Global Warming T-Shirt
Temperatures in the Arctic Circle hit an all-time record on 20 June 2020, reaching a scorching 38C (100F) in Verkhoyansk, a Siberian town.
This kind of weather was expected in the region only in the year 2100. In March, April and May the average temperature in the Arctic was 10°C higher than normal. This heat wave, without human-induced warming, could happen only one time in 80,000 years, according to an attribution study published in July 2020. It is the strongest link between a weather event to anthropogenic climate change that had been ever found, for now. Such heat waves are generally a result of an unusual state of the air currents. Some scientists suggest that climate change will slow the jet stream by reducing the difference in temperature between the Arctic and more southern territories because the arctic is warming faster. This can facilitate the occurrence of such heat waves. Scientists do not know if the 2020 heat wave is the result of such change.
What happens in the Arctic Ocean
In recent decades, though, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been melting faster than it re-freezes in winter. Reports state that greenhouse gas forcing is predominantly responsible for the decline in Arctic sea ice extent.
As climate change melts sea ice, studies project that two-thirds of polar bears will disappear by 2050.
In Alaska, the effects of sea ice shrinkage have contributed to higher mortality rates in polar bear cubs, and have led to changes in the denning locations of pregnant females.
Polar Bears at risk of extinction
The key danger posed by climate change is malnutrition or starvation due to habitat loss. Polar bears hunt seals from a platform of sea ice. Rising temperatures cause the sea ice to melt earlier in the year, driving the bears to shore before they have built sufficient fat reserves to survive the period of scarce food in the late summer and early fall. Reduction in sea-ice cover also forces bears to swim longer distances, which further depletes their energy stores and occasionally leads to drowning. Besides Insufficient nourishment leads to lower reproductive rates in adult females and lower survival rates in cubs and juvenile bears, in addition to poorer body condition in bears of all ages.
Because of this, the polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species.
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