Oct. 19, 2021

According to a new study, If carbon emissions continue at current levels, summer ice will disappear by 2100 — and, along with it, creatures such as seals and polar bears.


  • In winter, most of the Arctic Ocean surface freezes, and scientists expect this to continue for the foreseeable future, even as climate warms.

  • In summer, when some of the ice melts, winds and currents carry it for great distances — some of it into the North Atlantic, but much of it into the Arctic’s farthest-north coasts, along Greenland and the Canadian islands.

  • This results in a rich marine ecosystem. On the Arctic ice, algae bloom. These feed tiny animals, which in turn feed fish, which in turn feed seals, which feed polar bears at the top of the chain.

  • The irregular topography also helps create lairs for seals, and ice caves for polar bears during the winter.

  • But with a warming climate, summer sea ice has been shrinking fast, and now consistently spans less than half the area it did in the early 1980s.