Scientists try to assess potential impact of shrinking sea ice
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Given the steady decline of sea ice in the Arctic and the status of polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, biologists are trying to understand how the top-level predators might respond to those changing conditions.
It’s important because some of the most recent studies link declining sea ice with dropping polar bear survival and reproduction rates in the Southern Beaufort Sea and around Hudson Bay.
“With the sea ice retreating earlier and coming back later, there’s less time for them to hunt in the spring, when put on their fat,” said Alaska-based U.S. Geological Survey researcher Anthony Pagano. “They end up in poor body condition,” Pagano said, adding that some of the studies suggest a downward trend in average body weight. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, Beaufort Sea, endangered species, global warming, polar bears, polar bears swimming, US Geological Survey | Leave a Comment »