Canadian Ice Shelves Have Lost Half Their Size in Six Years

Canada’s Arctic ice shelves, which extend from land onto the Arctic Ocean, have lost about half of their size in the last six years, according to scientists. Using satellite imagery to monitor ice loss, researchers at

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Canada Ice Shelf

NASA/Carleton University
Ellesmere Island ice shelf decreases, 2005-2011
Carleton University in Ottawa said the Serson Ice Shelf, which measured 205 square kilometers in 2008, has now broken into two shelves covering a total of just 32 square kilometers. The Ellesmere Island ice shelves, which covered 8,900 square kilometers a century ago and shrunk to 1,043 square kilometers in 2005, now cover just 563 square kilometers. Derek Mueller, a Carleton researcher, says rising temperatures are not only causing the shelves to crack and melt, but also are exposing the shelves to wave action because the pack ice that once surrounded the shelves is disappearing, as well. The shelves have been around thousands of years and are typically more than 125 feet thick. The scientists say that about 3 billion tons of ice have been lost.