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Greenland Ice Melt Spikes Far Beyond Normal in April 2016

In scientific assessment of variation, a typical broad measurement of what’s normally expected is the range between 2 standard deviations above the mean and 2 standard deviations below the mean.  In a normal distribution of events, 95% of events will have measurements within +/- 2 standard deviations of the mean.  To have an event with some characteristic more than 2 standard deviations above the average of that characteristic means you have a rather unusual event on your hands.  By scientific standards, this is the moment when one ought to take notice.

In the following graph from the National Snow and Ice Data Center,  the mean daily value of the extent of Greenland ice melt for each day of the year between 1981 and 2010 is indicated by a dotted blue line.  The range of observations during those years occurring between +2 and -2 standard deviations of the mean is indicated by an area of values in gray.  The red value you see in this graph is a measurement of the actual extent of Greenland ice melt in 2016.

Greenland Ice Melt, 2016, compared to average and typical values for 1981-2010, source NSIDC

These are not normal times. It is time for us to take notice.


Number of web pages on Bernie Sanders’ campaign website mentioning Greenland: 3,070.

Number of web pages on Hillary Clinton’s campaign website mentioning Greenland: 0.

Number of web pages on Donald Trump’s campaign website mentioning Greenland: 1 — referring to the town of Greenland, New Hampshire.

17 thoughts on “Greenland Ice Melt Spikes Far Beyond Normal in April 2016”

    1. Al Hopfmann says:

      Thank you for finding a very important article which seems to have been conveniently ignored by the Establishment Media. More scientific objectivity like this is needed in the “climate change” debate. How often have you seen a discussion of the carbon equivalent molar heat of combustion of fossil fuels compared to the carbon equivalent molar heat of combustion of decaying vegetation? Or a discussion of the cause of global warming on Mars? Or the immense factor of geothermal activity at an immense range of depths? Far too many people who fashion themselves as environmental experts seem to be blatantly ignorant of much basic biochemistry and chemical engineering.

    2. J Clifford says:

      Bollox? Bollox?!?

      The news Jim cites is from a scientific data collection agency.

      The opinion article you site is from Climate Change Dispatch an organization with the following avowed political “purpose”: “Global Warmists (those who believe man is responsible for any fluctuation in the planet’s overall surface temperature) have embraced climate change as a religion and not as a scientific endeavor for answers. We are here to change that.”

      Frank, you really need to try harder than coming up with garbage like this.

  1. Jim Cook says:

    I find it interesting how much Frank and Al read into what I wrote. Frank, the research article on which the blog post you cite has been based is not about the spike. I encourage you to read the original research article for context — that blog post is misleading.

    1. Al Hopfmann says:

      My comment was not about what you wrote. It was strictly about the exposure of informative articles like the one that Frank shared with us being largely ignored by the Establishment Media because it doesn’t fit the political agenda of the unlimited government advocates.

  2. Mark says:

    Frank, while the idea of geothermal melt is interesting and quite possibly true, the figure from the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows SURFACE ice melting. Geothermal melt is from the underside of the glaciers. Considering the insulating properties of the ice, there is no way that geothermal activity can be responsible for surface melting. Only a warming atmosphere can cause an increase in surface melting.

  3. ella says:

    That is one way to bring politics into global climate change, Jim Cook, but it makes sense in a way. As we all know, glaciers are disappearing all over the world, and yet sea level rise is not extreme – yet. There is another graph at which shows that in 2012 the ice melt was a great deal more than it has been yet in 2016, and did indeed exceed the +/- standard deviation. At least that is what it looks like to me. Please correct me if I am wrong. This year seems to be well within the mean. At any rate, it would be nice for the people of Greenland to actually see their homeland green again, wouldn’t it?

    1. Jim says:

      2012 is a famous year in Greenland science circles, Ella, for just the reason you cite.

      1. ella says:

        There was a Solar Maximum in 2013 that began in 2012 with some brilliant displays. The Solar Max may well have caused the Greenland ice melt of 2012.

        1. Mark says:

          The solar max for 2012-2013 was the smallest since 1906. If there’s a correlation between solar max and Greenland Ice melt can you explain the greater ice melt in 2012 compared to 2001 when the solar max was larger?? And why are we observing high melt in 2016 when the solar cycle is in decline?

