Arctic: Danish researchers make up the status for 2017

The most important results for the Greenland inland ice and the Arctic sea ice are now summed up in the seasonal report from the Danish Polar Portal

During 2017, researchers have conducted observations and model simulations to make up the status of the Greenland Ice Cap and the sea ice in the Arctic. After the end of the melting season, it is time to make up the status. This is done at the Polar Portal (, which is a joint venture between Danish institutions conducting research in the Arctic.

Autumn 2017 and winter 2017/2018 were snow-rich. They were followed by a cool summer with a weak melting season. As a consequence, the inland ice experienced a tiny increase. While the ice cap lost 268 gigatons (268 milliard tons) on average over the period 2000-2016, there was a small surplus of 44 Gt in 2017. However, this must be seen in comparison to the total mass that was lost over the last 15 years, which is about 3600 Gt.

The surface mass balance was positive and ended with a difference of 544 Gt between snow fall on one and melting and runoff into the sea on the other side. These numbers do not include mass loss from calving glaciers or icebergs.

The situation was not as positive for the Arctic sea ice, which came out weakened from the previous season. And despite a cold summer, the situation resembles that of 2016 with a rather small extent.

The seasonal report 2017 has the following main conclusions:

• Lots of precipitation, cool summer and weak and short melting season

• Very little melting

• Last year with data from the GRACE satellites

• Albedo of the inland ice was the third highest of the last 18 years

• Little help of the cold summer of 2017 for the Arctic sea ice

Read more about the results in the seasonal report, which we issue in Danish, English and Greenlandic

The Polar Portal and the seasonal report are produced as a cooperation of DMI, GEUS, DTU-Space and DTU-Byg.

Martin Stendel can be contacted via DMI’s communication department at +45 39 15 75 09, twitter @MartinStendel or mail to The Polar Portal is also on  Twitter: @PolarPortal