Posts Tagged ‘Greenland’

Contrary to alarmist rumour, Greenland ice sheet melt lower and mass higher than the long term average

June 16, 2016

We have had an El Niño year which has only just reached neutral or slightly negative conditions. Whether it will be followed by a La Niña will not be clear until the negative conditions persist for some 9 months.

Recently we have had screaming headlines claiming that the Greenland ice melt in April was unprecedented and the region was experiencing its hottest year ever and catastrophe was nigh (here, here and here). Arctic amplification was to blame. The world was about to be swamped. But it was all just nonsense. All just the usual alarmist exaggerations. Some of it was just the usual editorial creativity and some was misconduct bordering on fraud.

The melt area according to the Danish Meteorological Institute had a peak or two – as it does – but is running well under the mean:

The percentage of the total area of the ice where the melting occurred from January 1 until today (in blue). For comparison the average for the period 1990-2013 is shown in the dark grey curve.

The percentage of the total area of the ice where the melting occurred from January 1 until today (in blue). For comparison the average for the period 1990-2013 is shown in the dark grey curve. (Source DMI)

Similarly the surface ice mass balance shows that it is currently running well above the long term mean (1990 – 2013):

The accumulated surface mass balance from September 1st to now (blue line, Gt) and the season 2011-12 (red) which had very high summer melt in Greenland. For comparison, the mean curve from the period 1990-2013 is shown (dark grey). (Source DMI)

The accumulated surface mass balance from September 1st to now (blue line, Gt) and the season 2011-12 (red) which had very high summer melt in Greenland. For comparison, the mean curve from the period 1990-2013 is shown (dark grey). (Source DMI)

Since September 1st, the Greenland ice sheet has gained about 550 billion tonnes (Gt) of mass, which is higher than the long term mean by some 5 -10%.

Ah Well!

I give it about 5 years before the global warming pendulum swings back to an alarmist global freezing meme.



Greenland seasonal ice melt has hardly started and is running more than one month late

May 21, 2015

The Danish Meteorological Institute reports that the Greenland seasonal ice melt is running very late and more than a month behind the 1990 -2011 mean. It is still at very low levels and the lowest recorded for this day of the year. The alarmists would have us believe that Greenland ice was/is/will be/should be melting at unprecedented rates. But there is, as always, a gross disconnect between reality and their models and their wishful thinking.

The percentage of the total area of the ice where the melting occurred from January 1 until today (in blue). For comparison the average for the period 1990-2011 is shown in the dark grey curve. The variation from year to year for each of the days during the melt season ​are shown as the gray shaded area.

Greenland ice melt far behind normal in 2015

Greenland ice melt far behind normal in 2015

h/t Real Science

Faroe Islands were colonised 300-500 years before the Vikings

August 20, 2013

Somebody got there before the Vikings did – some 300 and 500 years earlier. Norse settlers reached Iceland in the 9th century and probably reached Greenland around the 11th century. But the archaeological evidence is that some unknown colonists had already reached the Faroes in the 4th- 6th century and again between the 6th -8th centuries. There is a theory that they could have been monks from Ireland (St. Brendan?) but I think it is still highly likely that these early explorers/colonists were sea-faring peoples out of Scandinavia.

Mike J. Church, Símun V. Arge, Kevin J. Edwards, Philippa L. AscoughJulie M. Bond, Gordon T. Cook, Steve J. Dockrill, Andrew J. DugmoreThomas H. McGovernClaire Nesbitt and Ian A. Simpson, The Vikings were not the first colonizers of the Faroe Islands, Quaternary Science Reviews (2013)

Faroe Islands -Google Earth

Faroe Islands -Google Earth


We report on the earliest archaeological evidence from the Faroe Islands, placing human colonization in the 4th–6th centuries AD, at least 300–500 years earlier than previously demonstrated archaeologically. The evidence consists of an extensive wind-blown sand deposit containing patches of burnt peat ash of anthropogenic origin. Samples of carbonised barley grains from two of these ash patches produced 14C dates of two pre-Viking phases within the 4th–6th and late 6th–8th centuries AD. A re-evaluation is required of the nature, scale and timing of the human colonization of the Faroes and the wider North Atlantic region.

