Many Global Warming arguments refer to the receding glaciers along the coasts of Greenland. However, it is almost never mentioned that

Overview | Vikings | North Atlantic Oscillation | Greenland is actually cooling | MSNBC Article | Summary


What is said What is not typically said


The Viking settlements are part of the evidence that Greenland was once much warmer than it is today. The Greenland Guide's Viking Timeline indicates that the Vikings were in Greenland from 982 till 1500. Interestingly, this correlates almost perfectly with this CDC graph of global temperatures from 900 AD till 1950 AD.

Note that the graph indicates that it is still cooler today that it was in 1200 AD.

North Atlantic Oscillation

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is a weather pattern that affects the temperature and humidity of Eastern North America, Western Europe, and Greenland. This 50 to 70 year cycle is known to affect the growth and melting of glaciers in Greenland and Western Europe. (The Viking warm period was part of an unrelated 1,000 year cycle.)

The Earth Institute at Columbia University provides

The National Weather Service's North Atlantic Oscillation site contains fairly technical data and a few interesting charts.

The NAO suggests that the Greenland glaciers are currently melting because the area is dryer. In fact, the data shows that the glaciers are melting faster as the North Atlantic is currently getting colder (the exact opposite of what I hear in "news" reports). As a result, the obvious connection between the NAO and melting glaciers must be discredited before any Greenland data can be used to support the Global Warming theory.

A Google search for "North Atlantic Oscillation" (in double quotes) returns about 300,000 hits. However, many of the sites I visited don't show the cooling trend for the last 5 to 10 years. (That's right, the data that supports the "wrong" conclusion is simply missing.)

Greenland is actually cooling

This is one of the papers that tries to convince readers that the current cooling in Greenland should not be used to disprove Global Warming.

Global Warming and the Greenland Ice Sheet - March 2004, Climatic Change

A considerable and rapid warming over all of coastal Greenland occurred in the 1920s when the average annual surface air temperature rose between 2 and 4 C in less than ten years (at some stations the increase in winter temperature was as high as 6 C). This rapid warming, at a time when the change in anthropogenic production of greenhouse gases was well below the current level, suggests a high natural variability in the regional climate.
Actually, the full abstract indicates that what happens in Greenland does not reflect what happens globally but, instead, is part of a 50 year cycle - the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation).

Unfortunately, since the full text of this article is $40, I did not read it and the quote above is only from the abstract.

I should also note that many articles in Climatic Change magazine imply that Global Warming is a fact.

MSNBC Article - data and analysis

This article is interesting because it provides data on both sides of the argument. However, if you only read the title and the first few paragraphs, the obvious conclusion is that Global Warming is already so bad that there is no hope. (My comments are indented and italicized below relevant quotes.)

MSNBC Feb. 16, 2006 - Greenland's glaciers losing ice at faster rate


Any report that claims that something happening in Greenland signals something on a global scale is just wrong.

Author: Robert Clemenzi
URL: http:// / Global_Warming / Greenland.html