For Most Of The Last 10,000 Years, Greenland Ice Sheet and Glacier Volume Was Smaller Than Today

Most of the ice currently melting on Greenland only formed during the last few hundred years.

Image Source: Mikkelson et al., 2018

A new paper (Axford et al., 2019) reveals NW Greenland’s “outlet glaciers were smaller than today from ~9.4 to 0.2 ka BP” (9,400 to 200 years before 1950), and that “most of the land-based margin reached its maximum Holocene extent in the last millennium and likely the last few hundred years.”

The authors conclude:

“We infer based upon lake sediment organic and biogenic content that in response to declining temperatures, North Ice Cap reached its present-day size ~1850 AD, having been smaller than present through most of the preceding Holocene.”

Furthermore, the authors assert Greenland was 2.5°C to 3°C warmer than modern on average during the Holocene Thermal Maximum, and peak temperatures were 4°C to 7°C warmer.

Image Source: Axford et al., 2019

Another new paper ( Schweinsberg et al., 2019) indicates the most pronounced glacier expansion in West Greenland has occurred during the last 2,000 years.

“Our records reveal asynchronous regrowth of GIC between ~4.3 and 2 ka emphasizing the variable responses of individual glaciers to late Holocene climate changes on Nuussuaq. The subsequent millennia were characterized by gradually increasing glacier size in accordance with gradual declining summer insolation. Superimposed on the progressive increase in glacier growth are frequent, high-amplitude GIC fluctuations throughout the late Holocene; the most significant periods of GIC expansion occurred at ~3.7 and 2.8 ka, and throughout the past ~2 ka.”

Image Source: Schweinsberg et al., 2019

The authors cite a Greenland Ice Sheet temperature reconstruction showing modern temperatures (extending through 2015) are not unusual in the context of the last 10,000 years.

Image Source: Schweinsberg et al., 2019

The source for the Schweinsberg et al. (2019) Greenland temperature reconstruction is Kobashi et al., 2017, who concluded a) Greenland was about 2.9°C warmer than today during the Early Holocene, b) there has been no obvious net warming since the 1930s, and a c) slight cooling trend since 2005 (in accord with North Atlantic cooling).

Image Source: Kobashi et al., 2017

26 responses to “For Most Of The Last 10,000 Years, Greenland Ice Sheet and Glacier Volume Was Smaller Than Today”

  1. John L Kelly
  2. Dale

    Good information Kenneth and John as well.
    Thanks to the both of you.

  3. richard verney

    The planet is still rebounding from the LIA.

    It will not have fully come out of the LIA, until Greenland/Iceland experience the same temperatures that they experienced in the Medieval Warm Period, ie., the period before the planet began its descent into the LIA.

    We therefore need to see at least 1 to 2 degrees further warming, in high Northern Latitues, before we have fully rebounded from the LIA.

    1. Stephen Phillips

      I bet you know what you mean by “LIA”

      1. wert

        By the LIA he probably means the time circa 1850 when there was exceptionally cold and icy in Greenland and at the Arctic sea.

        While this proves not much about CO2, it does show that attributing the recent Arctic sea ice loss or Greenland mass balance changes to CO2 is a little bit immature. We must, of course, think if we should be honest sceptics or should we be more efficent by outright shaming these people who jump into warmist scaremongering.

        What caused the LIA? I’m betting on century-scale natural fluctuation driven by oceanic factors, not the Sun.

        1. bobn

          But the ocean is driven by the sun, and the sun regulates the impact of cosmic rays and thus clouds. Climate always comes back to the giant nuclear generator in the sky.

      2. John Q Public

        Little Ice Age

        1. CEA

          When they has Little Mammoths 👍

          1. Yonason


  4. Kurt in Switzerland

    Glaciologists, including Switzerland’s Thomas Stoker, know that the early Holocene was, apart from a couple of poorly understood “oscillations” {cold temperature swings which famously rebounded}, warmer than today.

    Yet they fail to even mention this simple fact.

    Because repeating this fact is inconvenient, unhelpful or potentially “career limiting”?

    Take your pick.

  5. Yonason

    This has been posted on before, but it might be nice to see it again.

    We’ve probably all heard of the WWII P38 that crash landed in Iceland on it’s way to Europe.

