Glacial Melt Revealed the Never-Before-Seen Land In the Canadian Arctic

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A new study issued in the Nature Communication journal revealed that a never-before-seen land in the Canadian Arctic emerged from underneath the ice thanks to glacial melt. The scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder, who carried out this research, also blamed climate change for the accelerated ice melting that’s affecting the Canadian Arctic region, among other areas around the world.

“The Arctic is currently warming two to three times faster than the rest of the globe, so naturally, glaciers and ice caps are going to react faster,” explained Simon Pendleton, a researcher at CU Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), and the leading author of the recent study.

Simon Pendleton and his co-workers collected plants from the ice caps on Baffin Island which is one of the most massive islands in the whole world. The region’s plateaus are rich in lichens and moss which are kept in their original state for thousands of years thanks to the ice.

Glacial Melt Revealed a Never-Before-Seen Land In the Canadian Arctic

By studying plants in the Arctic region, the scientists believe they can shed more light on how fast the glacial melt can get. This time, however, the research revealed a never-before-seen land in the Canadian Arctic. The land remained hidden under the ice for the past 40,000 years, and it came to light only after the glaciers in the region began to retreat.

Thanks to their study, the researchers managed to study the plants in an Arctic landscape and learn more about the soil under the Canadian Arctic glaciers, which has now become visible after 40,000 years due to glacial melt.

Unlike biology, which has spent the past 3 billion years developing schemes to avoid being impacted by climate change, glaciers have no strategy for survival. They’re well behaved, responding directly to summer temperature. If summers warm, they immediately recede; if summers cool, they advance. This makes them one of the most reliable proxies for changes in summer temperature,” said Gifford Miller from CU Boulder, referring to the reactions of glaciers to climate change.


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