Answered Questions

Glaciers (1)

Can you provide any indication on where I can find some general information about glaciers and ice caps in Ellesmere Island in Nunavut – info such as the number of glaciers, average length of glaciers, average volume, average area, etc.


I don't have all of the numbers on the Ellesmere Icefields, and no one knows the volumes (the ice thickness has never been mapped), but the ice areas are well known. There are numbers on the attached document (QEI_IceAreas.png) for all of the major icefields in the Queen Elizabeth Islands (ice area and recent ice volume change).

See also the following:

Lake Ice (1)

I am planning to fish Wollaston Lake and/or Reindeer Lake in Saskatchewan in mid-June. The long winter and cools spring suggests that there may still be ice on those lakes late into June. Is there any way to forecast when ice may be out?

Hi Bert, and thank you for your question!
From the interactive lake ice tool on our site (, it looks like the ice usually melts on Reindeer and Wollaston Lakes in May, except for 2011 when it seemed to hang around until June. On an average year, it looks like you should be OK for fishing these lakes in mid-June, but this year was unusual, as you indicate. Our SWE maps ( show that the snow cover in northeast SK may have been above normal in early May, with snow lingering even through mid-May, but the maps do not continue beyond 15 May so I am unsure what happened after that. Once you return from your trip, can you let us know what ice conditions you found during your travels? Please respond here or e-mail us at Thanks, and happy summer!

Julie, CCIN Manager

Snow (2)

I'm conducting a research project for school and one of my questions asked about if this career field is on the rise in the next coming years and asked about the salary. I can't seem to find the answer anywhere.

Response from Ross Brown:
Not if the jobs are tied to the area of snow and ice on the planet! Seriously, snow and ice are specialty study areas where specialized skills are usually acquired on top of basic science or technical training. There are not many places where cryospheric knowledge and training are essential job requirements. Some examples would be snow and ice analysts at meteorological centres, and researchers in University and government.
For the salary, it is difficult to respond as there is no such thing as a clearly-defined “cryospheric career." People who choose a career in science/research tend to do so without overly high salary expectations, e.g., an experienced researcher with a Ph.D. (6+ years university training) is probably looking at a salary of $50-75K in a research establishment.

Snow crystal photo by Luke Copland.
As a photographer - and also a follower of CCIN's cryospheric research efforts - I am curious as to how he accomplished this beautiful close up photo. What kind of lens was used, filter used - if any, was the snow placed on a mirror? I am an author and speaker about water - therefore, my interest. Thank you, William Waterway

Response from Dr. Luke Copland:

I took that photo in the field in the Yukon with a basic handheld camera, as part of a glaciology field class for undergraduate students. To see those patterns we dug a snowpit about 2 m deep in the accumulation area of the Kaskawulsh Glacier, and dug the snow out from either side of a horizontal ice lens. I then chipped a piece of the lens out with an ice axe, and smoothed and thinned it down by melting it with my hands until it was a few mm thick. I then placed the ice lens on a sheet of polarized film and overlaid another piece of polarized film on top. By rotating the top sheet it cross-polarizes the light that passes through (in a slightly different way for each ice crystal), producing the effects seen in the photo. This technique is often used in ice coring to understand how the orientation and characteristics of ice crystals change with depth.

It should be pretty easy to reproduce this at home. You just need any piece of flat ice – you could freeze some water in a dinner plate for example. The ice can be thinned in the base of a frying pan on little (or no) heat. You can buy sheets of the polarizing film from good camera stores or suppliers such as this one:

…or even use polarized sunglasses. When you put the ice between the polarized material and shine light through it you should see effects similar to those shown in the photo.




Reply from William:

Thank you Luke - amazing how creative we humans can be when using technology to explore and understand the world of ice.

Advisory Council

Ask a Question

Question to be answered.
Longer question text.
This question is for preventing automated spam submissions. Please write the words that you see below in the box at the bottom, then click Submit. If you can not read the words, click on the top red button for new words.