Confirming 2017 scientific forecast, Canada’s snowflakes disappeared


This outline of the St. Patrick’s Bay Ice Cap, taken from 2017 The Cryosphere Paper, based on aerialphotography since August 1959, GPS surveys conducted during August 2001 and NASA’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection in August 2014 and 2015 From radiometer (ASTER). It shows the area of ​​the St. Patrick’s Bay ice cap in 1959, 2001, 2014, and 2015. The ice caps were smaller in 2015 than in previous years. Credit: University of Colorado at Boulder

According to NASA satellite imagery, the St. Patrick’s Bay snowflakes have disappeared on the Hazen Plateau of northeast Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. Scientists and colleagues at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) made the prediction through a 2017 paper Cryosphere Within the next five years ice caps will melt completely, and recent NASA Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) images have confirmed that this prediction was accurate.


NSIDC director Mark Ceres, a distinguished professor of geography at the University of Colorado, and lead author on the paper, first set foot on the St. Patrick’s Bay Ice Caps in 1982 as a young graduate student. He toured the ice cap with his mentor, Ray Bradley of the University of Massachusetts.

“When I first visited those snow caps, they seemed like such a permanent fixation of the landscape,” Ceres said. “To see them die in less than 40 years just blows me away.”

In 2017, scientists compared ASTR satellite data from July 2015 to vertical aerial photographs taken in August of 1959. They found that between 1959 and 2015, only five percent of their former area had been reduced to snowflakes, and had been separated since 2014 in 2015 in response to a particularly hot summer. Snowflakes are absent from the ASTER images taken on July 14, 2020.

The St. Patrick’s Bay Ice Cap was one-half of a group of small ice caps on the Heisen Plateau, which attained their maximum expansion during the Little Ice Age, possibly several centuries earlier. The Murray and Simmons Ice Caps, which make up the second half of the Hagen Plateau ice, are located at a higher elevation and therefore outperforming, although scientists speculate that their demise is imminent.

  • ** Canada's snowflakes disappeared, confirming 2017 scientific forecast

    These NASA Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) satellite images reveal where the St. Patrick’s Bay ice caps were located on the Hazen Plateau of northeastern Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. The photo to the left still retained the snow caps, taken in August of 2015. As the photo on the right, which was taken in July of 2020, the ice caps have melted and no longer exist. Credit: Bruce Raup, NSIDC

  • ** Canada's snowflakes disappeared, confirming 2017 scientific forecast

    This NASA Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) satellite image from August 4, 2015, shows the location where the St. Patrick’s Bay ice cap (circled in blue) is located. By July 2020, satellite images show that these ice caps have disappeared. Credit: Bruce Raup, NSIDC

  • ** Canada's snowflakes disappeared, confirming 2017 scientific forecast

    This NASA Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) satellite image from July 14, 2020, shows the location where the St. Patrick’s Bay ice caps once were (this area was operational in blue). By July 2020, satellite images show that these ice caps have disappeared. Credit: Bruce Raup, NSIDC

“We have known for a long time that as climate change occurs, the effects will be especially evident in the Arctic,” Serrez said. “But the death of those two little caps that I once knew well made climate change very personal. All that’s left are a few pictures and a lot of memories.”


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more information:
Mark C. Serrez et al. Rapid snow dissipation of the Heisen Plateau, northeast Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, Cryosphere (2017). DOI: 10.5194 / tc-11-169-2017

Provided by the University of Colorado at Boulder

Quotes: Canadian ice caps disappeared, confirming 2017 scientific prediction (2020, 31 July), from https://phys.org/news/2020-07-canadian-ice-caps-scientific.html on 31 July 2020 Retrieved.

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