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TitleExtreme melt on Canada's Arctic ice caps in the 21st century
AuthorSharp, M; Burgess, D OORCID logo; Cogley, J G; Ecclestone, M; Labine, C; Wolken, G J
SourceGeophysical Research Letters vol. 38, L11501, 2011., Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20110160
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
NTS48G; 48H; 58G; 58H; 49; 59; 68G; 68H; 69; 78G; 78H; 79; 88H; 89; 120; 340; 560A
AreaQueen Elizabeth Islands; Arctic Archipelago; Melville Island; Devon Island; Ellesmere Island; Axel Heiberg Island; Meighen Island
Lat/Long WENS-116.0000 -60.0000 83.0000 75.0000
Subjectsenvironmental geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; Nature and Environment; ice; glaciers; climatic fluctuations; temperature; Quaternary
Illustrationslocation maps
ProgramClimate Change Geoscience
Released2011 06 09
AbstractCanada's Queen Elizabeth Islands contain ~14% of
Earth's glacier and ice cap area. Snow accumulation on these
glaciers is low and varies little from year to year. Changes
in their surface mass balance are driven largely by changes
in summer air temperatures, surface melting and runoff.
Relative to 2000-2004, strong summer warming since 2005
(1.1 to 1.6°C at 700 hPa) has increased summer mean ice
surface temperatures and melt season length on the major
ice caps in this region by 0.8 to 2.2°C and 4.7 to 11.9 d
respectively. 30-48% of the total mass lost from 4 monitored
glaciers since 1963 has occurred since 2005. The mean rate
of mass loss from these 4 glaciers between 2005 and 2009
(-493 kg m-2 a-1) was nearly 5 times greater than the 1963-
2004 average. In 2007 and 2008, it was 7 times greater
(-698 kg m-2 a-1). These changes are associated with a
summer atmospheric circulation configuration that favors
strong heat advection into the Queen Elizabeth Islands from
the northwest Atlantic, where sea surface temperatures have
been anomalously high.

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