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The Future of the Arctic

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Changes in the global climate are seen nowhere as clearly as in the Arctic. Warming in the Arctic has resulted in reduced extent and volume of sea ice, both seasonally and year-round. On the one hand, these changes have opened up habitat to subarctic species on all levels of the food chain from plankton to whales, and these species are migrating seasonally northwards. For Arctic species, however, particularly those that rely on sea ice for foraging (polar bears, walrus), resting (walrus, ice seals, polar bears) or giving birth (walrus and ice seals) the decrease in sea ice has the potential to negatively impact the survival of these species.

Arctic sea ice loss animation
The whales of the Arctic (bowhead, narwhal and beluga) may face increased competition for limited resources and increased predation from species such as killer whales; these latter animals are being seen in greater numbers in the far north. Changes in the abundance and distribution of Arctic animals will affect the local communities throughout the high Arctic that have relied on marine mammals for subsistence for thousands of years. Each year that the Arctic continues to warm will result in a little less Arctic, and with it, a little less beauty in the world.


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