Glaciologist fear major rise in sea level, as Canada’s Arctic glaciers melt at an accelerated rate

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The Queen Elizabeth Islands. Source: mustseeplaces.eu

With recent changes happening in the Arctic sphere, scientists fear a drastic rise in sea level. According to the glaciologist at the University of California, Irvine, Canada’s Arctic glaciers have become a major contributor to the changes in the sea level. Canada holds the second-most ice in the Arctic region, with 25 per cent of the volume there.

The melting is accelerating by 900 per cent over the course of a decade. The Queen Elizabeth Islands, including the Ellesmere Island and dozens more are of major concern to the glaciologists.

The research study also shows that the meltdown went from three gigatons per year in 2005 to 30 gigatons per year in 2015. The surface melt accounts for 90 per cent of ice loss, as of date. This is attributed to the steady increase of atmospheric temperatures.

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Romain Millan, UCI’s lead author said, “It was surprising there was so much surface melt compared to the ice discharge into the ocean”. On the other side, John Bennett from Friends of the Earth Canada, is indeed not taken aback by these findings.

Landsat 8 to maps nearly all the flowing ice in the world. This image shows the texture on the surface of flowing ice, in southern Greenland.
Credits: NASA/John Sonntag

Bennett said that it’s up to Ottawa to show more urgency towards the problem. He also said that the previous government under Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, deliberately shut down its scientific capability to understand the issue. Bennett criticised the current government, for the approval of pipelines in the region.

He also said that the society is far too slow in responding to this situation. Most of the people live thousands of kilometers from the Queen Elizabeth Islands. Thus the affect of this meltdown is still not seen in a serious view. For most of them, its a case of “out of sight, out of mind”.

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The climate change advocates also put forth a question. “It is Canada’s piece of the Arctic and if Canadians do not take action quick enough to address this climate change in the region, who else will?”