Earths ice-covered polar regions help to keep our climate cool and hold tremendous amounts of fresh water locked up in their glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets. The ice contained in these vast freshwater reservoirs is the equivalent of nearly 220 feet of sea level. However, when most people think of polar ice, they usually do not think of Canada, the location of only a small percentage of the Arctics polar land ice.
During the research campaigns, first in 1995 and then in 2000, Abdalati and his colleagues flew the NASA P-3 aircraft over the Canada Arctic Archipelago. Shown here is the location map of the 2000 flight lines (repeat surveys of the 1995 lines) where flights were conducted out of Pangnirtung, Clyde River, Grise Fiord, and Eureka. Weather station data used in this analysis were from Eureka, Alert, Resolute, Clyde River, Iqaluit, Egedesminde, and Dewar Lakes. Click on image for a larger view. Image credit: Waleed Abdalati, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
This image from the NASA P-3 research aircraft was taken after surveying the Barnes ice cap on Baffin Island. Image credit: James Yungel, NASA Wallops flight Facility.
Recent research conducted by NASA scientists has revealed that Canadas ice caps and glaciers have important connections to Earth’s changing climate, and they have a strong potential for contributing to sea level rise.
Canadas Arctic region is covered by approximately 150,000 square kilometers (93,205 square miles) of ice. While this land area is tiny compared to Antarcticas 113.5 million square kilometers (70.5 million square miles), and Greenlands 1.7 million square kilometers (1.05 million square miles) of ice coverage, it is still quite significant. In the next 100 years, melting glaciers and ice caps outside of Greenland and Antarctica, a significant portion of which includes those in Canada, are expected to raise global sea levels by 20 to 40 centimeters (7.9 to 15.8 inches).
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