Climate

Will polar bears go extinct by 2030? — Part II

We’ve seen the USGS predict that 2/3 of the polar bear population will be wiped out by 2050. But that analysis assumes the Arctic will still have summer ice then. The USGS acknowledges their projection is “conservative” since it is based upon an average of existing climate models and “the observed trajectory of Arctic sea ice decline appears to be underestimated by currently available models.”

In fact, the Arctic now is poised to lose all its ice by 2030 — and possibly by 2020 as I discuss below. What will happen to the polar bears?

The survival of polar bears as a species is difficult to envisage under conditions of zero summer sea-ice cover,” concludes the 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, by leading scientists from the eight Arctic nations, including the United States. Another 2004 study, by Canadian scientists, agreed:

[G]iven the rapid pace of ecological change in the Arctic, the long generation time, and the highly specialised nature of polar bears, it is unlikely that polar bears will survive as a species if the sea ice disappears completely.

polar-bear-tongue.jpeg

Why does the loss of sea ice threaten polar bears? The Canadian study, “Polar Bears in a Warming Climate” in Integrative and Comparative Biology, explains:

Spatial and temporal sea ice changes will lead to shifts in trophic interactions involving polar bears through reduced availability and abundance of their main prey: seals…. A cascade of impacts beginning with reduced sea ice will be manifested in reduced adipose stores leading to lowered reproductive rates because females will have less fat to invest in cubs during the winter fast. Non-pregnant bears may have to fast on land or offshore on the remaining multiyear ice through progressively longer periods of open water while they await freeze-up and a return to hunting seals. As sea ice thins, and becomes more fractured and labile, it is likely to move more in response to winds and currents so that polar bears will need to walk or swim more and thus use greater amounts of energy to maintain contact with the remaining preferred habitats

Research by Claire Parkinson of NASA and Canadian scientists Ian Stirling “suggests that progressively earlier breakup of the Arctic sea ice, stimulated by climate warming, shortens the spring hunting season for female polar bears in Western Hudson Bay and is likely responsible for the continuing fall in the average weight of these bears.” The reality is quite grim:

“In 1980 the average weight of adult females in western Hudson Bay was 650 pounds. Their average weight in 2004 was just 507 pounds — a 143-pound reduction,” said Stirling. A 1992 study in the Canadian Journal of Zoology indicated that no females weighing less than 416 pounds gave birth the following spring.

When the ice goes, the polar bears will go. How soon could the ice go? New research suggests that the summer Arctic could be ice-free far sooner than anyone ever imagined.

Simply looking at the shrinking area of the Arctic ice misses an even more alarming decline in its thickness and hence its volume. At a May 2006 seminar sponsored by the American Meteorological Society, Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski of the Oceanography Department at the Naval Postgraduate School reported that models suggest the Arctic lost one third of its ice volume from 1997 to 2002. He made an alarming forecast:

If this trend persists for another 10 years–and it has through 2005–we could be ice free in the summer.”

With stunning ice loss in 2007, this trend has not just continued, it has accelerated. The polar bear may be gone by 2020.

[If you liked this post, sign up for the RSS feed here.]

Related Posts:

Tags

73 Responses to Will polar bears go extinct by 2030? — Part II

  1. may says:

    i hate this…….
    i look for no humans to live …
    wish their was something we could do…
    thank you…

  2. Jackie says:

    This really makes me sad. I love polar bears and I think they are beautiful and intrigueing animals.

  3. Alex says:

    Love polar bears
    Can we save them?!

  4. teressa says:

    POLAR BEARS ARE SO COOL!

  5. Anonymous says:

    crazy cool pic

  6. willie says:

    If you want to help stop using everything but what you really need. Dont need electric,gas,cars,nasa going to spcae,etc…

  7. sam. says:

    i honestly read this in disbelief.

    the polar bears are losing their habitat because of something in our power.

    its actually quite depressing.

    they are gorgeous animals and should be protected, and helped….

  8. kelsey. says:

    this is depressing

  9. Rob from The Pocono's says:

    I live in the pocono mountains a place that is known for it’s habitats. I love polar bears and i believe that we need to take a stand against this and save them

  10. Victor Trevino says:

    I agree that the polar bears are losing their habitat because of us and we need to help them out.

