Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Canadian Arctic glacier melt accelerating, irreversible, projections suggest

Date:
March 12, 2013
Source:
American Geophysical Union
Summary:
Ongoing glacier loss in the Canadian high Arctic is accelerating and probably irreversible, new model projections suggest. The Canadian high Arctic is home to the largest clustering of glacier ice outside of Greenland and Antarctica -- 146,000 square kilometers (about 60,000 square miles) of glacier ice spread across 36,000 islands.

Nunavut (Canadian arctic).
Credit: © Achim Baqué / Fotolia

Ongoing glacier loss in the Canadian high Arctic is accelerating and probably irreversible, new model projections by Lenaerts et al. suggest. The Canadian high Arctic is home to the largest clustering of glacier ice outside of Greenland and Antarctica -- 146,000 square kilometers (about 60,000 square miles) of glacier ice spread across 36,000 islands.

In the past few years, the mass of the glaciers in the Canadian Arctic archipelago has begun to plummet. Observations from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites suggest that from 2004 to 2011 the region's glaciers shed approximately 580 gigatons of ice. Aside from glacier calving, which plays only a small role in Canadian glacier mass loss, the drop is due largely to a shift in the surface-mass balance, with warming-induced meltwater runoff outpacing the accumulation of new snowfall.

Using a coupled atmosphere-snow climate model, the authors reproduced the observed changes in glacier mass and sought to forecast projected changes given a future of continued warming. Driving the model with a climate reanalysis dataset for the period 1960 to 2011 and with a potential future warming pathway, the authors find that their model accurately reproduces observed glacier mass losses, including a recent up-tick in the rate of the ice's decline.

The authors calculate that by 2100, when the Arctic archipelago is 6.5 Kelvin (14 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer, the rate of glacier mass loss will be roughly 144 gigatons per year, up from the present rate of 92 gigatons per year. In total, the researchers expect Canadian Arctic archipelago glaciers to lose around 18 percent of their mass by the end of the century. Given current warming trends, they suggest that the ongoing glacier loss is effectively irreversible.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Jan T. M. Lenaerts, Jan H. van Angelen, Michiel R. van den Broeke, Alex S. Gardner, Bert Wouters, Erik van Meijgaard. Irreversible mass loss of Canadian Arctic Archipelago glaciers. Geophysical Research Letters, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/grl.50214

Cite This Page:

American Geophysical Union. "Canadian Arctic glacier melt accelerating, irreversible, projections suggest." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312134914.htm>.
American Geophysical Union. (2013, March 12). Canadian Arctic glacier melt accelerating, irreversible, projections suggest. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312134914.htm
American Geophysical Union. "Canadian Arctic glacier melt accelerating, irreversible, projections suggest." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312134914.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
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