Posted on 19 December 2012
Ice whales: where are they going?
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This edition of The Circle is dedicated to the Arctic’s ice whales: the bowhead, the largest whale in polar waters and the longest-lived mammal species on Earth; the narwhal, whose long tusk has mystified humans for years; and the beautiful white beluga, a sentinel of the Arctic Ocean’s health.
In September 2012, it became clear that the arctic sea ice extent was a record low this year. In this issue, we are looking at the dramatic changes that are currently taking place, and the impact that these developments may have on arctic cetaceans.
As extractive industries are increasing activities in the Arctic, the observed summer-time melting of arctic sea ice has already far exceeded the worst-case projections from climate models of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The time to implement effective climate change adaptation measures is now. We need to strengthen the linkages between policy makers, scientists, local communities, and industry, to be able to mitigate the quickly increasing threats faced by arctic cetaceans and the people that depend on them.