If you thought global climate change has only affected the Arctic’s year-round ice cover, think again. 

According to a new study, even the region’s oldest, thickest sea ice will vanish in the coming years. 


Yes, that’s scary but true. Known as the Arctic’s “Last Ice Area”, the icy zone, that extends more than 1,200 miles, is now under threat. 

The area, from Greenland’s northern coast to the western part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, is enduring ice that is at least 5 years old – older than all neighbouring regions in the Arctic – and measures about 13 feet (4 meters) in thickness. 

National Geographic

This chunk of ice, once considered to be very stable and robust, is going to melt soon and at an alarming rate. 

In fact, the Last Ice Area is disappearing about twice as rapidly as the Arctic’s younger, thinner patches of ice, finds the same study. 


Sea ice cover in the Arctic grows and shrinks with the seasons, but recent years have seen lesser and lesser widespread ice, during both winter and summer months. 

This explains why the extent of the Last Ice Area (maximum in March, 2019) has been the lowest in the last 40 years. 

Irish Times

Arctic’s ice cover, which spanned around 6 million square miles (15 million square kilometers) in March 2019, shrunk to 1.6 million square miles (4 million square kilometers) by September, 2019. 

Further, the climate model predicts most of ice outside of the Last Ice Area will melt in the next 10 years. 

Inside Climate News

The study’s lead author, Kent Moore, a physics professor with the University of Toronto Mississauga, further explained the problem, saying: 

By the year 2060, the Arctic will be what people define as being ice-free, which is an area of perennial ice less than 1 million square kilometers [386,102 square miles]. And much of that ice will be in the Last Ice Area. 

Explaining the accelerated rate of thinning, he continued: 

We still don’t know exactly why, but it’s probably because the ice is now more mobile, and so it’s able to leave this area more easily than it was in the past. Eventually we’ll lose ice in this region as well, if we don’t get our use of carbon under control in the next few years. We’re going to pass a point where we won’t be able to sustain these ecosystems, if the ice loss persists through the latter half of this century.
Cosmos Magazine

You can read the complete study, here