Friday, April 22, 2011

Melting ice in Canadian Arctic bigger player in sea-level rise

Washington, April 22 (IANS) Melting glaciers and ice caps on Canadian Arctic islands play a much greater role in sea-level rise than scientists previously suspected. 

For instance, the 550,000-square-mile Canadian Arctic Archipelago contains some 30,000 islands. Between 2004 and 2009, the region lost the equivalent of three-quarters of the water in Lake Erie, found a study led by the University of Michigan.

Warmer-than-usual temperatures in those years caused a rapid increase in the melting of glacier ice and snow, said Alex Gardner, research fellow in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at Michigan, who led the project, reports the journal Nature.

"This is a region that we previously didn't think was contributing much to sea-level rise," Gardner said. "Now we realize that outside of Antarctica and Greenland, it was the largest contributor for the years 2007 through 2009," a Michigan statement quoted him as saying.

"This area is highly sensitive and if temperatures continue to increase, we will see much more melting," added Gardner. More >>>