Last Ice Area in Arctic – UPSC Prelims

Last Ice Area:
  • The Last Ice Area is located north of Greenland and in Ellesmere Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut.
  • Scientists had believed this area was strong enough to withstand global warming.
  • In 2015, National Geographic had forecasted the total disappearance of summer ice in the Arctic by the year 2040. The only place that would be able to withstand a warming climate would be the “Last Ice Area”.

Why is Ice Last Area important?
  • The Last Ice area is important because it was thought to be able to help ice-dependent species as ice in the surrounding areas melted away.
  • This area is used by polar bears to hunt for seals, who use ice to build dens for their offspring. Walruses too use the surface of the ice for foraging.
Reasons for Melting of Last Ice Area: The first sign of change in the Last Ice area was observed in 2018. The reasons for the change include:
  • About 80% of thinning can be attributed to weather-related factors, such as winds that break up and move the ice around.
  • The remaining 20% can be attributed to the longer-term thinning of the ice due to global warming.
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