The Great Arctic Ice Cap Break-Up: Scientists Discover Network of Cracks on Ward Hunt

ward hunt ice shelf cracks
Image courtesy of CSA

Need more evidence that the Arctic ice cap is slowly going the way of the dodo? Traveling with a team of scientists and Canadian troops during a recent expedition on Ward Hunt, BBC Environment Correspondent David Shukman bore witness to the discovery of several major new fractures stretching for more than 10 miles (16 km).

Derek Mueller of Trent University, one of the accompanying scientists, described the ice shelf as being held together "like a jigsaw"; the shelf's "pieces are pinned together" and could "float away" at any moment -- forming "ice islands" and dramatically changing the region's geography. All eyes will be on the Arctic's sea ice this summer to see if last year's record melting was just a one-off event -- or the beginning of something much more serious. A few months ago, I noted that Olav Orheim, the head of the Norwegian International Polar Year Secretariat, had predicted that the ice cap would be "all melted away" by the end of summer.

A few more months and we'll get to see whether his gloomy scenario comes to pass.

Via ::BBC News: Vast cracks appear in Arctic ice (news website)

See also: ::Arctic Ice Cap Could be Gone by the Summer, ::Antarctic Ice Grows as Arctic Ice Declines

Tags: Arctic

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