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Published October 2003 - Updated October 2008
LGVN Animals - Global Warming

Arctic Ice Cap Melting Faster than Predicted

polar bearThe ice covering the Arctic ocean has reduced by 40% in the past 40 years, recent research by British scientists has revealed.

Research undertaken during 2008 has revealed that the ice could be completely melted by 2013.
Polar bears are now under increasing threat as global warming continues. The bears live on the floating ice platform of the Arctic ocean, with its cracks and holes. There they hunt for seals and fish which is their main diet, and without the ice the bears can't find food. In some regions polar bears become more frequently stranded on dry land as the ice retreats further north, cutting off their frozen retreats.
In these areas, stranded bears can be actually be seen looking for food in local towns. Authorities have to catch the bears and airlift them back to the what is left of their ice habitats. The temperatures in western Hudson Bay, where Canada meets the Arctic seas, have been steadily rising 0.3 to 0.4 degrees every decade since 1950 and the ice is now believed to be retreating at a rate of 9 percent every decade.
Each autumn, polar bears in this part of Canada migrate north to the ice floes. The floes are forming later each year as global warming delays the freezing process. Polar bears become starved as they are trapped on dry land unable to reach the floes where they feed. The floes are also melting much earlier each spring, which also threatens the bears as they become stranded on the thinning ice.
This continual rise in temperature and depletion of the Arctic ice means that the Polar bear will be extinct in a few score years.

The study of the melting Arctic is based on ice thickness measurements from two European Space Agency (Esa) satellites. The US National Snow and Ice Data Centre say that the spead of the ice melt id due to bnow being so thin because the thinner the ice the faster it melts.
The implications for global warming are dramatic, because as the ice melts more sunlight is absorbed instead of being reflected back into space. This greatly accelerates the effects of global warming.

Play your part in helping to reduce global warming now.

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