August 22, 2019

The Disappearance of Multiple Baffin Island Glaciers 2002-2019

Posted by Mauri Pelto

Glaciers at Point A and B have melted completely away.

The commemoration of a single disappearing glacier in Iceland, Okjokull has brought attention to what is quite a common event this decade, glacier disappearance. Here we report on a number of glaciers in the southern part of the Cumberland Peninsula, Baffin Island  that have either disappeared or separated into several parts  from 2002-2019. Way (2015) noted that on the next peninsula to the west, Terra Nivea and Grinnell Ice Cap had lost 20% of their area in the last three decades. The retreat and disappearance of ice caps in the area have led to a INSTAAR project at UColorado-Boulder examining vegetation that had been buried and is now being exposed.  This year the high snowlines by early June have led to the near complete loss of snowpack across glaciers of the region.  The melt rate of the exposed ice is higher than that of the snowcovered portion of the glaciers.

In the first image a small valley glacier at Point A has melted completely away.  At Point B a small plateau glacier is gone.  At Point C a remanent is left, though it cannot survive long now.  Below  the slope glacier at Point F is gone.  The plateau glacier at point G is gone.  The niche glacier at point E has separated into three small parts.

Glaciers at Point F and G have melted completely away.

Glacier at Point H has melted completely away.

At Point H a plateau glacier has been lost. At Point I two interconnected glaciers have separated into five smaller glaciers. Below the plateau glaciers at Point J and L have been lost.  At Point K a combination icecap-valley galciers has now separated into three parts.  At Point M an interconnected ice cap now consists of of six small glacier parts. The plateau glacier an Point N has been lost.  The slope glacier at Point O has been lost.  The disintegration and separation has been noted at other locations in the region such as Coutts Ice Cap and Borden Peninsula.

Glaciers at Point J and L have melted completely away.

Glaciers at Point N and O have melted completely away.