With all the attention given to the loss of sea ice in the Arctic, it’s easy to forget that some ice will persist for many years yet. True, climate models project that much of the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in summer by 2040, but they also predict that half a million square kilometres of sea ice could remain until at least 2100.
This ice will lie next to the northern coasts of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic archipelago, the region where the oldest and thickest ice now occurs. This region will therefore offer at least a limited sanctuary for species that prefer, or rely on, year-round sea ice. Projections published in February indicate that by the middle of the century optimal polar bear habitat will have disappeared across most of the Arctic, but will persist north of the Canadian Arctic archipelago and Greenland.