Durham University Press Release:

The Faroe Islands were colonised much earlier than previously believed, and it wasn’t by the Vikings, according to new research.

New archaeological evidence places human colonisation in the 4th to 6th centuries AD, at least 300-500 years earlier than previously demonstrated. 

The research, directed by Dr Mike J Church from Durham University and Símun V Arge from the National Museum of the Faroe Islands as part of the multidisciplinary project “Heart of the Atlantic”, is published in the Quaternary Science Reviews.

The research challenges the nature, scale and timing of human settlement of the wider North Atlantic region and has implications for the colonisation of similar island groups across the world.

Sandoy, Faroes - Google Maps

Sandoy, Faroes – Google Maps

The Faroes were the first stepping stone beyond Shetland for the dispersal of European people across the North Atlantic that culminated on the shores of continental North America in the 11th century AD, about 500 years before Columbus made his famous voyage.

The research was carried out on an archaeological site at Á Sondum on the island of Sandoy. 

Analysis showed an extensive windblown sand deposit containing patches of burnt peat ash from human activity, dating human settlement to pre-Viking phases. These ash spreads contained barley grains which were accidentally burnt in domestic hearths and were then spread by humans onto the windblown sand surface during the 4th-6thcenturies and 6th-8th centuries, a common practice identified in the North Atlantic during this period to control wind erosion.

Lead author Dr Mike Church, from Durham University’s Department of Archaeology, said: “There is now firm archaeological evidence for the human colonisation of the Faroes by people some 300-500 years before the large scale Viking colonisation of the 9th century AD, although we don’t yet know who these people were or where they came from.

“The majority of archaeological evidence for this early colonisation is likely to have been destroyed by the major Viking invasion, explaining the lack of proof found in the Faroes for the earlier settlement. This also raises questions about the timing of human activity on other islands systems where similarly evidence may have been destroyed.”

Co-author, Símun V Arge from the National Museum of the Faroe Islands, said: “Although we don’t know who the people were that settled here and where they came from, it is clear that they did prepare peat for use, by cutting, drying and burning it which indicates they must have stayed here for some time.

Greenland votes today on whether to let the Chinese in

March 12, 2013

Greenland flag


Greenland’s main opposition leader, who campaigned on a platform of greater control and higher taxes of foreign miners, gained the biggest number of votes in a national parliamentary election, underscoring a backlash against the island’s fast globalisation.

Aleqa Hammond’s Siumut party won around 42 percent of votes, or around 14 seats in the 31-seat parliament, meaning she will need to form a coalition. Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist won around 34 percent of votes, according to official results published by Greenland’s national KNR broadcaster.


Not that it is very relevant to the “general” election being held in Greenland today, but I had not really appreciated that Greenland (and half of Iceland and a large chunk of Siberia and part of Japan) are part of the North American Continental plate.  Greenland has been inhabited – off and on – for some 5000 years (from c. 2500 – 3000 BCE) and initially by the ancestors of the Arctic peoples (paleo-Eskimos). The Scandinavian link goes back to around 1200 years ago (900 CE).

 Norsemen settled on the uninhabited southern part of Greenland beginning in the 10th century. Inuit peoples arrived in the 13th century. The Norse colonies disappeared in the late 15th century. In the early 18th century, Scandinavia and Greenland came back into contact with each other, and Denmark established sovereignty over the island. Having been ruled by Denmark-Norway for centuries, Greenland became a Danish colony in 1814, and a part of the Danish Realm in 1953 under the Constitution of Denmark. In 1979, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, and in 2008, Greenlanders voted to transfer more power from the Danish royal government to the local Greenlandic government. Under the new structure, in effect since June 21, 2009, the Danish government retains control of foreign affairs, national defence, the police force, and the justice system. …

Following World War II, the United States developed a geopolitical interest in Greenland, and in 1946 the United States offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100,000,000, but Denmark refused to sell.

