Wednesday, July 13, 2016

More About the McMillan et al result for Greenland Mass Balance

After this post last night about a new paper on Greenland ice loss over 2011-2014, I wrote to the lead author, Malcolm McMillan of  the University of Leeds in the UK.

He told me (as I suspected)
We don't look for an acceleration because the 4 year time period of our altimeter observations is too short to reliably detect this, given the large year-to-year changes in annual mass loss. So I wouldn't say that there is no acceleration, rather that, given its likely magnitude, it is not possible for us to reliably measure it over such a short time period.

For assessing accelerations in mass loss you really need to use the longer 10-20 year records which are better able to resolve this. You may be aware of it already, but in case you're not, the attached paper gives a nice analysis of the time periods required to detect certain accelerations.

I'm not aware of any reasons to expect the long-term acceleration to go towards 0.

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