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Area change of glaciers across Northern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, between ~1999 and ~2015

  • ADRIENNE WHITE (a1) and LUKE COPLAND (a1)
Abstract

Using a variety of optical satellite scenes, this study quantifies the change in the areal extent of 1773 glaciers across Northern Ellesmere Island between ~1999 and ~2015. Our results show that the regional ice coverage decreased by 1705.3 km2 over the ~16-year period, a loss of ~5.9%. Ice shelves had the greatest losses relative to their size, of ~42.4%. Glaciers feeding into ice shelves reduced in area by 4.7%, while tidewater glaciers reduced in area by 3.3%. Marine-terminating glaciers with floating ice tongues reduced in area by 4.9%, and 19 of these 27 ice tongues disintegrated, causing these glaciers to retreat to their grounding lines. Land-terminating glaciers lost 4.9% of their 1999 area, including the complete loss of three small ice caps (<1.5 km2). Our study highlights the high sensitivity of the ice cover of Northern Ellesmere Island to recent climate warming and the continued losses that are likely to occur in the future. In particular, the ice masses most susceptible to further losses are marine-terminating glaciers with floating termini and small land-terminating ice caps at low elevations.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Adrienne White <awhit059@uottawa.ca>
References
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Journal of Glaciology
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