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Variability and change in the Canadian cryosphere

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  • C. Derksen

    ()

  • S. Smith
  • M. Sharp
  • L. Brown
  • S. Howell
  • L. Copland
  • D. Mueller
  • Y. Gauthier
  • C. Fletcher
  • A. Tivy
  • M. Bernier
  • J. Bourgeois
  • R. Brown
  • C. Burn
  • C. Duguay
  • P. Kushner
  • A. Langlois
  • A. Lewkowicz
  • A. Royer
  • A. Walker
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    Abstract

    During 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. Copyright UKCrown: Environment Canada; © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2012

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Climatic Change.

    Volume (Year): 115 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 (November)
    Pages: 59-88

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:115:y:2012:i:1:p:59-88

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    Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/10584

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    Cited by:
    1. Larissa Pizzolato & Stephen Howell & Chris Derksen & Jackie Dawson & Luke Copland, 2014. "Changing sea ice conditions and marine transportation activity in Canadian Arctic waters between 1990 and 2012," Climatic Change, Springer, Springer, vol. 123(2), pages 161-173, March.
    2. Martin Visbeck & Ulrike Kronfeld-Goharani & Barbara Neumann & Wilfried Rickels & Jörn Schmidt & Erik van Doorn, 2013. "Establishing a Sustainable Development Goal for Oceans and Coasts to Face the Challenges of our Future Ocean," Kiel Working Papers 1847, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

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