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Giant metaphor crashes through the ice on Canada’s Great Bear Ice Crossing

Great Bear Ice Crossing

An 80-thousand pound metaphor crashed through the ice on the Northwest Territories’ Great Bear Ice Crossing on Saturday in the form of an off-white Western Star fuel tanker.

The CBC reports that the tanker was carrying heating fuel to Deline, a town of about 500 near the Great Bear Lake. The accident happened just three days after the territory’s transportation department raised the allowable weight on the Great Bear Ice Crossing from 10,000 kilograms to 40,000.

The truck is currently semi-submerged in the top portion of the ice, which one official estimates to be between 100 and 120 centimetres thick. No one was injured in the incident.

The symbolism of a fuel truck trapped in the ice in Canada’s north will not be lost on anyone who follows news from the scientific community about climate change.

Recent data from the NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirms that global warning is particularly intense in the Arctic —a phenomenon referred to as “Arctic amplification”. In January, scientists confirmed a record low level for Arctic sea ice. And the data for January was particularly worrying.

“We’ve looked at the average January temperatures, and we look at what we call the 925 millibar level, about 3,000 feet up in the atmosphere,” says Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. “And it was, I would say, absurdly warm across the entire Arctic Ocean.”

Canada has 5400 kilometres of ice roads, and they have provided a vital link not only for the approximately 43,000 resident of the Northwest Territories, but also for the important diamond mining industry. But researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles say that just 13 per cent of these routes may be accessible by 2050.

The United Nations reports that, due to man made emissions, it is likely that global temperatures will increase by as much as 4.8 Celsius by the end of the 21st Century. Some believe the effects of such a shift will include severe storms, drought, even a plunge in global food output.

But some scientists have an even bigger fear: permafrost.

“There is a lot of carbon frozen in the Arctic soil’s permafrost layer,” says Neil Sturchio, professor and chair of the University of Delaware’s Department of Geological Sciences. “If this all thaws out, prevailing thought is that the carbon in the soil could be released to the atmosphere and potentially accelerate global warming.”

Canada has 5400 kilometres of ice roads, and they have provided a vital link not only for the approximately 43,000 resident of the Northwest Territories, but also for the important diamond mining industry. But researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles say that just 13 per cent of these routes may be accessible by 2050.

This year, the opening of the famed Tibbitt-to-Contwoyto Winter Road, which has been open since 1982, was delayed this year. And the heaviest loads are being delayed until later this month, when the ice is expected to be at its thickest.

Meanwhile back in Deline, transportation crews are looking to find a detour to the isolated town, whose name is derived from the First Nation term for “where the waters flow.”

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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  1. Exaggerating and abusing vague climate change science wasn’t “progressive” or even civilized.
    Nobody is preventing or disallowing scientists from saying smoking causing cancer is real so who is preventing climate change scientists from saying the same for a CO2 Armageddon that they themselves say they agree is only “99% real”?
    And if you eager “believers” don’t think science has to agree it’s real then what else is preventing another 35 years of debate and global climate action delay to save the planet?
    CO2 is the new Y2K

  2. The author is a typical global warming doomer leaping to blame any and all events on global warming. There is zero evidence that this incident is the result of global warming. Useful idiot pushing the hoax.

  3. It’s somehow comforting to know that I’m an old man in ill health. With melting permafrost comes clouds of methane, enough fast acting greenhouse gas to bring down civilization well before some of those living today have met their natural end.
    The northern hemisphere is already more than 1.5 c above pre-industrial levels. 1.5 c is what the Paris Agreement was aiming to avoid by 2100!
    For centuries religionists cried that “the end ts nigh”, this time it’s the scientists. This time we should be listening.
    CO2 levels are not dropping or leveling out, they are increasing ever more rapidly. CH4 levels leap higher at even more astonishing rates. Yet disinformation clogs the press and the internet & nothing is done to find another path, and make no mistake, the path we are on leads to only one outcome.
    Man survives in a relatively narrow temperature band, and most of mankind lives perilously close to the upper end of this band, At 35 c wet bulb we’re dead within hours, so are all the mammals we like to eat. We might be able to survive in an air conditioned building, but starvation will come soon enough.
    How will Canada defend her borders from 100’s of millions of climate refugees marching northward. We’re seeing what a million refugees are doing to Europe. How many refugees will we be able to feed, house and control? How will we feed ourselves when crops fail and cattle die.
    If we had acted in 1980, 1990, possibly even in 2000? we might have had a chance, Today, on the trajectory we’ve chosen, there is little chance for personal survival and no chance for civilization.
    Pleasant Dreams

  4. Congrats! Your one liner made it all too obvious on yourself! Have a nice day and keep up the good image on your stunningly beautiful verbiage! 😀

  5. I genuinely think this post was written by a (simple) computer program designed to simulate internet trolling. It makes zero sense, from either a skeptic or non-skeptic perspective.

  6. Thank you for your thorough comment… I agree wholeheartedly… wish I had known about this issue long long ago… only began to hear enough to understand it as a serious issue in 2003-4 …. I did hear something back in 1999 … but, only briefly and not in a way to make it seem like an immediate issue. Plus, I did not have internet then…. but did have a computer for word processing use…. I began to listen to NPR in 2003 and then a co worker turned me on to Common Dreams.org…. so, I never stopped after that… I have down loaded PDF’s and white papers… .plus I have a store of articles saved… on many issues…. so that I can have a time line of history … just in case it starts to get “changed”… by anyone in power…

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