The St Patrick Bay ice caps on the Hazen Plateau of northeastern Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada, have melted away. In 2017, scientists predicted the ice caps would melt unless the fight against climate change improved dramatically.
Unfortunately, they were right as humans have done little to stem the tide, the images from NASA’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) revealed.
Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), first visited the ice caps in 1982, and at the time they showed no signs of disappearing, which highlights just how fast global warming is changing the face of our planet.
He said: “When I first visited those ice caps, they seemed like such a permanent fixture of the landscape. To watch them die in less than 40 years just blows me away.
“We’ve long known that as climate change takes hold, the effects would be especially pronounced in the Arctic.
“But the death of those two little caps that I once knew so well has made climate change very personal. All that’s left are some photographs and a lot of memories.”
Globally, as it stands, sea levels are rising at about 8mm a year due to melting ice and climate change, and while that does not seem like much, the implications for future generations could be huge.
Between 1993 and 2014, sea levels rose by 66mm (2.3 inches) – or roughly 3mm per year.
If it continues at the current rate or gets faster, it could mean coastal cities such as New York could be submerged by the end of the century.
Global warming is contributing to a loss of ice cover in the Arctic and Antarctic circles and researchers believe Greenland could be one of the worst affected.
The ice covering Greenland is up to three kilometres thick in certain places, covering an area seven times the amount of the UK.
If all of this ice were to melt, it would cause sea levels to rise by a staggering seven metres, which could have major implications for the UK.
Climate models have shown that a sea level rise of more than two metres could permanently submerge large parts of the British coastline with the likes of Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of East London and the Thames Estuary all under threat.
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