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What’s happening to Greenland’s ice?

A new paper, led by Ruth Mottram of the Danish Meteorological Institute and involving the Greenland_cci project team and datasets, provides an integrated view of the Greenland Ice Sheet mass changes using 30 years of satellite observations.

Published in Remote Sensing in June, the paper 's key points include:

  • Current state of the mass budget of Greenland based on a diverse range of remote sensing observations to produce the essential climate variables (ECVs) of ice velocity, surface elevation change, grounding line location, calving front location, and gravimetric mass balance as well as numerical modelling that together build a consistent picture of a shrinking ice sheet.
  • GRACE gravimetrically-derived mass balance (GMB) data shows that overall Greenland has lost 255 ± 15 Gt year −1 of ice over the period 2003 to 2016, consistent with that shown by IMBIE and a marked increase compared to a rate of loss of 83 ± 63 Gt year −1 in the 1993–2003 period.
  • Observations show surface lowering across virtually all regions of the ice sheet and at some locations up to −2.65 m year −1 between 1995 and 2017 based on radar altimetry analysis.
  • Calving fronts at 28 study sites, representing a sample of typical glaciers, have retreated all around Greenland since the 1990s and in only two out of 28 study locations have they remained stable.

Reference: Mottram, R. (2019) An Integrated View of Greenland Ice Sheet Mass Changes Based on Models and Satellite Observations. Remote Sens. 2019, 11(12), 1407;

The paper is featured in an article at