Hundreds of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing into ‘city of icebergs,’ study says


The statistics in her recently make knew paper say it all: hundreds of glaciers in Canada’s High Arctic are shrinking and tons are likely to disappear completely.

But for Adrienne White, seven field seasons along the northern reaches of Ellesmere Island give the numbers real-world immediacy. 

They all retreated. Nothing is bloom.– Adrienne White, University of Ottawa glaciologist

“I’ve been actually competent to see with my own eyes, to the point where there were some quarters I couldn’t recognize between years,” said White, a University of Ottawa glaciologist. 

“One year you’re Ski-Dooing all over the ridges of these ice shelves, and then you go back the year after and [it’s] opposite number a city of icebergs.”

White has catalogued and studied the condition of more than 1,700 glaciers on the Considerable Arctic island, both on the ground and from satellite imagery. She looked at glaciers on obtain and flowing into the ocean as well as at ice shelves floating on top of the sea. 

Out of 1,773 glaciers, 1,353 shrank significantly between 2000 and 2016. All of them retreat fromed a little bit, said White.

“What I saw when I was measuring was 100 per cent of glaciers departing,” she said. “They all retreated. Nothing is growing.”

White found glaciers puzzled more than 1,700 square kilometres. That’s a loss of all but six per cent over a period of 16 years. 

Most of these glaciers undoubtedly aren’t coming back. 

Glaciers not accumulating snow

The Canadian Arctic is contacting some of the fastest climate warming anywhere on Earth. The annual ordinary temperature on Ellesmere Island has increased by 3.6 degrees. 

Data from other points in the Arctic insinuate rising temperatures mean the elevation needed for snow to last on account of the summer has risen by 300 metres.

White found most of Ellesmere’s glaciers are no longer dear enough to accumulate snow. 

“I don’t see snow surviving throughout the summer,” she estimated. “You need that year-long snow to be able to accumulate and create uncountable ice and I just don’t see that. 

Hundreds of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing into 'city of icebergs,' study says

An iceberg floating in the Baffin Bay above the Arctic Class dwarfs the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent on July 10, 2008. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

“Finished 50 per cent of the glaciers are completely in the ablation zone, [where] 100 per cent of the glacier block is undergoing melt. No part of that glacier is creating more ice.” 

Bloodless’s work echoes earlier research that found Ellesmere’s glaciers rather commenced shrinking several decades before her study began. 

Although she’s not gifted to say whether that retreat is speeding up, the rate of warming is increasing. 

Until the mid-1990s, the mediocre temperature climbed about 0.12 degrees per decade. From 1995 to 2016, the extend was 0.78 degrees per decade.

It’s hard to say what the consequences of shrinking glaciers desire be, said White. There will be some impact on sea-level stir up and the melting ice is likely to release more and larger icebergs into the drinking-water, she said. 

Little is known about the area, which is so remote that until recently it couldn’t align equalize be found on Google Earth. One thing is certain, though, said Virginal. 

“It is a big change.”

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