Polar bears facing ‘worst-case trajectory’ because of climate change

The Toronto Star reports: Even the High Arctic won’t remain a haven for polar bears if the Earth continues to warm at the current pace, says an alarming new study.

Published in PLOS One, an online science journal on Wednesday, the study warns that all regions of Canada’s Arctic islands could potentially be ice-free for two to five months every year by the end of the century, triggering starvation and reproductive failure for polar bears.

Conditions outside the islands could be worse for the bears.

“It doesn’t look too good,” said Andrew Derocher of the University of Alberta in Edmonton and one of the authors of the study.

Using a regionally focussed climate model, the researchers projected that sea ice in the Canadian Arctic islands will decline remarkably, leaving long periods each year when there isn’t any ice. That would force pregnant females on to land earlier than usual and could interfere with successful births, the study said. The rest of the sea ice may not persist long enough to allow bears enough time to hunt and store energy. [Continue reading…]

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