Greenland snowfall

28 May 2016

At ... there is a fascinating piece of research from Greenland that will warm the cockles of somebody's heart. A history of snowfall is preserved in the remains of aquatic plants that lived long ago, accumulating at the bottom of lakes in horizontal layers. They are able to tell us how Arctic precipitation fluctuated during the Holocene at large and how this might have influenced the size of the Greenland ice sheet as the Earth warmed and cooled. Snowfall seems to have intensified between 6000 and 4000 years ago (which is the back end of the Mid Holocene Warm Period). This suggests to the researchers that as the Earth gets warmer snowfall over Greenland increases (sea ice melt exposes larger areas of the ocean to evaporation processes and therefore snow and rain increase). This implies the ice sheet in Greenland did not melt - although it probably shrank. Going by that evidence what chance is there of the current warming (much less than in the Mid Holocene period) have of melting the ice sheet. Odds are not great.