New satellite images from NASA show that Canada's St. Patrick Bay ice caps have completely disappeared.
"I can't say I was terribly surprised because we knew they were going, but it has happened really fast," Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, told CNN. Serreze co-authored a paper in 2017 estimating the ice caps would be gone within five years.
The two ice caps were located on the Hazen Plateau of northeastern Ellesmere Island in Nunavut. Data from 1959 suggests the area of the larger cap was 3 square miles and the smaller one 1.1 square miles, declining ever since.
Scientists estimate the glaciers, which likely formed around 5,000 years ago, would have been significantly larger between the 16th and the 19th centuries, a time frame known as the "Little Ice Age."
The very hot temperatures in the summer of 2015 reduced the longevity of the St. Patrick's Bay ice caps. "You could really see they got hit. But that heat has really just not stopped. It's just getting too warm," Serreze told CNN.
There are other glaciers near the now gone St. Patrick's Bay ice caps, such as the Murray and Simmons ice caps, which sit at a higher elevation. They have also been shrinking significantly.