BUSTED: Claim of Greenland Warmest Temperature Record of 75°F Challenged By Data

By: - Climate DepotJune 20, 2016 12:43 PM


By Paul Homewood



Joe Romm has been up to his tricks again:

Last Thursday, Greenland’s capital hit 75°F, which was hotter than New York City. This was the highest temperature ever recorded there in June — in a country covered with enough ice to raise sea levels more than 20 feet.

It comes hot on the heels of the hottest May on record for the entire globe, according to NASA. As the map above shows, May temperature anomalies in parts of the Arctic and Antarctic were as high as 17°F (9.4°C) above the 1951-1980 average for the month.

Greenland in particular has been shockingly warm this spring. Here, for instance, is “land surface temperatures for April 2016 compared to the 2001–2010 average for the same month” from NASA:



NASA reports that some parts of Greenland were 36°F (20°C) warmer than “normal” — and remember, in this map, the new “normal” is the 2001–2010 average, which means it already includes a century of human-caused warming.


Romm’s ploy is straightforward:

  • Temperatures of 75F must be unheard of in a place like Greenland.
  • Ice sheets will surely melt quickly in such temperatures.

He reinforces his message like this:

Some might note a worrisome pattern, driven by ever-rising levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

Joe gets his “record temperature” from the highly reliable Weather Underground. However, their weather records show maximum temperatures bouncing up and down during that day. Somehow, we are expected to believe that the temperature jumped up several degrees at ten to every hour!



It is evident that there are two recording stations at Nuuk. No serious meteorologist would declare a record  just based on one, when the other was so much different.

In any event, 75F (23.9C) is not even a record. According to DMI, the highest temperature recorded at Nuuk was 24.2C, back in July 1908.

As for his ridiculous map, supposedly showing Greenland temperatures 20C warmer than normal in April, it presumably has not occurred to him that there ARE NO WEATHER STATIONS IN THE INTERIOR OF GREENLAND.

The map comes from satellite observations from NASA, who comment:

This temperature anomaly map is based on data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Observed by satellites uniformly around the world, land surface temperatures (LSTs) are not the same as air temperatures. Instead, they reflect the heating of the surface by sunlight, and they can sometimes be significantly hotter or cooler than air temperatures.

“The most remarkable aspect here is the incredible departure from 2001-2010 average, especially deep in the ice sheet interior,” said Santiago de la Peña, a research scientist at Ohio State University. “This is accentuated by the fact that the northern regions of the United States and Canada actually experienced cooler than usual temperatures.”

According to de la Peña, a high-pressure weather system sat over the ice sheet through most of April. The system caused temperatures across Greenland to spike, reaching or matching record temperatures in many places. “There have been occasional warming events in the past during spring over Greenland,” he noted, “but they affected only local areas and were not as intense.”

Still, warming events in Greenland are not entirely without precedent. Research by Dorothy Hall, an emeritus scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has showed that major melt events like those in 2012 and 2002 are not uncommon.


As NASA themselves admit, in 2012, for example, the surface of the ice sheet started melting early and then experienced the most extensive melting since the start of the satellite record in 1978.

In other words, it has happened before, it has nothing to do with with global warming and everything to do with the sun, and they have no means of knowing whether similar weather event occurred prior to 1978. So, hardly unprecedented then, Joe?

In any event , the whole idea that a day’s weather proves “climate change” is preposterous.

So let’s examine some of Joe’s other propositions. For instance, the shockingly warm spring.

Using the official DMI data, April 2016 was indeed the warmest April on record at Nuuk, at a boiling hot 0.6C. However, this was only 0.2C warmer than the next warmest April, set in 1953. Joe ignores the fact that April 2015 and 2014 were two of the coldest on record, or the fact that Aprils in the 1930s and 40s were just as warm as in recent years.



And what about May? Again we find that many many Mays in the 1930s were just as warm as this year. Again. May 2015 was exceptionally cold.


These are mean temperatures, but what about maximum temperatures, which will have the most impact on ice melt?

DMI have not yet published detailed data for 2015, but summer maximums up to 2014 show just the same pattern, which we have already identified. Temperatures were just as warm as now back in the 1930s, and even into the 1950s. As we well know, temperatures then plunged in the 1960s and 70s.



Greenland’s Climate

Romm gets away with this sort of nonsense because people don’t appreciate to what extent weather can change in a place like Greenland.

The DMI, who are responsible for collating climate data for Greenland, have this to say in their Historical Climate Data Collection (No 15-04) for Greenland (page 19-21):




In other words, when it is dank and foggy in coastal locations like Nuuk, summer temperatures barely get above zero. But when winds and weather patterns conjoin to disperse the fog and provide sunshine, temperatures soar.

The impact of the sun is also made clear in the first sentence of this paragraph from the same DMI report:


Does Joe Romm know any of this? Highly unlikely, because he is not interested in facts.

Does he care? No, his only concern is to peddle his propaganda.



Temperature is all from DMI up to 2014.

Figures for 2015 and 2016 are from GISS, except for May 2016, which is taken from Weather Underground.