Summer 2011 loss of Arctic ice shelves

Information and imagery

Press Release September 27, 2011

Links to imagery:
Serson Ice Shelf
Ward Hunt Ice Shelf
Ellesmere Island ice shelves

The Serson Ice Shelf was reduced from 205 km2 to two separate remnant sections in 2008: Serson A, a 42 km2 floating glacier tongue and Serson B (35 km2) just to the north. This past summer, the Serson A was reduced to a 25 km2 and the Serson B was reduced to 7 km2.

Last year, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf was 340 km2 with its central area broken into pieces. This past summer, the central area disintegrated into drifting ice masses, leaving two separate ice shelves: a western (227 km2) and an eastern (74 km2) Ward Hunt Ice Shelf.

In 1906, the Ellesmere Island ice shelves were an estimated 8900 km2 and were reduced to 1043 km2 over the last century. The total extent of Ellesmere ice shelves is now 563 km2 or 54 per cent of what it was prior to the loss of the Ayles Ice Shelf in August 2005.

Links to related websites
Canadian Ice Service:
Ice shelf loss 2008:
International Polar Year MERGE Project:
Arctic ice shelves, their dependent ecosystems and the IPY Canadian Ranger Patrol 2008:
Polar Continental Shelf Program:
Quttinirpaaq National Park: