Ice cap disappeared in St. Patrick’s Bay, Canada

“I can’t say that I was very surprised because we knew they were leaving, but it actually happened very quickly,” Mark Serrez, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, told CNN. In 2017 Ceres co-wrote a paper speculating that snowflakes would be gone within five years.

Two snowflakes were located on the Heisen Plateau of northeastern Ellesmere Island in Nunavut. Data from 1959 show that the area of ​​the large cap was 3 square miles and the smallest was 1.1 square miles, which has been decreasing since then.

Scientists estimate that the glaciers, which formed about 5,000 years ago, would have been much larger between the 16th and 19th centuries, a time frame known as the “Little Ice Age”.

Very hot temperatures in the summer of 2015 reduced the longevity of the St. Patrick’s Bay ice cap. “You can actually see that they got hit. But really the heat hasn’t stopped yet. It’s getting very hot,” Ceres told CNN.

Now gone are other glaciers near the St. Patrick’s Bay ice cap, such as the Murray and Simmons Ice Cap, which sit at higher elevations. They have also shrunk considerably.

“I’ll make another prediction that they’re gone in a decade,” Ceres said.

Related: Global temperature may exceed critical 1.5 C target in next five years

Effects of climate change in the Arctic

According to Sarkes, small snowflakes in the Arctic are very sensitive indicators of the effects of climate change.

“There is something called ‘Arctic amplification’, which refers to observation – not theory – that the Arctic is warming at a much faster rate than the rest of the world, anywhere from two to four times faster From, ”Serrez said.

Warm heat waves and cold waves that were not as cold as before are contributing factors.

“We’re starting to see all these things together.” Ceres told CNN.

The disappearance of the St. Patrick’s Bay Ice Caps “is an astonishing point of what is happening in the Arctic,” Ceres said.

Satellite images taken in July 2020 show the disappearance of St. Patrick's ice caps.
Tom Neumann, head of the Cryospheric Sciences Lab at NASA Goddard, explained in detail the ‘Arctic amplification’ phenomenon and its effect on rising temperatures.

“As Arctic sea ice has retreated over the past decades, that ice cover, which is very reflective and sends sunlight back into space, melts and exposes sea water, which is much deeper. Happens and absorbs solar energy, so the ocean heats up., “Newman told CNN.

This in turn causes the atmosphere to heat up, which according to Newman is essentially a reaction cycle.

Newman, who studies the Earth’s ice cover through satellites, told CNN that melting of the Northern Hemisphere glaciers is an ongoing process that has worsened in recent years.

“Since 1990, the rate at which glaciers are shrinking has really accelerated,” Newman said.

The disappearance of the Okjokul glacier in Iceland last year marked the first time that a glacier had been lost due to climate change.

Newman told CNN that the St. Patrick’s Bay ice caps would not be the last glaciers to disappear, and that even though they were relatively small, their loss is a cause for concern.

“We should care because even though it is a little glacier somewhere in Arctic Canada, all these glaciers collectively contribute to sea level rise,” he told CNN.

Neumann noted that significant advances in satellite monitoring technologies are allowing scientists to learn more about the changes on Earth as a result of global warming.

“We still have better equipment to predict how these ice caps will change”.

Related: Glaciers of Patagonia: A Century of Climate Change

Personal visit of a scientist

During his conversation with CNN, Serrez mentioned the St. Patrick’s Bay ice cap several times in reference to endurance such as “my little snow cap”.

The scientist’s connection to the now-gone glaciers goes far back.

Ceres visited Ice Cap in 1982 as a graduate student. This trip cemented his desire to study the Arctic.

He reminded the first time he landed there.

Mark Serrez researched the St. Patrick's Bay Ice Cap in 1982.

“It was just after a snow, and it was one of the rare types of clear days you’ve made there.”

He told CNN about shining ice crystals, which were the “perfect blue sky” and “full pristine white” found after landing.

“Once the airplane dropped us to the left, it is the only place in the world I can ever remember that there was complete silence.”

His visit to the region is a recent concern among scientists with global warming. “At that time, there was also some talk about global cooling,” Ceres said.

After his demise in a few decades as a young scientist visiting the ice cap, which was much more personal for Ceres, but watching the process leave him with an important message for skepticism of climate change gave.

“I can tell you, it’s very real. I went there, I’ve seen it,” Ceres said.

He told CNN how he feels that we are at an inflection point in the conversation about climate, as the country deals with the coronovirus epidemic and about racial injustice.

In this moment, Ceres said, “Forcing us to look at ourselves in the mirror and feel like we’re together in all of this. The world is a different place, and we need to make it better.”

“If the story of my little snow cap helps us look in the mirror, then in that sense, it’s a silver lining,” he said.