The Effect of Climate Change on Polar Bears By Grace Tseng

About Polar Bears

Polar bears looking at a camera.

Polar bears are a threatened and endangered species due to climate change and humans. Polar bears, also call Ursus Maritimus evolved from grizzly bears bears about 250,000-300,000 years ago.

How Climate change Effects a Polar Bear's Diet and Population

This polar bear is standing on melting sea ice which is crucial for hunting seals.

Diet and Traveling

Sea ice is crucial for polar bears to hunt seals to survive and to get enough energy and nutrition. But with the sea ice receding and melting caused by climate change, polar bears have a harder time hunting and have to refer to other foods like whale carcasses, berries, grasses, and live geese/eggs which are less nutritional than seals. Also with no sea ice, polar bears have to travel longer distances which burns more fat.

Why is this important?

If polar bears that can't find alternative foods, they starve and die. The US Geological survey estimates that by 2050 due to the loss of sea ice and prey, the polar bears population will decrease by a third. Polar bears in Alaska and Canada have already decreased by 40 percent. Polar bears could go extinct if sea ice keeps on receding due to climate change and if there is no more prey.

No Sea Ice = No Food = No polar bear

Eighty-eight snow geese eggs are equal to one seal so a polar bear doesn't get enough nutrition.

How Have Scientist Learned About This

This shows the sea ice that is melting in the North Pole.

Nasa has noticed that each winter the sea ice at the North Pole freezes solid and melts a little in the summer. But since 1979, Earth-observing satellites have seen that every year the ice from summer is getting smaller and smaller. Scientist observed that polar bears use sea ice as a platform to hunt seals and climate change has reduced the number of seals and the amount of sea ice.

What is Still Unknown and How Can we Help Polar Bears

What is still Unknown

Scientist still don't know when or if polar bears will be extinct from climate change caused by humans. But scientists could use data they have now, like graphs of the receding rate of sea ice and graphs of the population of polar bears over the years to determine when polar bears will become extinct.

This is a graph of the average monthly Arctic sea ice extent in million square kilometers from September 1979 to 2010.

How we Can Help

  1. Moving some polar bears to locations with sustainable supply of ice and prey
  2. Stop producing too much carbon and use renewable sources like wind and solar
  3. Put a ban on polar bear hunting

Citations

Articles

Feldkamp, Lisa, Matt Miller, Cara Byington, and Joe Smith. "Will Polar Bears Die Out Because of Climate Change?" Cool Green Science. N.p., 05 Dec. 2015. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

"Polar Bear Numbers Plummeting in Alaska, Canada-What About the Rest?" National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 04 Mar. 2017. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

"Watching Polar Bears Eat Goose Eggs in Warmer Arctic." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 04 Mar. 2017. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife. "Species Profile for Polar Bear (Ursus Maritimus)." Species Profile for Polar Bear (Ursus Maritimus). N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

"Polar Bears International." Polar Bears - Polar Bears International. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

"Polar Bears and Climate Change." WWF. World Wildlife Fund, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

Pictures

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"Wallpaper Better." Wallpaper Better - Free PC HD Wallpapers,mobile HD Wallpapers,tablet HD Wallpapers Download. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

"Polar Bears and Climate Change." WWF. World Wildlife Fund, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

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"Polar Bears International." Polar Bears - Polar Bears International. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

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"Polar Bear." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Feb. 2017. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.

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