New satellite images from NASA show that two Arctic ice caps have completely disappeared, said a CNN report.
Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, is referring to the Canada’s St. Patrick Bay ice caps.
Specifically, he is denoting the two ice caps located on the Hazen Plateau of northeastern Ellesmere Island in Nunavut.
“I can’t say I was terribly surprised because we knew they were going, but it has happened really fast.”
Serreze is a co-authored of a paper in 2017 that estimates the ice caps would be gone within five years.
He added that data from 1959 suggests the area of the larger cap was 3 square miles and the smaller one 1.1 square miles.
However, both ice caps are declining ever since.
Little Ice Age
Scientists estimated the glaciers, which likely formed around 5,000 years ago, a time frame known as the “Little Ice Age.”
Researchers are pointing at the very hot temperatures in the summer of 2015 as the culprit.
Saying this intense heat reduced the longevity of the St. Patrick’s Bay ice caps.
“You could really see they got hit. But that heat has really just not stopped. It’s just getting too warm,” Serreze told CNN.
Tom Neumann, chief of the Cryospheric Sciences Lab at NASA Goddard, said they observed that the ice caps have an accelerated shrinking.
“Since about 1990, the rate at which those glaciers are shrinking has really accelerated,” Neumann said.
Notably, last year’s disappearance of the Okjokull glacier in Iceland marked the first time that a glacier was lost to climate change.
Neumann told CNN the St. Patrick’s Bay ice caps won’t be the last glaciers to disappear.
Hence, it contributed to sea-level rise.
“We should care because even though this is a little glacier somewhere in Arctic Canada, collectively all of these glaciers contribute to sea-level rise,” he said.