Canada’s last fully intact ice shelf collapses

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Archival image of Ellesmere Island
Photo: EPA-EFE

Canada’s last fully intact ice shelf broke off and plunged into the Arctic Ocean. The record has lost nearly half of its original size, scientists confirmed on CBS News.


This is the 4,000-year-old Milne Ice Shelf on the edge of Ellesmere Island, in the northern territory of Nunavot. The piece that has been demolished is about 80 square kilometers, with which the plateau has lost 43 percent of its surface. The whole process took only a few days.

According to Canadian researchers, the above-average air temperatures, the offshore wind and the open water in front of the ice shelf are at the basis of the breakdown of the ice shelf. Climate change clearly plays a role in this, said glacier specialist Luke Copeland of the University of Ottawa. “This summer it will be up to 5 degrees warmer than the average in the period between 1981 and 2010. And in this region the warming is two to three times as fast as elsewhere in the world. The Milne and other ice shelves in Canada are simply no longer viable. They will disappear in the coming decades. ”

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