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Canadian ice caps disappear, confirming 2017 scientific forecast



** Canadian ice caps disappear, confirming 2017 scientific forecast

This brief of St. Patrick’s Bay ice caps, taken from the 2017 paper The Cryosphere, is based on aerial photography from August 1959, a GPS survey conducted during August 2001, and for August 2014 and 2015 by NASA’s Thermal Space Emission and Advanced Reflection Radiometer. (ASTER) Shows the area of ​​St. Patrick’s Bay ice caps in 1959, 2001, 2014 and 2015. Ice caps were much smaller in 2015 than in previous years. Credit: University of Colorado at Boulder

St. Patrick’s Bay ice caps on the Northeast Elenmere Hazen Plateau in Nunavut, Canada, have disappeared, according to NASA satellite imagery. The National Ice and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) announced scientists and colleagues through a 2017 document The Cryosphere that the ice caps will completely melt in the next five years, and recent pictures from NASA’s Thermal Radiometer and Advanced Reflection Reflector (ASTER) have confirmed that this prediction was accurate.

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

“When I first visited those ice caps, they looked like such permanent landscape equipment,” Serreze said. “Seeing them die in less than 40 years 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 were reduced to only five percent of their previous area, and decreased markedly between 2014 and 2015 in response to the summer especially hot 2015. Ice caps are absent from the ASTER image taken on 14 July 2020.

The ice caps of St. Patrick’s Bay were half a group of small ice caps on the Hazen Plateau, which formed and likely reached their maximum limits during the Little Ice Age, maybe several centuries ago. The Murray and Simmons ice caps, which make up the second section of the Hazen Plateau ice caps, are at a higher elevation and are therefore doing better, although scientists predict that their death is also imminent.

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

    These NASA Advanced Spaceborne Emission Thermal and Reflectionometer (ASTER) satellite images show the location where St. Patrick’s Bay ice caps existed on the Hazen Plateau on Ellesmere Island in Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. The ice caps were still intact in the photo on the left, which was taken in August of 2015. In the photo on the right, taken in July 2020, the ice caps have been loosened and no longer exist. Credit: Bruce Raup, NSIDC

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

    This NASA Advanced Spaceborne Emission Thermal and Reflectionometer (ASTER) satellite image from August 4, 2015, shows the location of the St. Patrick’s Bay ice caps (surrounded by the blue). As of July 2020, satellite images show that these ice caps have disappeared. Credit: Bruce Raup, NSIDC

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

    This satellite image of NASA Advanced Spaceborne Emission Thermal and Reflectionometer (ASTER) from 14 July 2020, shows the location of the ice caps of St. Patrick’s Bay (an area -blue). As of July 2020, satellite images show that these ice caps have disappeared. Credit: Bruce Raup, NSIDC

“We have long known that as climate change changes, the effects will be especially evident in the Arctic,” Serreze said. “But the deaths of those two caps that I once knew so well made the climate change very personal. All that’s left are some photos and a lot of memories.”


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More information:
Mark C. Serreze et al. Rapid wastage of the Hazen Plateau ice caps, northeast of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, The Cryosphere (2017). DOI: 10.5194 / tc-11-169-2017

Provided by the University of Colorado at Boulder



Citation: Canadian ice caps disappear, confirming the 2017 scientific forecast (2020, 31 July) obtained on 31 July 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-07- canadian-ice-caps-scientific.html

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