Torres Strait, between New Guinea and Australia, into the Arafura Sea. Here, it gradually loses its identity, part of it flowing on toward the west as part of the South Equatorial Current of the Indian Ocean, and part of it following the coast of Australia and finally joining the easterly flowing West Wind Drift. The northern part of New Guinea Coastal Current both curves in a clockwise direction to help form the Pacific Equatorial Countercurrent and off Mindanao turns southward to form a southward flowing boundary current called the Mindanao Current. During the northern hemisphere winter, the New Guinea Coastal Current may reverse direction for a few months….”



            All three people comments are from actual scientists,while

            John Englard, is an Environmentalist Journalist with NO science background and no ability to make an honest presentation. At WUWT site he attacked,has a bunch of comments showing what John repeatedly left out.

            Do better Sebastian…. if you can.

          3. sunsettommy

            Come on Kenneth, he is being extremely stupid on this, because over 90% of the Continent is NEVER above freezing,surrounded by a circulating cold sea water.

            It doesn’t occur to warmist loons that Ice shelves extending far out into the ocean eventually break, up as they are subjected to ocean currents all the time.

            He goes to a “Citizen Journalist, who leaves out a lot of actual science to push his idiotic “Antarctica is in big danger”, lets scream and cry about it for a while.

            It is boring to hear them cry wolf a thousand times.

          4. tom0mason


            That is the best joke you’ve ever come out with! 🙂 😆
            Thanks, I enjoyed the joke.
            That link source with all those nice graphs, looks almost like the real thing until you look at the scales they’ve used. Hahahahah!

            Thanks seb for cheering me up! You believers are a hoot…

          5. AndyG55

            “destruction of ice shelves from basal melting,

            That MUST be from COO2 black-radiation penetrating the ice and heating the rocks underneath.

            Wouldn’t you agree, seb ! 😉

          6. SebastianH

   (Antarctica losing 125 Gt of ice per year)

   (Greenland losing 281 Gt of ice per year).

            I know it’s hard to be in the skeptics camp and pretend that it’s actually gaining ice (that Zwally comment above) …

            And sorry for accidentally replying to sunsettommy. Was a mistake as can be seen by his reply with “no counterpoint” and the desperate seeking of validation from his peers 😉

            @tom0mason: what’s wrong with the scales? 1878 Gt ice loss in Antartica and 3148 Gt ice loss in Greenland aren’t exactly small figures. You only need to melt 370 Gt ice to increase the sea level by 1 mm on average.

          7. sunsettommy

            Apparently Sebastian, is unaware of GRACE problems,as they make their determination using MODELS to create their charts.

            Revisiting GRACE Antarctic ice mass trends and accelerations considering autocorrelation

            “6. Conclusions

            We examined GRACE mass change time series for Antarctica and found serial correlation in regression residuals. We found that an autoregressive model fits the residuals sufficiently in most places but we could not rule out the power-law model. When applying an autoregressive model we found that GRACE trend and acceleration uncertainty estimates for Antarctica have previously been underestimated by a factor of between 1 and 4 (6 for trends) when using monthly uncertainties computed according to Wahr et al. (2006). We note, however, that other errors exist which we have not considered, including those related to raw data analysis strategy and areal averaging effects (see Horwath and Dietrich, 2009; Velicogna and Wahr, 2013). Systematic bounds in GIA model uncertainty must also be considered (King et al., 2012; Velicogna and Wahr, 2013; Whitehouse et al., 2012).”


            Your two links used deceptive time series coloring making it look like massive meltdown is happening.

          8. SebastianH

            Your two links used deceptive time series coloring making it look like massive meltdown is happening.

            What is a “deceptive time serious coloring”?

   for more up-to-date data.

            Apparently, sunsettommy is unaware that measuring ice extent isn’t telling the whole story and that the best instruments for measuring actual ice mass, are satellites.

  11. tom0mason

    “Greenland may or may not melt, Rick, but we’ll always have Paris”

  12. Graeme No.3

    I am always amused by the warmists who tell us the Greenland icesheet is melting rapidly because current temperatures are x℃. They then claim that
    a) this is the highest temperature for y thousands of years (fill in the time of your choice).
    b) They quote temperatures and CO2 levels from the ice cores for the past 800,000 years, which show no melting of the ice shelf.

  13. Daver

    For sheer cringeworthi-ness (and a deserved mocking)it’s probably difficult to top noted English ultra-leftie, Billy Bragg’s, recent ‘musical’ offering:

    Seriously, wannabe Kommander Bragg and his ilk need help – probably starting with a long lie down in a darkened room followed by an intensive de-indoctrination programme ie. proper schooling in the Scientific Method with thrice daily administered doses of reality (unfortunately now an increasingly scarce commodity…).

    (Big h/t too to Kenneth Richard for links, etc. to an increasing wealth of papers.).

  14. Daver

    Ah, maybe NTZ doesn’t allow video links; the excluded link was to Bragg’s ‘King Tide and the Sunny Day Flood’. Part of a series, too!

    1. tom0mason

      You mean this Bragg’s ‘King Tide and the Sunny Day Flood’ at


      1. daver

        That’s the version, tomOmason – the embed code that shows the big picture incorporporating the red ‘play’ symbol…

  15. Exposing Staggering Ice Sheet Melt Deceptions | NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

    […] Read the full post here. […]

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