The Wandel Sea and nearby waters north of Canada and Greenland, long known as the “last ice area” because climate scientists previously believed it would weather rising temperatures for decades, may not be as stable as previously thought. Last summer scientists were shocked to discover sea ice in the area was low enough for a ship to pass through. Now, a new study in Communications Earth & Environment has found climate change contributed to the thinned sea ice. Unusually strong winds were the proximate force that pushed ice out of the region, but Arctic warming has significantly thinned ice, and thicker ice would have resisted those winds. The area is especially important because it could become a last refuge for polar bears and other animals that depend on solid sea ice. “It’s called the Last Ice Area for a reason. We thought it was kind of stable. It’s just pretty shocking. In 2020, this area melted out like crazy,” study co-author Mike Steele told the AP. (Associated Press, New York Times $, The Independent