Friday, December 29, 2006

A giant ice shelf breaks free from Canadian Arctic

Earlier today, I blogged about the plight of the polar bears which are about to be listed as a threatened species by the US government. Now, here's a more disturbing news. A giant ice shelf that dates 3000 years ago has broken free from the Canadian Arctic, another alarming sign that something is just not right with the climate. From CNN:
The mass of ice broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the North Pole, but no one was present to see it in Canada's remote north.

Scientists using satellite images later noticed that it became a newly formed ice island in just an hour and left a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake.

Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, traveled to the newly formed ice island and could not believe what he saw.

"This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years. We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead," Vincent said Thursday.

In 10 years of working in the region he has never seen such a dramatic loss of sea ice, he said.

The collapse was so powerful that earthquake monitors 250 kilometers (155 miles) away picked up tremors from it.

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