The Barnes Ice Cap, considered the last remaining piece of the major glacier Laurentide Ice Sheet that once blanketed Canada and much of the northern United States is being threatened by global warming a new study says. In a recent article by Brian Kahn at ClimateCentral.org, he wrote “Humans are in the process of changing the planet in a way that hasn’t happened in 2.6 million years.”
The ice cap reached stability on Baffin Island 2,000 years ago. But rising temperatures has made the island stable no longer, and as a result, the bowling pin shaped Barnes Ice Cap is becoming smaller and smaller. The ice cap started getting smaller at a steady pace around the 1990’s and as of now, is only the size of the state of Delaware. The blame is attributed to human carbon pollution which has driven up global temperatures. Scientists say if rising temperatures keep up at the same pace, the Banes Ice Cap will be gone in 300 years.
Glaciers are important indicators of past climates, and allow us to contextualize the current trends in climate change. By examining ice cores, we have been able to document important data, such as that the current CO2 levels in the atmosphere are unprecedented (at least in the last 800,000 years). Has this ice cap had any cores taken? If so, what did those cores show? How is this particular ice cap different than others in different locations and what can its properties tell us?