We've already talked a bit about the Greenland ice sheet, Arctic glaciers, and ice caps. And the real take home story is that they're all losing mass and contributing to sea level rise. And that's along with really glaciers, ice caps all over the world and the Antarctic ice sheet. Yeah, there's always the occasional glacier that's advancing as I think I mentioned. But those are the exceptions rather than the rules. What I'd like to talk to you about today is really a personal story, and that's the death of the St. Patrick Bay ice caps. So what's going on here? Well, the disappearance of the St. Patrick Day ice caps, two little ice caps, is very emblematic of the rapid changes that we are seeing in the Arctic. These are ice caps that I visited back in 1982, in 1983. In 1982, though, is my first time to the Arctic. I had just gotten a bachelor's degree in geography, had gotten accepted into Graduate School, and, maybe it was just two weeks after I graduated, I was off to the Arctic to study these little ice caps, and their death has really made climate change a very personal thing to me. I mean I'm a scientist, I look at things objectively, but this one really hit home to me. Really brought home the fact that, hey, climate change is very, very real. We think of ice caps is something with some permanence. And to find that they would disappear die within my lifetime, just blew me away. Well, where are the St. Patrick bay ice caps, or I should say where were they? And they were on Northern Ellesmere Island. You see that island and read to the top of this figure to part of Canadian Arctic archipelago where these little ice caps was was about 82 degrees North. So definitely pretty far North in a polar desert environment, and here's what they look like back in 1959. Now there were aerial photographs taken at this time by the Canadians and you see, these two little ice caps. The one that with this sort of looks like a bit of a heart shape is the bigger of the two. That one was maybe five kilometres across. These were not big features, but they were little ice caps. And then you see that other one kind of if you go down, little down on the figure there, but that heart shaped one that's where I did most of my work. Anyhow, you see, there's a couple labels on their zebra. Some things like that that I've marked in there. These were just the sites of some of the meteorological stations that we set up because we were doing things like measuring the surface albedo of the ice sheet, various things. But we are also very interested in the mass balance of the ice sheet. Asking the question, was it growing or was it shrinking now? Here was our camp in 1983, basically at the very edge of the ice cap you see on the left, that white tent. That's what we use for us for cooking and for just hanging out. We had some chairs in there and that's where we cooked and things like that. We used a Coleman stove for cooking and for heat. Now back then, we didn't worry about things like carbon monoxide poisoning. I mean Coleman stove, they run on white gas, right? We weren't worried about carbon monoxide poisoning. I guess we didn't worry about those sorts of things back then, but on the other hand, let's say the tent was rather well-ventilated now. The ones on the right after we do our sleeping, so we've got various gear around there, but that's what it looked like here. It wasn't 92 that previous here. My first year up there and there I am making bread actually. We would try to have some of the comfort that hope you can actually kind of cook bread on a Coleman stove. There's something called a Coleman oven that fits on top of the stove, which after a fashion, [LAUGH] you can bake things. But let's say you don't have a lot of control over it, but that's what it looked like back then. It was some nasty weather at times. This was during a Blizzard in 1982. This was taken by my advisor guide name Ray Bradley. He's at the University of Massachusetts and there I am as an anemometer that I'm trying to read from to see what the wind speeds was and a white out. I mean you can get lossed pretty fast and there was no GPS or anything like that back then. Now one of the things we were doing of course was we were looking at the mass balance of those little ice caps and one of the things to do on that was to put a stake network in. So the idea is you drill a hole down into the ice cap and you insert an aluminum steak and you measure the snow depth and then how much of the steak is showing above the snow. So you do that in this When we got there and then you do it again. Well, you left when most of the snow has melted off and you measure the changes in how long that stake is. And you do that the next year and so on and so on. Overtime basically, if more stake is showing, that means the ice cap has lost mass and you can measure that. If there's less steak showing, then it really means it's gained mass and you can measure that as well. So we put in this fairly extensive stake network you see on the right hand side here. That's just from my field book that I kept at the time. Showing the location of these stakes on the left there's one of my field assistance that's Mike Palecki back then. Drilling a hole through the ice very time consuming thing, no electric grills. Nothing like that. Just a hand drill. Here's a couple more shots of that. There's the drill we were using pretty long drill right? Which you get right down through the a couple of metres down anyhow and that's one of the stakes that would put in with a flag on it so you could see it fairly easily. Now here's the first question. When did the Saint Patrick Bay ice caps likely form? The answer is the little Ice Age. These are probably pretty young features. We estimated that they probably form some time like 300 years ago, maybe 300 years ago, during the Little Ice Age, and that was a period of a fairly cold climate rather pronounced in the Arctic. And it was part of what we call a neo glaciation. It was cool, and it likely that that's when the Saint Patrick Bay ice caps actually form, so these were fairly recent features. Now the thing is, we knew that they were probably shrinking. We certainly knew that they had been shrinking even when we got there. This is a meltwater stream and on the left there you can see that's that lower ice cap is smaller ice cap. And there's a summer meltwater stream and you can see the water rushing down through there and see how it's incised okay into the banks there. And that's a pretty good indication to us that these things were really shrinking already by the time that we got there, but it was unclear what was going on, how fast. Now the ice caps were revisited back in 2001 by Ray Bradley. My former advisor and some of his students. His second sort of generation of students, and they did a GPS survey so they could survey the perimeter of the ice caps. So from the satellite images or from those aircraft overflights, those aircraft aerial photographs. We got a good idea of what the perimeter of those ice caps was, so they were able to do it again in 2001, so we had information from 1959. Then we had a through 2001 and this is where we stood just a few years ago. And what I'm showing here is the outlines of the ice caps and in the blue on the outside that's the perimeter of the ice caps, which was measured in 1959, which we determine from these aerial surveys. There you see the inner inside of that in that orange line. That's what we saw in 2001. But then we were able to get for more recent years high resolution satellite data for 2014 and 2015 and you see in the middle of those circles that remains of the ice cap at that time. And so it turned out that by like 2015 those ice caps had shrunken by 95%. I mean they were almost gone. And we had also been looking at two other ice caps, the Murrian Simmons ice cap, which I had visited, and we did the same sort of thing, and they had markedly shrunk as well. They hung on better than the Saint Patrick Bay ice caps. Maybe because they were somewhat higher elevation. We're not quite sure, but it was very clear that by 2015, 2016 when we also got some satellite images that they were not doing very well at all. But here we are in the summer of 2017 were we got some more satellite imagery, so the background different one of the firm was kind of greenish here is kind of in a brown. It doesn't matter, but I'm trying to show arrows here that point to the big ice cap in that little ice cap. And that's all that was left. And basically for that big ice caps you had a patch of ice maybe the size of a football field that was it, and what we have found now is that looking at even more recent data they're gone. They have completely disappeared. And so, a funeral I don't know. I'd love to go up there sometime and see what's left. There is a we made up there. I believe this still half a bottle of Jameson Scotch in one of them. I just love to go up and see the remains. And you know, maybe we'll find our metal poles lying on On the ground, the ones we put in to monitor the mass balance of the ice caps. Well, clearly the mass balance was negative, because they are gone. Here's one question, are the Saint Patrick Bay ice caps the first ice caps in the Canadian Arctic archipelago to disappear that we know of? The answer is we're not sure. I think they are, I think they are, but I'm not positive about this. I think you could do a a fairly good survey to determine this, but they are dead. They contributed to sea level rise, a drop in the bucket, these were small little ice caps. But as I say, it became a very, very personal thing to me to see these ice caps, things that I thought had some permanence just die out within the course of my own career, remarkable. It really brought it home to me, thank you.