Climate change at the poles

Photo credit: Ansgar Walk

Well, I have been seriously neglecting my project to blog through the entire Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, so it’s time to revisit the “C” section, which brings us to climate change. The concept of climate change has become so political that it’s easy to ignore sometimes. But based on all the numbers I’ve seen something is definitely happening, whether you want to refer to it as climate change or weird weather or vanishing ice, it’s time to start paying attention because things on earth are changing.

And changes are taking place much faster at the poles than anywhere else. According to author Sue Moore, marine mammals that rely on ice as part of their existence will have to adapt the fastest. Check out this line: “In the Arctic, polar basin multiyear sea ice has disappeared at a rate of 9% per decade over the past 30 years.” Unless polar bears, walruses, bearded seals and ringed seals are able to make serious changes to their survival strategies they could be in big trouble. The polar bear is already facing great challenges, having to swim further and further for food since the ice doesn’t extend as far as it used to.

Moore also explains a link between the amount of sea ice and krill. The more sea ice there is, the more krill and the reverse seems to be true too. The less sea ice there is, the less krill. This could be more bad news to ocean animals that rely on krill for a large part of their diet.

Any issues related to ice will play out first during the climate change saga. Stay tuned for the next post to find out what could happen closer to the equator.

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