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  (Source: Wordpress)
Years of low sea ice conditions has put their lives in jeopardy

Biologists have studied and observed polar bears in Canada's western Hudson Bay for years. Important data has come from this research, such as how long the polar bears spend on the shores of Hudson Bay annually and how much of a decline of ice there is in the bay. Now, researchers have answered the question regarding how long the polar bears have before global warming ends their existence

Biologist Andrew E. Derocher of the University of Alberta, along with Dr. Peter K. Molnar and other colleagues, have found that the polar bear population in western Hudson Bay could die out in approximately 25 to 30 years. 

Derocher and his colleagues came to this conclusion after discovering some other startling data. The polar bears in this area have been losing more than 20 pounds per decade, their body mass has been declining, females have lost 10 percent of their body length, they've been forced to spend an extra week per decade onshore, and the overall population has decreased from 1,200 to 900 in three decades. Most of the population drop occurred over this past decade. In addition, mating habits have changed under recent climatic conditions which could hinder the survival of the polar bears.

"We developed a model for the mating ecology of polar bears," said Molnar. "The model estimates how many females in a population will be able to find a mate during the mating season, and thus get impregnated."

Molnar further explained that male polar bears find mates by tracks in the ice, and when a female is leaving tracks in mating condition, the male will follow. As the climate warms, ice is lost and more time onshore leads to a decrease in body mass and health, which results in less reproduction.

The tip of the iceberg was when projected sea ice declines were observed due to global warming, which led Derocher, Molnar and their colleagues come to the conclusion that polar bears in the western Hudson Bay would be doomed in 25 to 30 years. Polar bears' health depend very much on the time spent on on sea ice hunting seals, and with a decline in sea ice, they cannot hunt and their health is put in jeopardy. Derocher said all it would take is "several straight years of low sea ice conditions -- such as the current year -- which could force the bears onshore for more than five months a year, leading to a sharp decline in in the bears' physical condition and the female's inability to gestate cubs."

Derocher and his colleagues wrote a research paper on their Hudson Bay polar bear population findings, which was published in Biological Conservation. Derocher laid out the best and worst case scenarios for the population based on the data collected from Hudson Bay. 

"The worst-case scenarios are that this population could be gone within the decade," said Derocher. "A more optimistic scenario would say that we'll bounce between good years and bad years for several decades to come. Everything that we can see about the sea ice in western Hudson Bay suggests that it's going to disappear sooner rather than later." 

Some biologists have suggested that the polar bears in this area could be saved by adapting to life on land and eating goose eggs, but Derocher argues that this isn't a stable food source. While polar bears do eat goose eggs, this would only help them out for a day or two of lost time on the sea ice. Also, once polar bears ate all of the goose colony's eggs in the Churchill area, the goose population would die out, and the polar bears would face problems in food shortages on land as well.

This research has led biologists to worry about other polar bear populations around the world such as those in the Davis Strait area between Canada and Greenland and those in the Chukchi Sea between Alaska and Russia. According to Derocher, polar bears in these areas are vulnerable to climate change as well. 

"The first paper I coauthored about this came out in 1993 and at that time I was still under the impression that even though climate change was a concern, it was really going to be for the next generation of biologists -- or perhaps even the one after that -- to deal with the issue," said Derocher. 

"I've been really shocked at the rate of change, and I've probably been even more shocked at the lack of concern of political bodies to deal with this. It's been quite disheartening to watch this lack of interest, and I think it's really unfortunate that people don't understand that we have a limited time to deal with this issue if we want to save the polar bears."

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RE: And...?
By Jeremgiels on 7/15/2010 6:29:46 PM , Rating: 0
It's fact not theory. Even if you do not believe it is changing the weather...our carbon is changing the chemistry of the oceans. The water ph level is 30% more acidic now than pre-industrial times.
This means hard shell creatures will have a difficult time and many species require a certain ph to breed.
Ok, we'll wait until you arecertain it is not a theory and then kiss off.
Good night

RE: And...?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/15/2010 7:17:08 PM , Rating: 1
It's fact not theory.

No. It's really not.

RE: And...?
By Jeremgiels on 7/17/10, Rating: -1
RE: And...?
By tastyratz on 7/15/2010 9:55:15 PM , Rating: 3
its theory. There's evidence of both sides and its completely impossible to prove that we have anything but elitist accusations. With all the variables we have to fluff ourselves up and some arbitrary statistic to use scare tactics and shift economy spending.
Carbon is hardly the pollutant to worry about.

Can you PROVE that modern industry has changed the entire oceans PH single handedly? Do you have records of historical trends before industrialization showing no variance in oceanic PH levels? NO

RE: And...?
By mattclary on 7/16/2010 9:33:06 AM , Rating: 2

Source, please.

RE: And...?
By tmouse on 7/16/2010 10:21:50 AM , Rating: 3
Yea I'm not sure where he pulled that number from. I wonder if he even realizes the pH scale is logarithmic?

RE: And...?
By Jeremgiels on 7/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: And...?
By mattclary on 7/16/2010 2:05:20 PM , Rating: 3
When I say "Source", I want a link. Based on my 5 seconds of googling, I am not seeing anywhere near 30% rise. They are predicting a measly ~6% by 2100...

(see how that's done?)

RE: And...?
By mattclary on 7/16/2010 2:09:52 PM , Rating: 3
This article indicates approximately 1.2% in the last century.

RE: And...?
By callmeroy on 7/21/2010 2:17:35 PM , Rating: 1
LOL...source doesn't mean say what you want but then throw in the name a well known group/person or organization. It means provide the actual damn know the actual place YOU read it from.

Anyone can associate anything with anyone or any organization doesn't prove a damn thing.

RE: And...?
By Hieyeck on 7/16/2010 12:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
80% of the 30% is made up on the spot.

RE: And...?
By Flunk on 7/16/2010 10:20:17 AM , Rating: 2
The OP is speaking scientifically. A scientific theory is a hypothesis that is supported by factual evidence that we have been unable to disprove. The term "fact" doesn't really apply in this case. A fact is a peice of hard evidence.

I believe using the term theory in the coloquial sense, which is more akin to a scientific hypothesis (although it also allows for wild ideas that wouldn't even count as a hyphothesis). You don't have to get angry about this.

RE: And...?
By Jeremgiels on 7/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: And...?
By mattclary on 7/16/2010 2:06:54 PM , Rating: 2
LOL. You making an argument to authority does not constitute "hard evidence" in a debate.

RE: And...?
By mkrech on 7/16/2010 5:12:30 PM , Rating: 2
I just gave you HARD evidence. need more?

Wow, talk about bringing a stick to a mental gun fight.

ya... I know.. trolling...
I am sorry. I just couldn't help it.

RE: And...?
By ppardee on 7/16/2010 5:17:16 PM , Rating: 2
See, the way science works is Observe, Hypothesize, Test...
Global warming pseudoscience goes Observe, Hypothesize, draw conclusions.

I observe that my raw meat gets smelly and wormy if I leave it out for a few weeks. I hypothesize that there are worm fairies that have a flatulence problem that deposit worms into my meat. I look back at the history of people leaving meat out and find that they have observed the same phenomenon. My hypothesis is correct.

Same process for Global Warming, just with fewer fairies.
Well.... maybe just different types of fairies.

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