Greenland ice loss continues to accelerate

The latest measurements continue to measure accelerating mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet. The latest data from the GRACE satellites (noting that it doesn’t include the full 2011 summer season, ending in July 2011) shows that Greenland mass loss has been steadily increasing since satellites began measurements in 2002. The mass loss started spreading up the northwest margin a few years ago.

Figure 1: rate of mass change from Greenland over 2003-2007 and 2003-2011 periods. 

The average mass loss from Greenland over 2002 to 2011 is 225 billion tonnes per year. This rate of mass loss has been increasing over the last decade. There was also an unusually large amount of mass loss during the 2010 summer due to extensive melting of snow and ice.

Figure 2: Greenland ice mass anomaly - deviation from the average ice mass over the 2002 to 2011 period. NOTE: this doesn't mean the ice sheet was gaining ice before 2006 but that ice mass was above the 2002 to 2010 average.

Many thanks to John Wahr for sharing the images and Tenney Naumer from Climate Change: The Next Generation for passing it onto SkS.

Posted by John Cook on Tuesday, 11 October, 2011

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