Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, Largest In Northern Hemisphere, Has Fractured Into Three Main Pieces

Date:
April 16, 2008
Source:
Trent University
Summary:
The largest ice shelf in the Northern Hemisphere has fractured into three main pieces. During a recent patrol across the northernmost parts of Canada, researchers found a new 18 kilometer-long network of cracks running from the southern edge of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf to the Arctic Ocean. This accompanies a large central fracture that was first detected in 2002, and raises the concern that the remaining ice shelf will disintegrate within the next few years.

Derek Mueller stands by a crack in the ice sheet.
Credit: Denis Sarrazin

A team of scientists including polar expert Dr. Derek Mueller from Trent University and Canadian Rangers have discovered that the largest ice shelf in the Northern Hemisphere has fractured into three main pieces.

During their sovereignty patrol across the northernmost parts of Canada over the last two weeks, they visited a new 18 kilometre-long network of cracks running from the southern edge of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf to the Arctic Ocean. This accompanies a large central fracture that was first detected in 2002, and raises the concern that the remaining ice shelf will disintegrate within the next few years.

Evidence of these cracks first came from Radarsat satellite images in February. Confirmation came from Canadian Rangers, partnering with International Polar Year scientists during Operation NUNALIVUT 08, a Canadian Forces High Arctic sovereignty patrol. Rangers mapped the extent of the fissures and monitored melt rates for Quttinirpaaq National Park, which encompasses the ice shelf.

The patrol scientists also found that the nearby Petersen Ice Shelf lost over a third of its surface area in the past three years. This ice shelf calved following the break-up of landfast sea ice in the summer of 2005 and 2007, which had protected it from the open ocean.

“Canadian ice shelves have undergone substantial changes in the past six years, starting with the first break-up event on the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, and the loss of the Ayles Ice Shelf,” said Dr. Luke Copland of the University of Ottawa. “These latest break-ups we are seeing have come after decades of warming and are irreversible,” said Dr. Derek Mueller of Trent University.

Only five large ice shelves remain in Arctic Canada, covering less than a tenth of the area than they did a century ago.

Derek Mueller holds Trent's Roberta Bondar Fellowship in Northern and Polar Studies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Trent University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Trent University. "Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, Largest In Northern Hemisphere, Has Fractured Into Three Main Pieces." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080415205350.htm>.
Trent University. (2008, April 16). Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, Largest In Northern Hemisphere, Has Fractured Into Three Main Pieces. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080415205350.htm
Trent University. "Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, Largest In Northern Hemisphere, Has Fractured Into Three Main Pieces." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080415205350.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins