18 Mar 2014
A new study suggests that Greenland’s northeast ice stream, located 600km to the interior of its ice sheet is thinning because of warming temperatures. The study used data from several dozen GPS locations along Greenland’s coast.
Greenland’s previously stable northeastern ice sheet is starting to melt, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
While Greenland’s melting ice sheet has contributed to an increase in the world’s sea levels over the last 20 years, the recent study suggests that Greenland’s northeast ice stream, located 600km to the interior of the ice sheet is also thinning because of warming temperatures.
Greenland is believed to contribute 0.5 mm per year to the 3.2mm annual rise of the world’s sea levels.
VIDEO: How ice melt in Greenland is affecting its Inuit population
The study used data from several dozen GPS locations along Greenland’s coast.
“The Greenland ice sheet has contributed more than any other ice mass to sea level rise over the last two decades and has the potential, if it were completely melted to raise global sea level by more than seven metres (22.75 feet),” Jonathan Bamber, a professor at Britain’s University of Bristol and one of the study’s co-authors, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) this week.
“About half of the increased contribution of the ice sheet is due to the speedup of glaciers in the south and northwest. Until recently, northeast Greenland has been relatively stable. This new study shows that it is no longer the case.”
Nails for the coffins of climate change denialists from northern Ontario, 300~400 miles NE of Thunder Bay: “The warming trend goes back at least 30 years, and is exemplified by the increase in annual crop heat units (CHU) at Earlton from 1800 to 2300 CHU. This has had a major positive impact on crop production. For example, soybeans, corn grain and silage corn are now reliably grown in the Temiskaming region, while canola has supplemented the traditional barley, oat and wheat crops in the Cochrane-Kapuskasing area. Crop Yields in the Temiskaming District: Corn = 130 – 145 bu/ac, Soybeans = 50 – 60 bu/ac”
Northern Ontario Agriculture Facts and Figures in Brief
Climate change is having a global impact on agriculture, especially in Northeastern Ontario. What could this mean for the future of this region?
- 2,800 farms which return $190 million in agricultural farm cash receipt
- 700,000 acres of farmed land.
- It has been estimated that most districts in Northern Ontario can increase active agricultural lands from 20 to 50% by drawing idled private lands back into use.
- The Great Clay Belt (GCB) in Northeastern Ontario consists of 16 million acres of potentially fertile glaciolacustrine soils (Figure 1). This is double the amount of cropland currently being farmed in the province.
Figure 1. The Great Clay Belt
- To date only about 2 per cent of this land has been developed for agriculture .
- The GCB also stretches into Northwestern Quebec, which contains another 13 million acres.
- The Canada Land Inventory has identified 4.4 million acres of Ontario’s GCB as Class 2, 3 or 4, which are suitable for cultivation. The remainder has either not been classified or is unsuitable for agriculture.
- The main limitations to productivity are drainage and climate. Systematic tile drainage has been shown to address the first limitation, while long-term climate warming and the development of new crop varieties and agronomic techniques have revolutionized the crops which can be grown (Figure 2)
- The warming trend goes back at least 30 years, and is exemplified by the increase in annual crop heat units (CHU) at Earlton from 1800 to 2300 CHU. This has had a major positive impact on crop production. For example, soybeans, corn grain and silage corn are now reliably grown in the Temiskaming region, while canola has supplemented the traditional barley, oat and wheat crops in the Cochrane-Kapuskasing area.
2011 -2012 Crop Yields*
- Corn = 130 – 145 bu/ac
- Soybeans = 50 – 60 bu/ac
- Canola = 1.45 tonnes/ac
Figure 2. Kapuskasing CHU trend
- In addition, these regions are well suited to forage production and are capable of supporting large herds of ruminant animals
- Development potential for the GCB in Ontario is shown by the degree to which agriculture in Northwestern Quebec has progressed (Figure 3)
Figure 3. Development differences between Northeastern Ontario (west or left of border) and Northwestern Quebec (right or east of the line) in the Great Clay Belt
2006 Census of Agriculture. Statistics Canada.
Chapman and Brown. The Canada Land Inventory. 1966.
Environment Canada Weather Station, Earlton Airport. Ontario Climate Center, Kapuskasing Data –
Environment Canada, 2012. http://www.climateontario.ca
2011 Census of Agriculture (Preliminary data). Statistics Canada.
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|Author:||Tom Hamilton – Beef Cattle Production Systems Program Lead/OMAF and MRA|
|Creation Date:||09 July 2013|
|Last Reviewed:||09 July 2013|