  11. hyles7@aol.com says:

    I am 6 years old and I love Polar Bears. We need to take good care of them. They are very pretty.
    Courtney

  12. shay says:

    polar bears are amazing. we are their only voice. we need to speak out.

  13. hason says:

    go polar bears

  14. lissy says:

    Das bild sieht echt cool aus!

  15. guimont says:

    Each of us on the planet s responsible…

  16. someone says:

    it all humans fault if we don’t exist then none of the animals would be endangered.

  17. glpo says:

    this is so sad

  18. bob says:

    no its not shit happens

  19. How many of the above commenters will actually do anything?

    Will you stop using electricity? Stop driving a car? Stop buying manufactured products?

  20. Jim Welmont says:

    The polar bear population during the 1950s and 60s was between 5-10 thousand. Today it is between 20-25 thousand. The earth has been cooling over the past ten years. We have enough real problems to deal with rather than believe this myth put out by pseudo-scientists looking for attention.

  21. tiffany says:

    they are cute

  22. Ashley says:

    polar bears are gorgeous animals and need to be helped. we can do our part by helping them
    i love polar bearss

  23. Suzette says:

    The sad thing is that people don’t seem to realize that human fate will be following the polar bears. While we are in denial about destroying this planet we are destroying our own future. We can co-exist on earth for many centuries still, if we make intelligent choices. Lets all pull together and switch off those lights and take a walk rather than a drive.

  24. Jen says:

    Yeah, I worry about that to.I mean, EPA marked them down as an endangered species and they are not doing anything to help them raise in population.Plus, many people’s actions are making global warming worse which is affecting the polar bears too.We all need to do something about this crisis.Like being more Earth-friendly and to show the world that people care about the polar bears in the North Poles’ safety.This issue is the reason why I created a blog.

  25. chante' says:

    this is sad this made me cry

  26. chante' says:

    save the polar bears take them to the zoo what do I care just save them.

  27. Danielle says:

    oh my gosh that is a lovely really cute bear with his tounge out!!!!!

  28. yea save the bears set them free they need to be in there home not locked up in a cage they need to be free i dont think you people will like to be locked up in a cage for a long time so set them free and leave them alone!!!!!!!

  29. god says:

    ever heard about jail, people are locked up in there for very long times… but the point is, that some zoo’s really help the bears, they give them a nice environment and all the food they need, and they are helped and treated in the best way’s possible. but i would say that it is already to late to help the bears, it is too late to help ourselves, concidering the fact that the poles are already melting , bringing freshwater into the streams that lead to scandinavia and such, which will cool down the entire northern hemisphere and such, which will bring us into a new ice age, and it is already to late to stop that from happening since it has already started.

  30. god says:

    but i do agree… polar bears are awesome, but the thing we can do to try to save them is to move them into artificial homes, where they can breed and repopulate

  31. AMYA says:

    POLAR BEARS AWESOME
    THEY NEED WATER AND FOOD TO EAT

  32. megan achterberg says:

    i love bears!

  33. megan achterberg says:

    i love bears

  34. ashely says:

    can someone please answer my questions
    1. what are the ways that humans are trying to help polar bears?
    2. are humans doing a good job? could they do better? how?
    thanks

    [JR: The only way to help the polar bears now is to quickly and sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the worst effects of global warming. To the extent that polar bears will not survive past the destruction of their habitat — the Arctic ice — it is probably too late to save the vast majority of them.]

  35. ashely says:

    what are humans doing to polar bears for causing them? and what are Humans Doing to help them?

  36. ashely says:

    please answer my question
    what are humans doing to cause polar bears
    they are endanger because of us humans. why?
    thx

  37. Sasparilla says:

    At this point, it would seem a national and internationally coordinated plan is needed to make sure we can successfully keep the Polar Bear alive as a species (enough genetic diversity) in zoo’s etc. until (couple of hundred years from now?) their habitat (20th century Arctic Ice conditions) can be reproduced and they could be reintroduced. It seems too late for the summer Arctic Ice pack no matter what we do at this point.

