PerspectiveEcology

Witnessing ice habitat collapse in the Arctic

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Science  27 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6520, pp. 1031-1032
DOI: 10.1126/science.abe4491

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Summary

Over a 2-day period at the end of July 2020, the Milne Ice Shelf underwent fracturing and collapse, losing 43% of its vast expanse as ice islands calved into the Arctic Ocean (see figure) (1). This sudden attrition of a thick Arctic ice shelf harboring diverse animal and microbial communities (2, 3) is one of many recent events along Canada's far northern coastline that underscore the vulnerability of polar ice habitats to ongoing climate change. The observed impacts are of special concern given the conservation value of ecosystems in this High Arctic region.

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