On polarportal.org, Danish research institutions display the results of their monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the sea ice in the Arctic.  

The main purpose of the site is to make updated information from this monitoring available to the general public, both nationally and internationally. In addition, the site will provide access to scientifically based information resources.


Arctic sea ice and the Greenland Ice Sheet are monitored closely primarily due to the fact that the global rise in air temperature has had significant impacts in the Arctic. The temperature in the Arctic has increased twice as much as the global average. The effects of this can be identified in all parts of what is called the Arctic cryosphere (cold sphere): The ice sheet, the land-based glaciers and ice caps, the permafrost and the Arctic sea ice.

The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second largest mass of freshwater ice on the planet. Only the ice sheet in Antarctica is bigger. 

In recent decades the ice sheet has begun to shrink, meaning that the ice sheet loses more mass in the form of melt water or icebergs than it receives from precipitation. This process of mass loss started around 1990 and has accelerated since the year 2000. The mass loss in recent years is approximately four times greater than it was before 2000. This has already had consequences in the Arctic and beyond.

The Arctic sea ice has also responded to the increase in temperatures: over the past 30 years, the sea area covered with ice has diminished by approximately 30% in the summer season. In 2012 the sea ice extent was just 50% of the average (for the period 1979-2000). Even the area covered with ice in the winter has diminished. According to calculations from DMI, winter sea ice has diminished by 10%.

These developments influence human and animal life, not only in the Arctic but also in the rest of the world: global sea level, new shipping routes, potential change of weather patterns, etc. 

The weather has great influence on both ice sheet and sea ice. Therefore temperature and wind conditions are monitored and it is analyzed how the temperature in the Arctic is developing compared to the period 2004-2013.

The increase in melting from the Greenland Ice Sheet that has been observed in the latest decade is highly influenced by the weather patterns, which can bring warm southern air up to Greenland. In the same manner there is also a signifiocant influence from weather and wind on the sea ice in the Arctic. 

Who we are

Polarportal.org is financed by the DANCEA (Danish Cooperation for Environment in the Arctic) under the Danish Ministry for Energy, Utilities and Climate. The content is provided by three Danish research institutions: 

DMI – Danish Meteorological Institute

GEUS  The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland

DTU Space  National Space Institute

DTU Byg  Institute for Civil Engineering

GEUS, DTU Space and Asiaq, Greenland Survey cooperates in running PROMICE, the monitoring program on the Greenland Ice Sheet funded by DANCEA Climate Fund. 

Martin Stendel, PhD
Research and Development
Danish Meteorological Institute
Lyngbyvej 100, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø
Telephone: +45 3915 7500
Email: info@polarportal.dk


Using information from polarportal.dk and polarportal.org:  

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