• Media ignore 60 years of cooling and ice growth prior to past 25 years of ice loss
  • Pace of ice loss amounts to less than 2 inches of sea level rise per century
  • Even the modest recent ice loss has slowed down since 2011

CNN and other media are raising false alarm about Greenland’s ice sheet. The media are reporting that a recent study shows, as CNN put it, “Greenland’s ice sheet is currently melting seven times faster than it was in 1992.” Adding further fright to the news, CNN claims, “This ice sheet holds enough water to raise global sea levels by more than 24 feet.” This seems rather alarming, until looking closer at the facts.

The study that CNN referenced, published in December 2019, asserts, “Although the ice sheet was close to a state of balance in the 1990s, annual losses have risen since then….” However, temperatures recorded by weather stations in Greenland show that temperatures were declining from approximately 1930 through 1990 (see, for example, here and here).

It may be true that, after approximately 60 years of a cooling trend and presumably accumulating ice, the cooling trend finally ended. Also, the moment that the cooling finally ended would put the ice sheet “close to a state of balance.” However, one might expect that a certain amount of warming and ice loss would likely occur after 60 years of cooling and ice growth finally ended.

It seems curious that media reports don’t mention the 60 years of cooling and ice growth prior to the recent 25 years of warming. Also, choosing 1992 as the baseline for comparing the pace of current ice loss seems to be cherry-picking to attain alarming results. Naturally, the very beginning stages of ice loss as ice extent nudges off “balance” would be smaller than the pace of subsequent ice loss – even if the subsequent ice loss is modest.

More important than the ratio of current ice loss compared to the pace of 1992 is the total amount of ice that is melting. The study reported, “In all, Greenland lost 3,800 ± 339 billion tons of ice between 1992 and 2018, causing the mean sea level to rise by 10.6 ± 0.9 millimeters.” Yet 10.6 millimeters is less than one-half of an inch. Over the span of a quarter century, Greenland ice melt has had less than one-half of an inch impact on global sea level. Assuming cooling cycles don’t occur again this century and Greenland ice continues melting at the pace of the past 25 years, this will result in less than 2 inches of sea level rise during the entire next century.

Also, the study itself acknowledges that the pace of ice loss peaked in 2011, meaning the pace of ice loss has declined since then.

The biggest new story regarding Greenland ice melt is there has finally been a break in the long-term cooling of Greenland. The ice loss that is occurring is of almost no significance regarding global sea level.

Tiffany Taylor (TTaylor@heartland.org) is an associate policy analyst at The Heartland Institute.

Tiffany Taylor is an associate policy analyst for the Heartland Institute.


  1. The melting isn’t much if it continues at the same pace as it has been at over the last 25 years. But if the warming trend of the planet continues then that pace will likely increase. The real story of Greenland ice melting I feel is somewhere between the story our liberal media sources like CNN like to portray and this article, which I feel is not acknowledging the likelihood that the melting of the ice-pack will more likely to increase than stay what it has been over the last 25 years.

  2. This is very useful information. I read, like everyone else, the alarming news about Greenland, and I “suspect” that it’s being blown out of all proportion. But this article provides FACTS and DETAILS that buttress my suspicion that it’s almost ALL hype.

  3. Thank you, Tiffany, for your timely and relevant article concerning the Greenland ice melt and the corresponding facts concerning the case. I appreciate the tone, pace, and subject matter. Some people only want to hear what substantiates what they already believe and hold onto their dogmas regardless of the truth. Keep up the great work and may you continue to expose and reveal the truth in every way you get inspired to.

  4. Even THIS article fails to mention ANY of the many ACTIVE volcanoes under the Antarctic (affecting Greenland, as well!). In 2017, Geologists at the University of Edinburgh and The Geological Society of London discovered 91 NEW volcanoes below the Antarctic ice sheet. Bringing the “known” total to over 150 volcanoes. Many are active. PS: THEIR words, “Under the massive Antarctic Ice Sheet lies one of the densest clusters of volcanoes in the world.” PPS: I wonder why Science and the news RUNS from ALL that TRUTH?! Why does today’s $cience fear truth? Why does “$cience” actively $TEER the world’$ focus and the world’s $heeple’s “truth”? ~ Well, the answer to that, is “THE” problem !

  5. See Willis Eschenbach over on WUWT where the Greenland ice loss is three ten thousandths of one per cent of Greenland mass or some figure like that. I’m scared


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