Now, Arctic's oldest and strongest ice starts to melt

Calving icebergs and the resulting massive wave at the face of the Eqip Glacier in Disko Bay on a summer evening in Ilulissat Greenland

Calving icebergs and the resulting massive wave at the face of the Eqip Glacier in Disko Bay on a summer evening in Ilulissat Greenland

As Live Science reported at the time, February 2018 was a bizarrely warm winter month in the Arctic, with the region at one point climbing above freezing for 24 hours during a time when local waters usually pack on a thick crust of ice that can last throughout the year.

This never-before-seen phenomenon has scientists shocked and anxious, especially since the area where ice is now breaking and melting was projected to be the most resistant to rising global temperatures given its great thickness and how deeply frozen it usually is, even in the summer. Thomas Lawren scientists meteorological Institute called the event "terrible".

'I think that solar heating of the water column will increase during this opening and this will delay freeze-up and ice formation, ' commented Rasmus Tage Tonboe, a sea ice expert at the the Danish Meteorological Institute.

Also, since the "last ice area" must have been serving as the one liveable space for Arctic species, the melting and breaking of ice poses a fatal threat to them. On average, it has a thickness of more than four meters and can be folded in ridges with a thickness of 20 metres or more. The ice there is so old and thick that scientists believed the shelf would be the last to remain intact in the area in the face of climate change.

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He added that the ice froze back over after the February defrost, but was much thinner than it had been. This area is the oldest and most massive ice sheet, which still withstand climate change.

"They dig holes in the snow and come out in the spring and go hunting". As this multi-year ice continues to get pushed up against the coast, it's unable to move. "You would lose the polar bear habitat". The heatwaves weakened the ice and dislodged it from the coast, and warm winds pushed it further from land, creating a patch of open water larger than has ever before been observed in the Arctic.

Scientists say that the melting process occurs throughout the Arctic.

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