, Volume 33, Issue 12, pp 1595-1598
Date: 06 Jan 2011

Impacts of climate warming on polar marine and freshwater ecosystems

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Polar regions have been identified as being most sensitive to climate warming in the planet. The Arctic is experiencing the highest warming on Earth with air temperature increasing at a rate of two to three times that of the global average temperature (International Panel on Climate Change 2007). Atmospheric warming has increased Arctic Ocean temperature and accelerated ice melting, with sea ice decreasing in thickness and extent at a rate of 10% per decade (Comiso et al. 2008). Warming and the associated ice loss appears to have been accelerating in the past few years in the Arctic and in some regions of Antarctica as well (Steig et al. 2009). The Arctic Ocean experienced a massive loss of ice in the summer of 2007, representing the lowest ice cover in the last 40 years, and an unusually warm Arctic Ocean surface layer were recorded (Steele et al. 2008; Zhang et al. 2008). Provided the critical role of ice cover in determining the functioning and traits of polar marine and freshwater