Canada's last fully intact Arctic ice shelf collapses into the ocean

Aug 7 2020, 10:47 am

Canada’s last fully intact Arctic ice shelf has collapsed into the ocean, the Canadian Ice Service is reporting.

In satellite images posted to its Twitter account, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s ice monitoring service revealed that the Milne Ice Shelf located on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut had broken off into the Arctic ocean, reducing its area by approximately 43%.

“A huge section of the Milne Ice Shelf has collapsed into the Arctic Ocean producing a ~79 km2 ice island,” the Canadian Ice Service said on social media. “Above normal air temperatures, offshore winds, and open water in front of the ice shelf are all part of the recipe for ice shelf break up.”

Ellesmere Island is the northernmost island in the Canadian Arctic, according to, and sits west of Greenland, and north of Baffin Island. The Milne Ice Shelf formally had an area of about 290 km2 and according to researcher Martin Jeffries, has an “undulating topography of ridges and troughs (rolls) that is characteristic of arctic ice shelves.”

As ice can impact the lives of many people across the country, but especially in the Arctic, the Canadian Ice Service, a division of the Meteorological Service of Canada, serves as the authority for ice and iceberg information in Canada’s navigable waters.

It has been as a warm year in the Arctic, as it was previously reported that the average temperature in Arctic Siberia climbed as high as 10°C above normal for June and averaged more than 5°C above. This is higher than both 2018 and 2019, which were the two previously warmest Junes on record.

Peter SmithPeter Smith

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