Friday, 26 February, 2021


Report Projects When Polar Bear Populations Will Begin to Collapse

Polar bears could disappear by end of century due to melting ice climate change Polar bears could disappear by end of century due to melting ice climate change
Kristine Garrett | 23 July, 2020, 03:25

The group of researchers said that all but a few sub-species of polar bears will be able to reproduce and survive given projected conditions by 2100.

Polar bears live on ice sheets and need this sea ice to catch their seal prey.

As the ice breaks up, the animals are forced to roam for long distances or on to shore, where they struggle to find food and feed their cubs.

Study author Dr Peter Molnar, of Toronto University, said there are only 26,000 polar bears left. "Polar bears are already sitting at the top of the world; if the ice goes, they have no place to go".

In an interview with news agency NCN, Russian TV presenter and prominent zoologist Nikolai Drozdov predicted that polar bears will be extinct in the Arctic within a generation. When sea ice erodes for the summer, polar bears fast. The new study, published in Nature Climate Change, puts a timeline on when that might happen.

Modelling was used to determine polar bears' energy requirements while fasting and the thresholds that would limit their survival, alongside a model predicting the future number of days without ice.

Steven Amstrup, who led the study, spoke with AFP and explained that "bears face an even longer fasting period before the ice grows back". Newborn puppies, on the other hand, are more exposed to the reasons we have explained above, while females without offspring have a greater ability to withstand long periods without food.

"He also said that showing the threats for polar bear populations is ".another reminder that we must act now to head off the worst of future problems faced by us all".

If we can cap the global warming at just half-a-degree above Paris Agreement targets, it would just delay the polar bears' collapse, according to the report. "And if we do, we will benefit the rest of life on Earth, including ourselves".

"Avoiding continued sea-ice decline requires aggressively mitigating greenhouse gas rise", the researchers wrote, "and our results explicitly describe the costs to polar bears of avoiding that mitigation".

If similar emissions continue until the end of the century, polar bears will only survive on Queen Elizabeth Islands, which is in the Arctic Islands of Canada.

The model's outcomes are consistent with previous projections that polar bears are likely to persist to 2100 only in a few High Arctic populations, based upon current warming trends.

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