Ice Melt in Greenland

Updating Gore on Greenland's Glaciers


During his testimony before a Senate committee yesterday on the manifold dangers of man-made global warming, Al Gore colorfully declared:

"Like a beating heart, and the permanent ice looks almost like blood spilling out of a body along the eastern coast of Greenland." 

The Nobelist and Oscarist appears to be a bit behind on his science. Earlier this month, researchers at the American Geophyiscal Union's annual meeting reported that Greenland's galloping glaciers have slowed back down to their usual stately amble. As Richard Kerr reported in the January 23 issue of Science:

So much for Greenland ice's Armaggedon. "It has come to an end," glaciologist Tavi Murray of Swansea University in the United Kingdom said during a session at the meeting. "There seems to have been a synchronous switch-off" of the speed-up, she said. Nearly everywhere around southeast Greenland, outlet glacier flows have returned to the levels of 2000…

But what about the future? Further man-made global warming would contribute to melting Greenland's glaciers, but the Armageddon scenario of 20 foot sea rises this century is very unlikely. And Science cites the glaciologists as warning:

"Our results imply that the recent rates of mass loss in Greenland's outlet glaciers are transient and should not be extrapolated into the future." 

Given his oft-stated devotion to scientific accuracy, will someone please let Gore know the good news that the bleeding of Greenland's glaciers has been stanched?