          1. ella says:

            Only speculation: When the solar flares heat the atmosphere the Earth absorbs some of that heat , which is given off into the atmosphere in phases. There is so much surface water now that cooling does not take place as it once did, maybe not at all, until the sun ‘sets’ over the polar region. The prolonged warmer water and air, which are related, then causes what appears to be delayed reaction melting. Just speculation. Being too lazy to look it up.

    2. Mark says:

      Ella, if you think sea level rise is not extreme, you ought to visit Charleston, SC during one of our “nuisance tides”. These events are becoming more common every year. Back in the 1960s we had about 5 days annually when extremely high tides would flood downtown streets. Now it’s happening over 20 times per year. I’ve seen first hand the tide coming up through the city storm sewer system onto the streets. And, if high tide coincides with a thunderstorm, we have deep flooding with impassable streets and destroyed cars. I’ve had to walk through 1-2 feet of water in the last year or two. This was unheard of when I first moved here over 20 years ago.

      Charleston is spending millions of dollars to fight sea level rise. We’re installing a drainage system with deep underground tunnels and massive pumps to handle the storm waters so streets don’t flood. We wouldn’t be spending this much money if sea level weren’t rising.

      1. ella says:

        Do you know what is causing the increase in ‘nuisance’ tides? Why they are occurring more often? If it were sea level rise, the tides would be higher everyday, not just on certain occasions. In Florida over 20 years ago, I visited the Orlando area. There were sea walls built on beach condo’s and the beaches were man made. They were increasing the height of the sea ‘wells’ on the beach side condo I was in while I was there. The lowest floor was the parking garage, which was also being protected, but that was soon to be closed off due to the rising water. Sea level rise is real alright and already covering parts of Miami and other cities in the lowest levels. There just isn’t enough to build a sea wall that long. Plus it won’t do any good soon because of ground water rise. If it is that bad where you live now, I would seek higher ground.

        1. Mark says:

          High tides are not the same height every day. The height depends on the phase of the moon. The highest tides of the month occur around the full and new moons. These tides are inches higher than they were a few decades ago and have reached the point now where the streets flood. As average sea level increases, the number of high tides that exceed the critical level increase in frequency.

          As far as moving to higher ground is concerned, you should realize that downtown Charleston comprises hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate. Are the owners going to be compensated when their homes become uninhabitable? Who will compensate them? The insurance companies? Who will pay back the insurance companies?

          Already we’re looking a some beach front properties in the are that have waves washing around their foundations during extreme high tides. It will be just a matter of a few years before these houses are condemned. Will the owners of these million-dollar houses be compensated? Will the mortgage companies have to write off the losses?

          These are some of the costs associated with climate change that few people ponder. Can we afford to allow billions of dollars worth of real estate simply wash away? How much money are we willing to spend to save this real estate? Who will pay for it. Will the individual property owners pick up the tab, or will the government pay for it, or will we all have to chip in (through higher insurance rates) to pay for these losses?

          1. ella says:

            I have had to leave behind property at personal loss. It is one thing to try to salvage soil and habitat/business under circumstances that will, within the next 5000 years or so, reverse to a habitable situation. It is another to turn to ‘money’ and believe that will solve all of your problems. Which will cost less? Moving to an area that is suitably high enough to avoid near future tidal flooding (500 years or more) will cost much less than millions to attempt to temporarily block the onslaught of the oceans. As for the buildings, they may be dissembled and moved, if possible, and of course the contents can be removed to a better location for future use. Research the Mediterranean area. There are many cities underwater. The waterways have been rising for centuries, it is nothing new. Nothing you do will stop the momentum. Your property has less value now than it did 10 years ago due to the sea level rise. It is an eventual consequence of building at sea level. Best to move what you have to a different location where you can be comfortable and consider that a good bargain as FEMA cannot continue to subsidize those who merely want ‘historical’ property, that is literally going underwater. I am not insensitive to the emotional pain and expense that is involved. There is a lot of unoccupied land at higher elevations that will one day have an ocean view. Remember, the value of your property now, is just what you and others have assigned to it, plus the actual investment you have in it. It ain’t fun losing all of that work and money to some act of nature, neither is it fun losing it to someone who just wants to take it away from you – land grabbers. Consider that at least this is an act of nature.

  4. Mark says:

    As if on cue, here’s an article detailing our government’s first expenditure to compensate people for the loss of their real estate.

    1. ella says:

      And there it is, the government is beginning to move people. How long will the money last? And it is just to relocate them, not compensate for former property value.

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