(KXAN) — Climate change is noted across the country and around the world through the various intense weather that has occurred. One recent example of this is the atmospheric river that has bombarded California with one storm after another creating floods, mudslides and heavy snow.
You don’t have to go far to find another example of the adverse effects of climate change. Up in the Arctic, temperatures have been rising at a rate that causes the ice to continue to melt. A report indicated the sea ice has lessened because the far northern climes have been warming four times faster than the rest of the world.
Sea ice is frozen seawater that floats on the ocean’s surface, forming in the winter of the Arctic and the Antarctic. It decreases some in the summer.
So, why does this matter? Because the polar bears depend on this sea ice. As the ice continues to melt, it takes away the polar bears’ main food source — seals. Researchers are finding that melting, eventually breaking up, is happening earlier in the spring. The freezing starts later and later in the autumn.
What has happened, according to a Canadian government survey, is a decline in the polar bear population particularly in the western part of Hudson Bay located on the southern tip of the Canadian Arctic.
The aforementioned government report from late August to early September 2021 (the report was issued in January 2023) showed there to be 194 polar bears actually spotted in an estimated population of more than 600. The decrease was estimated to be more than 800.
Sadly, yet another report published in 2020 suggested this continued drop in the polar bear population may lead to the near-extinction of Hudson Bay’s polar bears. The Center for Biological Diversity believes “two-thirds of the world’s polar bears could be extinct by 2050 if greenhouse gas-fueled global warming keeps melting their Arctic sea-ice habitat.” This supposition is further enhanced by knowing the ice pack in Hudson Bay has decreased by half since the 1980s.