    The danger would be in ringing our hands and saying oh gosh look at how terrible that is, while they are wiped out before our eyes in the next decade….time is of the essence for them if we really want to allow them to exist in the future. JMHO..

  38. earnterrio collier aka terrio watts says:

    i think it goes hard.

  39. el spardo says:

    polar bears are lovley

  40. bailey says:

    polar bears ROCK!

  41. polar bears are so cute and it is so sad that they are losing their homes.i think we owe them big time.i mean some of them are living on big chunks floating off in the middle of the Arctic!i saw a pic on the internet where they had killed the polar bears and had hung up their fur it was so sad.to see the pic go to http://www.ask.com and put in ”where will polar bears live when their homes melt ”and push search, then scroll down and you will see a line of pics click on it when you get to the website scroll down to the bottom of the pagethen go to the 10th page and on the top row click on the last pic and there it is.but i’m going to warn you it is really sad,you might want to get somthing to wipe your tears with.

  42. sarah says:

    i love bearz so much i wish i could hav 1!!!

  43. Anson Ang says:

    Dear Readers

    Take a good look at the polar bear. Dont they make you want to cry?

    Think about the joy they bring to our children
    Think about the funniest thing they do to keep us entertain
    Think about the great time they have with their family before we show up
    Think about the ice that are melting fast
    Think about the fact that they may no longer exist in 20 years
    Think about just how selfish we are
    Think about it and THINK HARD

    LETS STOP TALKING AND START ACTING!!!

    Anson Ang
    Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia

  44. James says:

    It would help if people stop killing them…. there are 4 pic in here that shows dead polar bears and other endangered animals

  45. Sarah says:

    I LUV POLAR BEARS!! and we humans sould do something, anything to help STOP global warming and to help polar bears be free! so please we sould…….well…..maybe use less electricity thats still helping stop global warming so we sould ALL try atleast doing that much to help polar bears can WE ALL do this or are we just gonna sit back and watch the poor polar bears to die and not be free can we all help?

  46. Canakid says:

    I have heard this a long time ago that Polar Bears walk right thru downtown Winnipeg to go eat at their dump. If anyone wants to help Polar Bears you can donate to the WWF that is the World Wildlife Fund ie
    http://www.wwf.org

  47. help says:

    we need to help the polar bears i mean the are beautiful animals everyone can find a way to help i sure i may just be a kid but i am a kid who loves polar bears and who wants to see them forever more i want for my children and their children to be able to see polar bears i hope the people who dont see the wonder and beauty of polar bears will soon they are in my opinion a beautiful species i will try to help as much as i can i will try to make all people aware as i can how in danger this species really is some people they may not like polar bears as much as others but i hope this message opens and lightens up your heart a little more about polars bears!!!!!!!! P.S. PLEASE HELP

  48. help again says:

    PLEASE HELP THE POLAR BEARS ITS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. help says:

    we need to help the polar bears i mean the are beautiful animals everyone can find a way to help i sure i may just be a kid but i am a kid who loves polar bears and who wants to see them forever more i want for my children and their children to be able to see polar bears i hope the people who dont see the wonder and beauty of polar bears will soon they are in my opinion a beautiful species i will try to help as much as i can i will try to make all people aware as i can how in danger this species really is some people they may not like polar bears as much as others but i hope this message opens and lightens up your heart a little more about polars bears!!!!!!!! P.S. PLEASE HELP

  50. sarah says:

    hi and my name is sarah and im protesting to stop killing polar bears please leave me your name on this web site if u want 2 stop them from hurting the polar bears please they need ur help !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Mahmoud says:

    yeaaaaah !!! plzzzzz people stop b4 it is toooo leat to do so
    soooooooo
    S.T.O.P.

  52. Sara Hagan says:

    this if for Jim Welmont,
    you typed a comment up and I would just Like to say that you need to stop thinking about your self. This is really happaning to these poor polar bears ans its all beacuse of us we are to selfish to thing of what we r doing wrong.