Kuupik Kleist, prime minister of Greenland Рус...

Kuupik Kleist, prime minister of Greenland (wikipedia)

The Inuit Ataqatigiit Party which is currently in power in the “Home Rule” Government is a curious mixture of being both left-leaning and somewhat nationalistic. Their target is for an economic and politically independent Greenland and want to reduce the financial support from the Danish government by increasing the rate at which Greenland’s mineral resources are exploited. But to do that they will need labour and it seems that this could come from China. If they win the election today it could open the door for 2,000 – 3,000 Chinese engineers and miners. The opposition Siumut Party seems to have very similar goals but they don’t agree with bringing the Chinese in.

Aleqa Hammond Siumut leader

The BBC reports:

Voters go to the polls in Greenland on Tuesday, in an election dominated by the question of how the territory should exploit its mineral riches. Nearly 70% of 57,000 inhabitants are eligible to vote in Greenland, a Danish territory with partial autonomy.

Many are keen to reduce reliance on Denmark’s annual subsidy of $576m (£387m).

Iron, uranium and rare earths lie underground, but opinions differ over how to extract them. The latest poll predicts a tight race between the governing left-leaning Inuit Ataqatigiit party (IA) and the opposition Siumut party, reports the BBC’s Malcolm Brabant from the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

They will be fighting for 31 seats in a home rule government. There is only one polling station in the capital, Nuuk – a town of 15,000 with only two traffic lights.

The IA – headed by Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist – is in favour of importing cheap, foreign, mainly Chinese labour to mine iron ore. Siumut – led by Aleqa Hammond – is opposed to the plan, which could see Greenland’s population increase by 5%.

The election will be monitored in China, which wants Greenland’s iron for its expanding economy, and in turn by European Union officials who have expressed concern about China’s influence in the territory. ..

Noted in passing 5th January 2013

January 5, 2013

Wildlife gallery from Greenland: Photo: Uri Golman

A stunning gallery of wildlife pictures from Greenland.

In the ever-changing world of the web and personal computing, a reminder of the MS wrist-watch and other 10 EPIC CES fails.

Science Fraud – Another web-site silenced by legal threats and the University of Regensburg has rescinded the doctorate of a dentist who had submitted a dissertation that was essentially that of her husband’s.

A new open-access paper in Earth System Dynamics showing that recent global warming is not statistically significantly related to anthropogenic forcing. Matt Ridley has 2 interesting pieces on how fossil fuels have actually greened the planet and how Europeans seem intent on making their future as bad as they can.

A new kidney transplantation racket revealed in India where the price of a kidney varies between Rs. 70,000 and 300,000 ($1,400 to $6,000). Indian Supreme Court reacts to over 2,200 deaths in clinical trials carried out by international pharmaceutical companies in India.

Some modern humans who live natural lifestyles in the forests of Earth still climb more or less like a chimpanzee and ‘Lucy’ could climb like chimpsJumping genes and horizontal gene transfer leads to the conclusion that cows are more closely related to snakes than to elephants!

Wallace’s letter to Darwin in 1864 doubting the assertion that the aristocracy are more beautiful than the middle-classes. Lead concentration in Greenland ice shows that when Rome fell there was a real reduction of industrial activity which lasted almost a millenium. It could be that climate change is not the great destroyer but is the great enabler and that many of the evolutionary developments of modern humans have been driven by natural – and rapid – climate change. Archaeological sleuthing sheds more light on the strange goings-on during the mutiny on the VOC Retourschip Batavia, in 1629.

New paper – “Warming since 1850 is mainly the result of natural climatic variations”

September 13, 2012

A new paper in Global and Planetary Change byNorwegian researchers has identified persistent cyclic variations in temperature records from Svalbard and Greenland. They find that some of the identified cycles correspond to variations in the Moons’ orbit around Earth and some correspond to solar variations. They find that warming since 1850 is mainly the result of natural climatic variations and conclude that the persistence of cycles makes climate forecasting feasible for limited time ranges.

