According to NASA satellite images, the ice caps of St. Patrick’s Bay have disappeared on the Hazen Plateau of the northeastern island of Ellesmere in Nunavut, Canada. Scientists and colleagues of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) forecast using a document dedicated to 2017 Cryosphere that the ice caps will melt completely over the next five years, and recent photos from NASA’s Advanced Space Radiometry and Space Radiation Reflection (ASTER) have confirmed that this prediction was accurate.
Mark Serrese, director of the NSIDC, a prominent professor of geography at the University of Colorado Boulder, and lead author of the article, first set foot on the icebergs of St. Patrick’s 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 these ice caps, they seemed like a permanent fixture of the landscape,” Serrese said. “Watching them die for less than 40 years just tears me off.”
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 were reduced to only five percent of their former area, and decreased significantly between 2014 and 2015 in response to the particularly warm summer of 2015. Ice caps are not in the ASTER photos taken on July 14, 2020.
The icy bays of St. Patrick were half of a group of small ice caps on the Hazen Plateau that formed and probably reached their maximum extent during the Little Ice Age, perhaps a few centuries ago. The ice caps of Murray and Simmons, which make up the other half of the ice platons of the Heisen Plateau, are located at a higher altitude and are therefore much better, although scientists predict that their death is also inevitable.
“We have long known that as climate change takes place, the effects will be particularly pronounced in the Arctic,” Serrese said. “But the death of those two little hats I once knew so well made climate change very personal. There are only a few photos and a lot of memories left.”
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Marc S. Serrese and others. Rapid depletion of ice caps on the Hazen Plateau on the northeastern island of Ellesmere, Nunavut, Canada, Cryosphere (2017). DOI: 10.5194 / tc-11-169-2017
Provided by the University of Colorado at Boulder
Citation: Canadian ice caps are disappearing, confirming scientific forecasts for 2017 (2020, July 31), obtained on July 31, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-07-canadian-ice-caps-scientist.html
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