Climate Change Effects
By: Samantha Hall
Climate change effects everyone. With this rapid climate change, as much as one fourth of Earth's species could be headed for extinction by 2050. Rising temperatures are changing weather and vegetation patterns all around the world, forcing animal species to migrate to new, cooler areas in order to survive. Polar bears are being effected as well. In fact, the arctic is experiencing the warmest air temperatures in four centuries.
The decrease in the ice has been linked to a build up of green house gases in the atmosphere, caused by human activities. Scientists predict a mostly ice-free arctic summer by 2040 unless we take action to reduce the green house gas emissions. If the ice continues to melt, the polar bears could be extinct in as little as one hundred years. Not only does the ice keep the temperatures cool, but polar bears also rely on the ice for a number of things. They rely on the ice to hunt, breed, and some even rely on it to den. Changes in their distribution, or "numbers" affect the entire arctic ecosystem.
Without the sea ice, polar bears are unable to reach their prey. If they have shorter hunting seasons it can correlate directly with a twenty two percent drop in the population. This is exactly what happened to the group of bears in the Western Hudson Bay area near Churchill in Manitoba, Canada since the early 1980's. There's also been a steep drop in cub survival rates. Polar bears are finding way too much open water. In 2004, four polar bears drowned off the coast of Alaska trying to swim to the pack ice. In fact, in the summer of 2012, sea ice losses broke all previous records.