Unprecedented warm temperatures in the High Arctic this past summer were so
extreme that researchers with a Queen’s University-led climate change project have begun revising their forecasts.
“Everything has changed dramatically in the watershed we observed,” reports Geography professor Scott Lamoureux, the leader of an International Polar Year project announced yesterday in Nunavut by Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl. “It’s something we’d envisioned for the future – but to see it happening now is quite remarkable.”
From their camp on Melville Island last July, where they recorded air temperatures over 20ºC (in an area with July temperatures that average 5ºC), the team watched in amazement as water from melting permafrost a metre below ground lubricated the topsoil, causing it to slide down slopes, clearing everything in its path and thrusting up ridges at the valley bottom “that piled up like a rug,” says Dr. Lamoureux, an expert in hydro-climatic variability and landscape processes.
Comparing this summer’s observations against aerial photos dating back to the 1950s, and the team’s monitoring of the area for the past five years, the research leader calls the present conditions “unprecedented” in scope and activity.
NASA finds Greenland snow melting hit record high in high places
A new NASA-supported study reports that 2007 marked an overall rise in the melting trend over the entire Greenland ice sheet and, remarkably, melting in high-altitude areas was greater than ever at 150 percent more than average. In fact, the amount of snow that has melted this year over Greenland could cover the surface size of the U.S. more than twiceImage: Microwave data from the Special Sensor Microwave Imaging radiometer was used to create this image of the 2007 Greenland melting anomaly which reflects the difference between the number of melting days occurring in 2007 and the average number of melting days during the period 1988 – 2006. Credit: NASA/Earth Observatory
Meltdown in Greenland