    I thought it might be interesting to illustrate just how deep that is by showing a13 story building – 250 ft from road to roof.×459.png

    (NOTE: It’s the big one in the center of the photo.)

  6. For Most Of The Last 10,000 Years, Greenland Ice Sheet Was Smaller Than Today - The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

    […] Full post […]

  7. Fran Manns

    Ya gotta dumb this down for the media…

  8. Ian L. McQueen

    I think they (plural???) crash-landed on Greenland, not Iceland. An easy error to make.
    Ian M

    This has been posted on before, but it might be nice to see it again.

    We’ve probably all heard of the WWII P38 that crash landed in Iceland on it’s way to Europe.

    1. Yonason

      Yes, Ian, it was Greenland, as it says in the articles. And yes, it was “they.” I wrote “it” because I was only writing about the one that was recovered, aka “Glacier Girl.” I had it as Iceland elsewhere, and caught that, but missed this one.


  9. P Reynolds

    Very interesting and I await with baited breath it’s mention in the BBC news later today.

  10. Most Of The Ice Currently Melting On Greenland Only Formed During The Last Few Hundred Years. – Truth is difficult but essential…
  11. SebastianH

    Let’s see what the actual author of the paper really concludes:

    Yep, Greenland has been slowly cooling for 5000 years due to very slow, well-known changes in Earth’s orbit & tilt. AND IT SHOULD STILL BE COOLING, BUT IT IS NOT, BECAUSE OF FOSSIL FUELS. -Sincerely, Lead author of the powerful evidence

  12. Energy & Environmental Newsletter: August 12, 2019 - Master Resource

    […] Astrology? Greta Throws Journalists Out Of Climate Summit July 2019 Was Not the Warmest on Record For Most Of The Last 10,000 Years, Greenland Ice Sheet Was Smaller Than Today Greenland Ice Melt Shock – The Terrifying Truth! Weather Survey: Democrats and Republicans Five […]

  13. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #371 | Watts Up With That?
  14. Weekly Abstract of Local weather and Power # 371 – Next Gadget

    […] For Most Of The Last 10,000 Years, Greenland Ice Sheet and Glacier Volume Was Smaller Than Today […]

  15. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #371 - Scienceexist
  16. Energy And Environmental Newsletter – August 12th 2019 | PA Pundits - International

    […] For Most Of The Last 10,000 Years, Greenland Ice Sheet Was Smaller Than Today […]

  17. Für mehr als 120 Millionen EURO: „Polarstern“ ein Jahr eingefroren im Nordpolarmeer – wobleibtdieglobaleerwaermung

    […] Zum Vergrößern anklicken. Der Grund für die Abkühlung der Erde seit rund 8000 Jahren im Holozän – und damit auch für das kräftige Wachstum des Grönlandeises in dieser Zeit – sind die Milankovic-Zyklen. Die Grafik stellt den Zusammenhang her zwischen den globalen Temperaturen und der Obliquity, der schwankenden Neigung der Erdachse zur Sonne, wodurch sich die Wendekreise über Zyklen von rund 41.000 Jahren verkleinern und vergrößern. Derzeit werden die Wendekreise kleiner, was zu einer geringeren Fläche mit stärkerer Sonneneinstrahlung wegen eines niedrigeren Einstrahlungswinkels führt: Die kalten polaren Klimazonen breiten sich langsam in Richtung Äquator aus. Gegenteilige Behauptungen im aktuellen IPCC-Bericht sind also „Fake-News“. „Derzeit beträgt die Ekliptikschiefe 23,43° und liegt etwa im Mittel zwischen den Extremwerten. Sie nimmt langsam ab und wird ihr Minimum in voraussichtlich 8.000 Jahren erreichen…Lässt man nicht-astromische Klimafaktoren außer acht, sind folglich bei geringer Achsneigung die Voraussetzungen für die Bildung von kontinentalen Eisschilden insgesamt günstiger als bei hoher Achsneigung.“ Quelle: Kommentar zu „Greenland Ice Sheet and Glacier Volume Was Smaller Than Today“ […]

  18. Yonason

    By the time truth gets its pants on, lies have run around the world several times.

    Pants on, at last, and ready for a stroll.

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