Greenland whale (Balaena mysticetus) usually leaves areas with stable ice in the fall.
This species is one of the few that live exclusively in arctic and sub-polar waters. The temperature range in which you feel good is on a very narrow range: usually between minus 0.5 and plus 2 degrees Celsius, according to The Guardian’s online edition.
There are currently four of these whale swimmers swimming in the Arctic. One of the biggest excursions starts every year from the northern part of the Bering Sea, arriving at the Beaufort Sea in the spring across the High Sea, where you spend most of the summer before returning to the Bering Sea in the fall to spend the winter there.
Based on data from underwater records, scientists concluded that these whales did not make their usual journey in 2018-2019, according to the Royal Open Science Society.
The study’s lead author, Stephen Insley of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada, said it was not yet known if this was an ad hoc deviation or the start of a new era.
According to experts, there are several possible reasons behind this phenomenon. As the water temperatures increased, the spread of predators such as the hurricanes may have encouraged Greenland whales to remain in their winter habitat.
Another possible factor is that these animals could be covered in whale fat up to half a meter thick, which could put them at risk of overheating at high temperatures.
It is also conceivable that due to the high temperature there was an overflow of plankton in the area, so the whales did not embark on a migratory journey to save energy, as they fed here.
If perfectly stable ice forms during the winter, it will force the whales to scurry. Because even though they have a large, thick skull that can penetrate ice up to a meter thick, the ice must be open enough to penetrate the cracks to draw in air.