Year in review: Sea ice loss will shake up ecosystems | Science News


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Year in review: Sea ice loss will shake up ecosystems

Polar bears aren’t the only organisms affected by Arctic melting

7:37am, December 14, 2016
ivory gull

COMPLEX CONSEQUENCES The endangered ivory gull spends a lot of its time on highly concentrated sea ice. Researchers are investigating how sea ice decline will affect these birds and other organisms.

In a better world, it would be the big news of the year just to report that Arctic sea ice shrank to 4.14 million square kilometers this summer, well below the 1981–2010 average of 6.22 million square kilometers (SN Online: 9/19/16). But in this world of changing climate, extreme summer ice loss has become almost expected. More novel in 2016 were glimpses of the complex biological consequences of melting at the poles and the opening of Arctic passageways, talked about for at least a decade and now well under way.

With top-of-the-world trade and tourist shortcuts opening, less ice means more travel. Europe-to-Asia shipping routes

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