Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are the poster child for the impacts of climate change on species, and justifiably so.To date, global warming has been most pronounced in the Arctic, and this trend is projected to continue. There are suggestions that before mid-century we could have a nearly ice-free Arctic in the summer.
“Loss of Arctic sea ice owing to climate change is the primary threat to polar bears throughout their range… Our findings support the potential for large declines in polar bear numbers.” Trends in sea-ice from 1979 – 2014 for 18 of the 19 polar bear subpopulations.
Polar bears never have faced periods as warm as we could see in the next 50 years. There have been warmer periods in the past, but they were not only cooler than what we will experience if we don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they were part of natural cycles of warming and cooling.
It’s a global issue. Polar bears roam the entire circumpolar regions of the arctic. Climate change isn’t a function of any one community, or state, or region or nation. We all contribute to it. Climate change (and its associated ramifications) is a function of an industrialized world of rampant unmitigated energy production and consumption.
Polar Bears International helps polar bear cubs, just like these Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service/Flickr More about polar bears COP21: 10 animals seriously affected by climate change
“Climate-induced changes in the Arctic are affecting polar bears,” said Laidre, who was the main author of the study. “They are an icon of climate change, but they’re also an early indicator of climate change because they are so dependent on sea ice.”
Climate change affects polar bears in many negative ways, including decreased access to food, lower survival rates for cubs, damages to polar bear dens and a decrease in overall polar bear population. Many scientists point to climate change as the largest threat to polar bears.
4 Ways Polar Bears Are Dealing With Climate Change. ... But combating climate change doesn't happen overnight, and the lack of food and habitat means polar bears are getting creative to stay alive.
The main problem about climate change effects on polar bears is habitat loss and changes to sea ice habitat. Habitats that may affect polar bears are : loss of multiyear ice, increase in amount of water, decrease of population, sea ice moving and swimming conditions more dangerous, fewer hunting chances and not enough foods.
Hundreds of plant and animal species have already experienced changes because of climate change. The American pika, for example, is a small mammal that lives in cool mountainous areas in western North America—in fact, it can die when exposed to temperatures warmer than 78˚F.So as the mountain climate heats up, the pika climbs the slopes in search of cooler habitat.