And if  “warming since 1850 is mainly the result of natural climatic variations” then it just confirms that the theory that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for global warming remains in the realm of speculation.

Identifying natural contributions to late Holocene climate change

by Ole Humlum, Jan-Erik Solheim and Kjell Stordahl


Of Mice and Vikings

March 24, 2012

A recent paper from a multinational team of researchers from the UK, USA, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden describes studies of mytochondrial DNA (mtDNA)  in mice to track ancient Viking movements.  The mice genetics confirm the movements of the Vikings some 1000 years ago to Britain and Greenland and Iceland. They do not however provide any confirmation of the fleeting Viking presence in Newfoundland.

Viking movements: map from

“Modern house mouse populations were sampled across Iceland (9 localities), at Narsaq in Greenland (near the Viking Age ‘Eastern Settlement’) and in the north-west of Newfoundland (near the Norwegian Viking archaeological site at L’Anse aux Meadows, 4 localities).  Ancient DNA was obtained from archaeological house mouse bones. In Greenland, these were from the Norwegian Viking ‘Eastern Settlement’ (3 individuals) and ‘Western Settlement’ (2 individuals), dating from between 1015– 1165 AD. In Iceland, these were from four archaeological sites in the north of Iceland, three of which date to the 10th C (1 individual per site) and one of which dates to the Medieval period or later (1477–1717 AD; 2 individuals”.

E P Jones, K Skirnisson, T H McGovern, M TP Gilbert, E Willerslev, J B Searle. Fellow travellers: a concordance of colonization patterns between mice and men in the North Atlantic regionBMC Evolutionary Biology, 2012; 12 (1): 35 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-12-35


Discovery of Icelandic ocean current unsettles “settled” climate theories

August 23, 2011

So much for settled science.

A new paper overturns previous thinking that the East Greenland Current was the main source of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The newly discovered North Icelandic Jet (NIJ) is now thought to dominate the return of dense water south through gaps in the Greenland-Scotland Ridge to keep the “great ocean conveyor belt” moving.

Kjetil Våge, Robert S. Pickart, Michael A. Spall, Héðinn Valdimarsson, Steingrímur Jónsson, Daniel J. Torres, Svein Østerhus & Tor Eldevik. Significant role of the North Icelandic Jet in the formation of Denmark Strait overflow waterNature Geoscience, 21 August 2011 DOI:10.1038/ngeo1234

graphic by Reuters

 Science Daily reports:

ScienceDaily (Aug. 21, 2011) — An international team of researchers, including physical oceanographers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has confirmed the presence of a deep-reaching ocean circulation system off Iceland that could significantly influence the ocean’s response to climate change in previously unforeseen ways. 

The current, called the North Icelandic Jet (NIJ), contributes to a key component of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), also known as the “great ocean conveyor belt,” which is critically important for regulating Earth’s climate. As part of the planet’s reciprocal relationship between ocean circulation and climate, this conveyor belt transports warm surface water to high latitudes where the water warms the air, then cools, sinks, and returns towards the equator as a deep flow.

Crucial to this warm-to-cold oceanographic choreography is the Denmark Strait Overflow Water (DSOW), the largest of the deep, overflow plumes that feed the lower limb of the conveyor belt and return the dense water south through gaps in the Greenland-Scotland Ridge.

For years it has been thought that the primary source of the Denmark Overflow is a current adjacent to Greenland known as the East Greenland Current. However, this view was recently called into question by two oceanographers from Iceland who discovered a deep current flowing southward along the continental slope of Iceland. They named the current the North Icelandic Jet and hypothesized that it formed a significant part of the overflow water.

Now, in a paper published in the Aug. 21 online issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, the team of researchers — including the two Icelanders who discovered it — has confirmed that the Icelandic Jet is not only a major contributor to the DSOW but “is the primary source of the densest overflow water.” ……..

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