Large Climate Changes Predicted Worldwide

NWF   |   March 28, 2008

Scientists are predicting large changes to climates worldwide due to global warming. Particularly hard hit will be tropical highlands and arctic regions, as outlined in a recent Science Daily article. These climates may disappear as soon as 2100.

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This is consistent with recent findings that summer sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster than expected. In 2007, the summer sea ice melt exceeded normal ice melt by a million square miles – an area equal to the size of Alaska and Texas combined.

With the record melting of Arctic summer sea ice in 2007, concerns exist that summer sea ice might be virtually gone by 2012. And this has serious implications for polar bears and other species. The key for polar bears is summer sea ice. The more the summer sea ice melts annually, the longer the bears must fast before they can get back out on the winter ice and hunt for seals. The United States Geological Survey conservatively projects that two-thirds of the global polar bear population could disappear by 2050, including all of Alaska’s polar bears.

It’s not just polar bears at risk from climate change. Global warming is the single biggest threat to wildlife today. Up to 20-30% of all plant and animal species worldwide are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in average global temperatures exceed 2.2-4 degrees Fahrenheit above current levels. If temperatures increase by more than 7.2 degrees F, 40-70% of species would have significant extinctions.

This could happen if we do not stabilize global temperatures by reducing global warming pollution now.

For the sake of polar bears and all the other creatures we share the planet with, as well as our own species, I hope we muster the political and individual will to successfully tackle the climate crisis.

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