Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ice Shelves Crumbling
National Geographic has a nice picture of the northern part of Ellesmere Island and the missing shelves. This will accelerate the melting on the island. Notice there is less white on Ellesmere Island on the 2008 picture. Melting sea ice does not raise ocean levels but land ice does.

Nearly 23 percent of the total area—more than three times the size of Manhattan—has disappeared since 2007, satellite images show (above).

In July the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf broke apart, followed by the surprise collapse in August of the Markham Ice Shelf, which is now adrift in the Arctic Ocean.

And the recently named Serson Ice Shelf has shrunk by 60 percent—an "incredible" loss, said Derek Mueller, the Roberta Bondar Fellow in Northern and Polar Studies at Trent University in Ontario.

Large swaths of open water surrounding the shelves near the northern coast of Ellesmere Island have allowed breathing room for the ice to disintegrate, Mueller told National Geographic News. (See map.)

"Highly unusual" temperatures, up to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) in some places, certainly aren't helping the situation, he added.

Its going get interesting.

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