Canadian ice shelves halve in six years

Around 50% of Canada’s ice shelf has disappeared in the last six years, researchers say. Denis Sarrazin, ArcticNet/Centre d'Etudes Nordiques

Half of Canada’s ancient ice shelves have disappeared in the last six years, researchers have said, with new data showing significant portions melted in the last year alone.

The rate at which ice melts is seen by climate scientists as an indicator of the pace of global warming.

Satellite images released by researchers from Carleton University in Ottawa show that most of the Serson Ice Shelf broke away during the Canadian summer this year.

Serson shelf before Canadian summer 2011

Serson Ice Shelf on March 19, 2011 (red) before Canadian summer 2011 break-up. Serson A is a floating glacier tongue (south) and Serson B is composed of thick, ancient sea ice (north). Blue denotes the coast of Ellesmere Island. Radarsat-2 fine beam imagery © MDA 2011, Distribution licensed by MDA-GSI for the SOAR program.