Farewell to ponds

High Arctic ponds are drying up during the polar summer for the first time in what may be thousands of years, according to Canadian researchers who have studied the shallow bodies of water for the past 24 years. The study is said to be the longest record of fresh-water monitoring from the region.

The scientists, who published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, recorded lower water levels and chemistries consistent with an increase in warmer temperatures over the course of the decades.

However, in 2006, several of the main study ponds dried up completely. The researchers say the ecological ramifications likely are severe. The ponds are biodiversity hotspots that provide habitat for waterfowl, drinking water for animals, and serve as home to invertebrate species crucial to the food chain.