The Effects of Global Climate Change on Polar Bears

Essay by hgriersonUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2010

download word file, 10 pages 0.0

The polar bear is the largest terrestrial carnivore known to man, and is known by the scientific name Ursus maritimus or "the sea bear". It is a species that is completely dependent on sea ice for life (Morrison, 2004). Over time, polar bears have adapted themselves to the harsh ways of the Arctic and these bears have become dependant on sea ice for their hunting and foraging for food. However, the recent changes in global climate and hikes in temperatures worldwide have begun to rapidly decrease sea ice in the Arctic, creating a major threat to polar bears (Glick, 2007). According to Dessler & Parsons (2006) temperatures globally are anticipated to rise anywhere from 2.0 to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit during the 21st century and these increases are predicted to be particularly large in the Arctic (Dessler et al, 2006). These temperature increases will have massive consequences on ecosystems that are related to ice and particularly, to polar bears.

Many people feel governments worldwide have not done enough to help circumvent one of the world’s most beloved animals from disappearing along with the Arctic ice. The survival rates, feeding, and reproduction rates of polar bears decline along with sea ice and combined with loss of habitat, are very likely to lead to eventual extinction of the mighty polar bear. Global climate change presents some serious problems and dangerous changes for all living organisms, but it is of especially great concern to the polar bear.

In order to understand the effects climate change has on the polar bear, it is important to understand climate change itself. Climate does not refer to only temperature, but also to humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, and wind (Dessler et al, 2006). Since 1950, scientific evidence has continued to grow supporting the notion of global warming (Revkin, 2009). Evidence...