Sam Soja, The Canadian Press/AP

Three Arctic Ice Shelves Suffer Irreparable Damage

September 04, 2008 04:52 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Researchers, who predicted earlier this year that the North Pole would be ice-free by the end of the summer, say climate change is the culprit.

‘Three Ice Shelves Breaking up in Arctic’

In northern Canada, two ice shelves have lost large sections and another has gone adrift in the Arctic Ocean, according to the Discovery Channel.

“These changes are irreversible under the present climate and indicate that the environmental conditions that have kept these ice shelves in balance for 4,000 years are no longer present,” said Trent University’s polar expert Derek Mueller to Discovery.

The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, which broke in half in July, lost a piece measuring about 8.5 square miles (22 square km); the Serson Ice Shelf lost two sections of about 47 square miles (122 square km) total. 

The Markham Ice Shelf, which is about 19 square miles (50 square km) or “almost the size of Manhattan,” according to The Times of London, broke off completely from its location near the coast of Ellesmere Island in August.

Researchers are warning that the recent losses in polar ice are a sign of what is in store for the rest of the planet in the future. “Cimate models indicate that the greatest changes, the most severe changes, will happen earliest in the highest northern latitudes,” according to Warwick Vincent, the director of Laval University's Centre for Northern Studies.

Background: Arctic ice in danger

Security implications

Opinion & Analysis: What does the melting mean for us?

Related Topics: ‘Russia Steps Up Arctic Claim’

Reference: North Pole Web Cam; the North Pole


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines