Greenland Ice Sheet

Graphical catastrophic squawking…

0.42% of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) has melted since 1900!!!

The GrIS has lost the volumetric equivalent of a Lake Superior worth of ice!!!

Based on the asserted loss of ice since 1900, the GrIS has lost the equivalent of a Lake Superior-sized ice cube. However the GrIs remained larger than the Gulf of Mexico (by volume) despite losing a Lake Superior. The Gulf of Mexico has a volume of about 2.5 million km3. If the GrIS melted, the volume of water would be about 2.71 million km3. Before losing Lake Superior, the equivalent water volume was 2.72 million km3.

Catastrophic squawking, wrti large…

Most of the melting since the beginning of the Holocene has occurred on the outboard, lower elevation portions of the GrIS – Same as it ever was. X-axis is in calendar years AD(BC). Elevation reconstruction data from Vinther et al., 2009. Map from Weißbach et al., 2015.

The image below is a GPR (ground-penetrating radar) cross-section of the GrIS.  It is literally a work of art.  GPR is analalogous in many ways to the reflection seismic data that we use in oil & gas exploration.  If you click on this link, you will see a full-size image of the cross-section.  Note that most of the ice is above the 12 ka horizon.  This is very close to the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary.  It indicates that most of the ice was deposited since the end of the last Pleistocene glacial stage (ice age in layman’s terms).

A Geological Perspective of the Greenland Ice Sheet

According to the “ice sheet goeth” graph, since 2001, Greenland lost about 3,600 gigatonnes of ice or about 3,840 km3 … That equates  to a 16 km x 16 km x 16 km cube of ice (3√ 3,840 = 15.66).  That’s YUGE!  Right? Not really.

It’s not even a tiny nick when spread out over roughly 1.7 million square kilometers of ice surface.  That works out a sheet of ice less about 2 meters thick… Not even a rounding error compared to the average thickness of the Greenland ice sheet.

The average thickness of the Greenland ice sheet is approximately 1.5 km (1,500 meters).  2 meters is about 0.15% of 1,500 meters.

From a thickness perspective, 2 meters looks like this:

When some actual perspective is applied, it is obvious that “the ice sheet goeth” nowhere:


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