Greenland’s Ice Mass Balance


By Paul Homewood


As I pointed out the other day, the surface mass balance (SMB) in Greenland has increased way above the long term average for the second year running.

The question was raised as to the significance of this, given that the SMB does not include losses from calving. The DMI page on the SMB quotes:

The calving loss is greater than the gain from surface mass balance, and Greenland is losing mass at about 200 Gt/yr.

However, care needs to be taken with this, as the same statement has appeared every year recently, for instance in 2013 (see here). It is just a stock statement.

The simple answer is that the SMB is an extremely important part of the equation, otherwise DMI would not even be bothering to show it at all. Great effort is put into calculating SMB changes every single day of the year…

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