But according to NASA, this is still a significant event because it looks like the Ward Hunt ice has been in place for as many as 6,800 years. And it won’t be reforming any time soon.
The satellite images below, from NASA’s Earth Observatory, show the ice as it looked a little earlier in August, and eight years ago for comparison. Note the fractures just to the east and northeast of Ward Hunt Island, as compared to the image shot in 2002. Also note the ice free fjords in the more recent image. NASA points out that while the ice shelf seems larger to the west-northwest, it’s actually not. Most of what you see is floating sea ice frozen to the shelf, not part of the actual ice shelf itself.