The ice caps of St. Patrick’s Bay on the Hazen Plateau on the northeastern island of Elsmere in Nunavut, Canada, have disappeared, according to NASA satellite images. Scientists and colleagues at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) forecast through a document for 2017. The cryosphere that the ice caps will melt completely within the next five years, and recent photos from NASA’s extended space radiometer and spacecraft reflection (ASTER) have confirmed that this prediction is accurate.
Mark Sersee, director of NSIDC, a respected professor of geography at the University of Colorado Boulder and lead author of the paper, first set foot on ice caps in St. Patrick’s Bay in 1982 as a young graduate. He visited the ice caps with his advisor, Ray Bradley of the University of Massachusetts.
“When I first visited those ice hats, they seemed like such a permanent attachment to the landscape,” Cerese said. “Watching 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 were reduced to just five percent of their previous area and were shrank significantly between 2014 and 2015 in response to the particularly warm summer of 2015. The ice caps are absent from the ASTER images taken on 14 July 2020.
St. Patrick’s ice caps were half the group of small ice caps on the Hazen Plateau that formed and probably reached their maximum expansion during the Little Ice Age, perhaps several centuries ago. The ice caps of Murray and Simmons, which make up the second half of the ice caps on the Heisen Plateau, are located at a higher altitude and therefore far better, although scientists predict that their demise is inevitable.
“We have long known that with climate change, the impact will be particularly pronounced in the Arctic,” Serze said. “But the death of these two little hats, whom I once knew so well, made climate change very personal. There are only a few photos and many memories left.”
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Mark C. Serreze et al. Rapid depletion of ice caps on the Heisen Plateau, northeastern Elsmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, The cryosphere (2017). DOI: 10.5194 / tc-11-169-2017
Provided by the University of Colorado at Boulder
Quote: Canadian ice caps disappear, confirming scientific forecast for 2017 (2020, July 31), downloaded on July 31, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-07-canadian-ice-caps- scientist.html
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