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TitleCanadian cryospheric response to an anomalous warm summer: a synthesis of the climate change action fund project 'the state of the arctic cryosphere during the extreme warm summer of 1998'
AuthorAtkinson, D E; Brown, R; Alt, B; Agnew, T; Bourgeois, J; Burgess, M; Duguay, C; Henry, G; Jeffers, S; Koerner, R; Lewkowicz, A G; McCourt, S; Melling, H; Sharp, M; Smith, SORCID logo; Walker, A; Wilson, K; Wolfe, SORCID logo; Woo, M-K; Young, K L
SourceAtmosphere-Ocean vol. 44, no. 4, 2006 p. 347-375, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesGeological Survey of Canada, Contribution Series 2004101
PublisherInforma UK Limited
Mediapaper; on-line; CD-ROM; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceNorthwest Territories; Nunavut
NTS27; 28; 29; 37; 38; 39; 47; 48; 49; 57; 58; 59; 67; 68; 69; 77; 78; 79; 87; 88; 89; 97; 98; 99; 120; 340; 560
AreaElizabeth Islands; Canadian Artic Archipelago
Lat/Long WENS-128.0000 -56.0000 84.0000 68.0000
SubjectsNature and Environment; glacial history; glacial lakes; climate, arctic; arctic geology; climate effects; climate, arctic; climate; paleoclimatology; paleoclimates; ice sheets; permafrost; freezing ground; ground ice; glaciers; Climate change
Illustrationslocation maps; graphs; histograms; tables; aerial photographs
ProgramReducing Canada's Vulnerability to Climate Change
ProgramClimate Change Action Fund (CCAF)
ProgramCRYSYS (CRYosphere SYStem in Canada) Project
ProgramFisheries and Oceans Canada, Funding Program
ProgramCanadian Coast Guard, Funding Program
ProgramPolar Continental Shelf Project
ProgramNSERC Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
ProgramProgram of Energy Research and Development (PERD)
Released2010 11 21
AbstractAs of 2003, the warmest year on record in Canada (and globally) was 1998. Extensive warming was observed over the Canadian Arctic during the summer of 1998. A collaborative, interdisciplinary project involving government, universities, and the private sector examined the effect of this unusual warmth on cryospheric conditions and documented the responses, placing them in a 30-40 year context. This paper represents a synthesis of these results. 1998 was characterized by a melt season of exceptional length, having both an unusually early start and late finish. Extremes were noted for cryospheric variables that included ground thaw penetration, snowfree season, lake-ice-free season, glacier melt, and the duration and extent of marine open water. The warm conditions contributed to the break-up of two long-term, multi-year ice plugs in the north-west Canadian Arctic Archipelago, which allowed floe ice into the Northwest Passage. Synoptic events and preconditioning were observed to play an important role in governing the response of some variables to the warming. It was also noted that response was not uniform in all regions. This study provided an opportunity to examine possible cryospheric response to future, warmer conditions. It also provided a chance to assess the capability of current cryospheric monitoring networks in the Canadian Arctic. This study has suggested the manner of cryospheric response to low frequency, high magnitude events occurring within the broader milieu of large-scale forcing.

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