Express Yourself

About anything and everything on the planet

August 16, 2008

Global Warming: Ice Shelf In Canadian Artic Breaks Off

No one is saying that the ice chunk that broke off in the Canadian Artic did so because of global warming, but they don’t have to say that. Scientists are working hard to not say that this is what caused this phenomenon. Instead they are saying that we are dealing with a different climate now.

A chunk of the Canadian ice shelf that measures 18 square kilometers (7 square miles) broke off last week. The theory that the current Artic climate is not rebuilding ice seems to consistent based on these events, according to Derek Mueller a researcher at Trent University.

The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf located off the north coast of Ellesmere Island was the place where the chunk came from. In 2002 a crack was spotted in the shelf and earlier this year a network of fissures were discovered. A few years later the ice chunk has broken off. This seems like a rather fast process.

Canada has six ice shelves. The chunk that broke off last week was the largest one to come looses since the Ayles shelf broke off in 2005. These ice shelves are large platforms of thick ancient ice and floats on the surface of the ocean. They were created by snow and freezing meltwater over the centuries. At one time Ellesmere Island was ringed by a single large ice shelf. However, that shelf broke up in the early 1900’s. So ice shelves breaking up is not a phenomenon. Even so, the increase in the amount of time the ice shelves are dwindling away is scary.

The entire Artic seems to be experiencing this phenomenon. The Coast Guard icebreakers are not getting much work these days. In Canada’s north, Gary Stern, co-leader of an international research program on sea ice has not seen any ice for weeks. Plans to set up an ice camp on usually dependable ice had to be given up because the ice did not form for the second year in a row.

There is a chance that the Artic could start experiencing summer without ice by as soon as 2013. Scientist had predicted that that would happen in 2030. Stern was not afraid to speak the truth. He said that the lack of ice in the Artic is due to global warming. We all know that, even if the scientists have to be cautious when they speak.

What does this mean for the world? If the ice is breaking off in the Artic, what will happen to it? Are the theories about rising seas true? Will we loose some of the coastal cities that we have now? Most people do not really want to think about these types of things. Especially since it seems that it may be too late to do anything to stop this phenomenon. But I think that we need to at least try to do something, although I don’t know what. If nothing else we could all try to be a little more cautious about what we are doing to the environment.

Similar Posts:

Post a Comment