"Part of the Arctic is nicknamed the “Last Ice Area,” because floating sea ice there is usually so thick that it’s likely to withstand global warming for decades. So, scientists were shocked last summer when there was suddenly enough open water for a ship to pass through.
The opening, documented by scientists aboard a German icebreaker, popped up in late July and August in the Wandel Sea north of Greenland. Mostly it was due to a freak weather event, but thinning sea ice from decades of climate change was a significant factor, according to a study Thursday in the journal Communications Earth and Environment.
While scientists have said most of the Arctic could be free of summer sea ice by mid-century, the Last Ice Area was not part of that equation. They figure the 380,000-square-mile (1-million-square-kilometer) area won’t be ice-free in the summer until around 2100, said study co-author Kent Moore, a University of Toronto atmospheric physicist."