The Arctic had its warmest year on record in 2007, and a new government report underscores the unsettling consequences for ice sheets and wildlife, ABC News reports. The report reiterates many of the familiar scenarios of late about the region—sea ice is vanishing at a record pace and permafrost is thawing, and these in turn set off a sort of climate domino effect that spells bad news for polar bears, walruses, and other creatures.
"These are clearly dynamic and dramatic times in the Arctic," says one author of the report, which cites "justifiable concern" for wildlife. It notes, however, that some species might actually benefit from the changes. The report also specifies that the Bering Sea, unlike the rest of the Arctic, is in a prolonged cold phase. "This is a very complicated system, and we are still working diligently to figure out its mysteries," says the researcher.