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Canadian ice caps are disappearing, confirming the 2017 scientific forecast



** Canadian ice caps disappear, confirming 2017 scientific forecast

This sketch of the ice caps of St. Patrick Bay, taken from the 2017 Cryosphere paper, is based on aerial photography from August 1959, GPS surveys conducted during August 2001, and for August 2014 and 2015 from NASA’s advanced aerospace thermal emission and radiography of NASA Reflection (ASTER). It shows the St. Patrick Bay ice cover area in 1959, 2001, 2014 and 2015. The ice caps were significantly smaller in 2015 than in previous years. Credit: University of Colorado at Boulder

The ice caps of St. Patrick Bay on the Hazen Plateau of the northeastern island of Ellesmere in Nunavut, Canada, have disappeared, according to NASA satellite imagery. Scientists and colleagues of the National Snow and Ice Center (NSIDC) predicted through a paper for 2017 in cryosphere that the ice caps would melt completely within the next five years, and recent images from NASA Advanced Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) have confirmed that this prediction was correct.

Mark Serreze, director of NSIDC, Honorary Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder, and lead author on paper, first set foot on the ice caps of St. Louis. Patrick Bay in 1982 as a young graduate student. He visited the ice caps with his advisor, Ray Bradley, of the University of Massachusetts.

“When I first visited those ice caps, they looked like a permanent fixation of the landscape,” Serreze said. “To watch them die in less than 40 years just blows me away.”

In 2017, scientists compared ASTER satellite data from July 2015 with vertical aerial photographs taken in August 1959. They found that between 1959 and 2015, ice caps had shrunk to only five percent of their previous area, and shrank significantly between 2014 and 2015 in response to particularly warm summer in 2015. Ice caps are missing from ASTER images taken on July 14, 2020.

The St. Patrick Bay ice caps were half of a group of small ice caps on the Hazen Plateau, which formed and are likely to reach their maximum extensions during the Little Ice Age, probably several centuries ago. The Murray and Simmons ice caps, which make up the second half of the Hazen Plateau ice caps, are located at a higher altitude and are therefore far better, although scientists predict their destruction is imminent as well.

  • ** Canadian ice caps disappear, confirming 2017 scientific forecast

    These satellite images of NASA’s advanced space emission and space reflection (ASTER) show the location where the St. Patrick Bay ice caps existed on the Hazen Plateau of the northeastern island of Ellesmere in Nunavut, Canada. The ice caps were still intact in the photo on the left, which was taken in August 2015. As for the photo on the right, which was taken in July 2020, the ice caps have melted and no longer exist. Credit: Bruce Raup, NSIDC

  • ** Canadian ice caps disappear, confirming 2017 scientific forecast

    This satellite image of NASA’s advanced space-emission thermal emission and reflection from NASA’s August 4, 2015, radio show shows the location where the St. Patrick Bay ice caps (circle in blue). As of July 2020, satellite images show that these ice caps are gone. Credit: Bruce Raup, NSIDC

  • ** Canadian ice caps disappear, confirming 2017 scientific forecast

    This satellite image of NASA’s advanced space-emission thermal emission and radiation reflection (ASTER) from NASA from July 14, 2020, shows the location where once were the ice caps of St. Patrick Bay (the area was circled in blue). As of July 2020, satellite images show that these ice caps are gone. Credit: Bruce Raup, NSIDC

“We have known for a long time that while climate change will be taken into account, the effects would be particularly pronounced in the Arctic,” Serreze said. “But the death of those two lids that I once knew so well has made climate change very personal. All that is left are some photos and lots of memories.”


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More information:
Mark C. Serreze et al. Rapid loss of ice caps of Hazen Plateau, northeastern island of Ellesmere, Nunavut, Canada, cryosphere (2,017). DOI: 10.5194 / tc-11-169-2017

Provided by the University of Colorado at Boulder



citation: Canadian ice caps disappear, confirming 2017 scientific forecast (2020, July 31), retrieved July 31, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-07-canadian-ice-caps-sledgeledge.html

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