This large sheet of ice then sank into the Arctic Sea, breaking further into two large chunks. This whole fertile event – the scientific term for the breaking of ice cubes by glaciers – was captured by the Copernicus Sentinel satellite.
The area that exploded was about 80 square miles – larger than Manhattan’s 60-square-foot area.
“Higher air temperatures, offshore winds and open water in front of the ice shelf are all part of the recipe for breaking ice shelves,” according to the Canadian Ice Service.
“Due to the presence of pre-existing fractures in the remaining Milne ice shelf, there is a possibility of further destabilization,”
; the Water and Ice Research Laboratory (WIRL) said in a press release on August 7th. The ice shelf is still volatile and further ice breaks are possible in the coming days and weeks, WIRL warned.
An exploration site on the ice shelf collapsed during this collapse.
“It’s lucky we were not on the ice shelf when this happened, the camp area and our instruments were all destroyed in the event,” Derek Mueller, professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University, said in a post. on the blog on August 2nd.
Mueller and his team have visited the Milne Ice Shelf several times, but the trip this year was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The last known lake with the Arctic echelon may be extinct due to the breakdown of ice shelves. An epishelf lake is a freshwater body trapped by an ice shelf floating above ocean water.
When the Milne Ice Shelf collapsed, it potentially sent freshwater contained in the salty waters of the Arctic Ocean. Researchers are unsure of the extent of this damage “as it depends on the integrity of the remainder of the Milne Ice Self”.
Ice shelves like these can help limit global sea level rise by acting as a dam, slowing the flow of melting ice and water into the oceans. These large fertile events can also pose risks to the shipping industry, creating essentially large icebergs floating across the northern oceans.
The Arctic has continued to warm much faster than any other region in the world as heat waves in the Arctic constantly affect the region. Temperatures across the Arctic continued to rise in July this year across Canada and Siberia, where major fires continue to burn.
“Globally, July was the third warmest in this data record, after 2016 and 2019,” Copernicus told the ECMWF in their monthly climate newsletter.
This is not the first time this year that the Canadian Arctic has lost important ice features.
Earlier this summer, two ice caps in Patrick Bay, Canada disappeared completely. The two ice caps were placed on the same Ellesmere island as the Milne Ice Shelf in Nunavut.