We present a combined heat‐ and ice‐flow model, constrained by measurements of temperature in the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) borehole and by the GISP2 δ18O record and depth‐age scale, which determines a history of temperature, accumulation rate, and ice sheet elevation for the past 50,000 years in central Greenland. Important results are: that the temperature increase from average glacial to Holocene conditions was large, approximately 15°C, with a 20°C warming from late glacial to Holocene; that the average accumulation rate during the last glacial maximum (between 15 and 30 kyr B. P.) was 5.5 to 7 cm yr−1, approximately 25% of the modern accumulation rate; that long‐term (500–1000 years) averaged accumulation rate and temperature have been inversely correlated during the most recent 7 millennia of the Holocene; and that the Greenland Ice Sheet probably thickened during the deglacial transition. The inverse correlation of accumulation rate and temperature in the mid and late Holocene suggests that the Greenland Ice Sheet is more prone to volume reduction in a warmed climate than previously thought and demonstrates that accumulation rate is not a reliable proxy for temperature. The elevation history of the ice sheet is poorly constrained by the model, and independent evidence is needed. We also present a simple estimate of the response time for thinning of the interior region of an ice sheet due to retreat of its margins. This was approximately 1900 years for central Greenland during deglaciation.