Major ice-shelf loss for Ellesmere Island

The ice shelves in Canada’s High Arctic have lost a colossal area this year, scientists report. The floating tongues of ice attached to Ellesmere Island, which have lasted for thousands of years, have seen almost a quarter of their cover break away. One of them, the 50 sq km (20 sq miles) Markham shelf, has completely broken off to become floating sea-ice. Researchers say warm air temperatures and reduced sea-ice conditions in the region have assisted the break-up. "These substantial calving events underscore the rapidity of changes taking place in the Arctic," said Trent University’s Dr Derek Mueller. "These changes are irreversible under the present climate." (bbc)