Arctic Ecosystem Research Paper

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Imagine a world with no Arctic ice cap, no Arctic animals, and no Arctic ecosystem. Climate change, which is also known as global warming, is taking a toll on the Arctic ecosystem and endangering many different animal species and wildlife living in the Arctic. To understand why the Arctic animals as well as the Arctic ecosystem is threatened, an understanding of climate change is needed. By definition, climate change is the rise in average surface temperatures on Earth, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and secondarily the clearing of land, resulting in a rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels or also known as “the greenhouse effect” (Dunbar). Evidence has shown that there is a distinct correlation…show more content…
However, the animals to be discussed may not be truly adaptable to the changes in their climate, creating unendurable living conditions. Within the Arctic, sea ice supports the entire Arctic wildlife ecosystem. A reduction in sea ice is very likely to occur due to the increases in climate and will have devastating consequences for Artic animals such as: polar bears, ice-dependent seals, and some seabirds. The eventual elimination of sea ice may more than likely push some of these aforementioned species toward final extinction. The widespread visible melting of glaciers and sea ice and undisputable rise in permafrost temperatures presents additional evidence of strong Arctic warming and causes for alarm. By permafrost melting, exposure of once ice trapped land will continue to rise, resulting in the release of more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and ocean (Greenpeace). This cause and effect will result in more unexpected and erratic increases in the Arctic’s climate continuing to drastically decrease sea ice. Sea ice is a thin, fragile, solid layer of frozen ocean water that forms in the Arctic and are made of fresh water from compacted snow…show more content…
They utilize sea ice to hunt ice-dependent seals and use large patches of sea ice to travel. Polar bears are known to build their winter dens in areas covered by thick snow or on sea ice in order to hibernate. During this time period, polar bears do not hunt or eat for approximately five to seven months, surviving off of their stored body fat (Cole). In the spring, after giving birth, female polar bears leave their dens with their cubs to search for food. Polar bears mainly feed on seals, therefore their seal hunting success rate is critical to their family’s survival. Successful seal hunting conditions are attributed to good [spring] sea ice. Polar bears wait by holes that the seals have created in the ice where they come up for breath. Due to the reductions in sea ice, there are far less surface areas for the polar bear to hunt than experienced by previous generations. Polar bears may establish their habitat on shore, however, they cannot hunt seals from the shore and do not have any other food source suitable for them elsewhere. An abundance of sea ice and maintained stability are of the utmost importance and are observed to be declining which are likely to lead to devastating consequences for the polar

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