The Arctic Sea Ice Refuge
Stephanie Pfirman1, Bruno Tremblay2, Charles Fowler3, Robert Newton4
1Environmental Science, Barnard College, Columbia University, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY, 10027, USA, Phone 212-854-5120, spfirman [at] barnard [dot] edu
2McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, bruno [dot] tremblay [at] mcgill [dot] ca
3University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA, cfowler [at] colorado [dot] edu
4Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY, USA, bnewton [at] ldeo [dot] columbia [dot] edu
As global warming reduces the summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, ecosystems which require perennial ice are likely to survive longest in the region immediately north of Canada and Greenland. Models and satellite data indicate that summer sea ice will persist longer in this region than any anywhere else in the Arctic. Analysis of models and satellite data indicate that this natural refugium relies on locally created sea ice, as well as drifting ice that forms originally over the central Arctic. Depending on future changes in melt patterns and sea ice transport rates, the Siberian shelf seas may also be a source of ice to this region. An integrated, international system of monitoring and management of this sea ice refuge, along with the ice source regions, has the potential to maintain viable habitat for ice-associated species, including polar bears, for decades into the future.