19-square-mile ice sheet breaks loose in Canada

TORONTO (AP) -- A 19-square-mile ice shelf in Canada's northern Arctic has broken away from Ellesmere Island, surprising scientists who say the floating ice shelf is another dramatic indication of how warmer temperatures are changing the polar frontier.

Dr. Derek Mueller, an Arctic ice shelf specialist at Trent University in Ontario, said Wednesday that the 4,500-year-old Markham Ice Shelf separated in early August and is now drifting into the Arctic Ocean.

Dr. Luke Copland, director of the Laboratory for Cryospheric Research at the University of Ottawa, says reduced sea ice conditions and unusually high air temperatures have hastened the ice shelf loss this summer.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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