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 20, 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 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) — Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) 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