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Arctic's "Last Ice" threatened by Climate Change earlier than expected

The Associated Press, NBC NEWS

Jul 13, 2021

If this region remains full of ice, it could provide a last summer refuge for polar bears and other arctic wildlife that depend on ice.

Part of the Arctic- nicknamed as the “Last Ice Area,” because of its thick floating sea ice shocked the scientists as it melted out in late July and August last year when the icebreaker, the Polarstern, was able to pass easily through the Wandel Sea, just north of Greenland. “It's called the Last Ice Area for a reason. We thought it was kind of stable,” said co-author Mike Steele, a University of Washington.

This area used to remain fully covered in ice throughout the year. Scientists believe the area — north of Greenland and Canada — could become the last refuge for animals like polar bears that depend on ice, because it was likely to withstand global warming for decades . The main cause for the sudden ice loss was strong winds that pushed the ice out the region and down the coast of Greenland.

Climate change has played a role in melting and thinning of ice, as has been the case elsewhere in the Arctic Ocean in recent decades. The Arctic is warming two and a half times faster than average, compared to other regions . Biodiversity is the key indicator of the healthy ecosystem. A variety of species can cope better with threats than a limited number of them in larger populations.

Even if certain species are affected by pollution or climate change, the ecosystem as a whole may adapt and survive.These findings are a call to action - we cannot survive without our furry counterparts. According to a recent study, two months of a home's electricity use bereave about 30 square feet of Arctic sea ice.

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