Variability and change in the Canadian cryosphere

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-012-0470-0
AuthorSearch for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for:
TypeArticle
Journal titleClimatic Change
ISSN0165-0009
Volume115
Issue1
Pages5988; # of pages: 30
SubjectCanadian Arctic; Changing climate; Cryosphere; Data sets; Freshwater ice; Human activities; Ice shelves; International polar year; Mass loss; Northern regions; Observational research; Observing systems; Rate of change; Resource development; Retrieval algorithms; Satellite measurements; Sea ice extent; Snow cover extents; Spatial extent; Surface air temperatures; Temporal persistence; Permafrost; Sea ice; Snow; air temperature; algorithm; cryosphere; data set; human activity; ice breakup; ice shelf; natural resource; permafrost; research program; resource development; satellite imagery; sea ice; snow cover; Canada
AbstractDuring the International Polar Year (IPY), comprehensive observational research programs were undertaken to increase our understanding of the Canadian polar cryosphere response to a changing climate. Cryospheric components considered were snow, permafrost, sea ice, freshwater ice, glaciers and ice shelves. Enhancement of conventional observing systems and retrieval algorithms for satellite measurements facilitated development of a snapshot of current cryospheric conditions, providing a baseline against which future change can be assessed. Key findings include: 1. surface air temperatures across the Canadian Arctic exhibit a warming trend in all seasons over the past 40 years. A consistent pan-cryospheric response to these warming temperatures is evident through the analysis of multi-decadal datasets; 2. in recent years (including the IPY period) a higher rate of change was observed compared to previous decades including warming permafrost, reduction in snow cover extent and duration, reduction in summer sea ice extent, increased mass loss from glaciers, and thinning and break-up of the remaining Canadian ice shelves. These changes illustrate both a reduction in the spatial extent and mass of the cryosphere and an increase in the temporal persistence of melt related parameters. The observed changes in the cryosphere have important implications for human activity including the close ties of northerners to the land, access to northern regions for natural resource development, and the integrity of northern infrastructure. © 2012 UKCrown: Environment Canada; © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Canadian Hydraulics Centre (CHC-CHC)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21269463
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Record identifier723c3f52-149c-4642-bec6-96a3473d9d3d
Record created2013-12-12
Record modified2016-05-09
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