About two weeks ago, NOAA released the annual version of their latest Arctic Report Card. Of course, the usual media outlets peddled the requisite doomsday headlines when describing the report’s contents, deploying words like grim and dire and pedantically issuing a failing grade so as to paint a picture of an Arctic climate teetering on the brink of catastrophe.
It was on page 33 that the authors divulged the Greenland Ice Sheet’s mass balance statistics for 2015-’16.
2016 Arctic Report Card “Between April 2015 and April 2016 (the most recent period of available data) there was a net ice melt loss of 191 Gt. This is about the same as the April 2014-April 2015 mass loss (190 Gt).”
So the ice sheet reportedly lost 191 gigatonnes (Gt) of water between April 2015 and April 2016. Interestingly, last year’s report card (2015) had the April 2014 to April 2015 loss pegged at -186 Gt, not -190 Gt. Somehow another 4 Gt were added to the total loss for 2014-’15 between then and now.
2015 Arctic Report Card “Ice mass loss of 186 Gt over the entire ice sheet between April 2014 and April 2015 was 22% below the average mass loss of 238 Gt for the 2002- 2015 period.”
For 2013-’14, the mass loss for the Greenland Ice Sheet was even lower: just -6 Gt. In other words, the ice sheet was essentially in balance.
2014 Arctic Report Card “A negligible ice mass loss of 6 Gt between June 2013 and June 2014″
To review, that’s -6 Gt, -186 Gt, and -191 Gt for the 2013 to 2016 mass balance records. Averaged together, the loss was –128 Gt per year for 2013-’16, which is a substantially slower rate of loss relative to previous years.