    People need to help. Actions speek louder then words……

  53. monica says:

    ahhhhhhhhh i hate this polar bear extintion it makes me sad i wish we could helpthem also people STOP POLLUTING and LITTERING geese what is with this world!!!! what now after the polar bears its us you never know so just be careful samrt and kind to the world ,thnks for reading my comment i hoppe it will change ur minds and also god put us on this world to have the freedom and make good decisions and if your not a person who makes good decisions thyen you rnot a good person at all and yoy don’t believe in god!!!!anythank you,
    sincerely monica

  54. maddie says:

    i hate the polar bears let them die

  55. maddie says:

    y i kill polar bears

  56. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s safe to say this… “debate” went from logical reasoning to unintelligent spam. Renaissance Guy’s right. Just how many of you are willing to stop playing computer games, for example? Eat less fast food, etc? Out of the entire list of posts, I bet very few would. Hell, I’m willing to admit I won’t. Ren’s right. You plan to help the Polar Bears, then actually do it, dont come to the website, post, then forget all about it. Life’s something that can’t be played around with. Either get involved by posting, or stay out, don’t post.

    And for the trolls out there, my previous post in part one is a belief.

  57. Brandon B. says:

    Mine is the above post

  58. ADMIN says:

    I EAT POLAR BEARS!

  59. Reincarnated Polar Bear says:

    Who cares if we die? Shit happens u kno? Like, it doesn’t hurt being riddleid with lead over and over, with blood gushing out of my and making me all red… in fact, its like a warm bath! We love it in the polar bear society! I honestly wholeheartedly think that hunting should be embraced by the world!

    LONG LIVE HUNTING!
    and yes… i am a reincarnated polar bear

  60. I agree! says:

    Wow, that polar bear guy… he’s kinda right!

    I dont believe it!
    LONG LIVE HUNTING!

  61. Cameron says:

    ahhhhhhhhh i hate this polar bear extintion it makes me sad i wish we could helpthem also people STOP POLLUTING and LITTERING geese what is with this world!!!! what now after the polar bears its us you never know so just be careful samrt and kind to the world ,thnks for reading my comment i hoppe it will change ur minds and also god put us on this world to have the freedom and make good decisions and if your not a person who makes good decisions thyen you rnot a good person at all and yoy don’t believe in god!!!!anythank you,
    sincerely cameron

  62. *ADMIN* Climate Progress says:

    Reincarnated Polar Bear is currently being tracked for inappropriate posts.

  63. crystal winterton says:

    For every week that it takes for the ice to form in winter in the arctic polar bears lose 22 ponds. The human race is killing the planet in 5 different ways, deforestation, over harvesting, pollution, introducing foreign species, and global warming. The meat industry is using so much of the worlds resources by over harvesting, deforestation and water consumption. This is contributing to global warming by 20%. We can not continue to live the way we do with out consequences.

  64. crystal winterton says:

    For every week that it takes for the ice to form in winter in the arctic polar bears lose 22 ponds. The human race is killing the planet in 5 different ways, deforestation, over harvesting, pollution, introducing foreign species, and global warming. The meat industry is using so much of the worlds resources by over harvesting, deforestation and water consumption. This is contributing to global warming by 20%. We can not continue to live the way we do with out consequences. If the climate rises by another 5 degrees then we will lose 50% of the worlds species..

  65. i love polar bears and i love you

  66. john says:

    im a kid i might not be allowed to say what i think but i don’t care. the race of many things is going extinct. i my self have sank and have told myself why….why. i dont know about others and i might be a human myself but im disgusted with us humans i hope that we all end with the polar bears and if we do im ready. and hope there still there in zoos when im older. i plan to make bigger reservations for animals and im going to transport the polar bears there.if we`er going to make a change it starts here!

  67. john age=13 says:

    i agree with the part of”we cant keep going without consquences.im stuck in a med teen shell of thoughts and cant get out of them every time i d somthing thoughts pop in my head i might be young but i hate us all except those willing to help and if we`er going to do somthing its starts with the zoos to stop the problum of the not feeding the cubs with they`re own hands its sad how we just sit and watch! i hope the human race is happ with them selfs! by a 13 year old boy