Break-up of the largest Arctic ice shelf and associated loss of an epishelf lake
Article first published online: 18 OCT 2003
Copyright 2003 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 30, Issue 20, October 2003
How to Cite
2003), Break-up of the largest Arctic ice shelf and associated loss of an epishelf lake, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, 2031, doi:10.1029/2003GL017931, 20., , and (
- Issue published online: 18 OCT 2003
- Article first published online: 18 OCT 2003
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 AUG 2003
- Manuscript Revised: 16 AUG 2003
- Manuscript Received: 10 JUN 2003
 Field observations and RADARSAT imagery of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf (lat. 83°N, long. 74°W), Nunavut, Canada, show that it broke in two over the period 2000 to 2002, with additional fissuring and further ice island calving. The fracturing caused the drainage of an ice-dammed epishelf lake (Disraeli Fiord), a rare ecosystem type. Reductions in the freshwater volume of Disraeli Fiord occurred from 1967 to the present and accompanied a significant rise in mean annual air temperature over the same period in this far northern region. The recent collapse of ice shelves in West Antarctica has been interpreted as evidence of accelerated climate change in that region. Similarly, the inferred thinning and observed fragmentation of the ice shelf, plus the drainage of the epishelf lake, are additional evidence for climate change in the High Arctic.