2016-12-18. Polar Bears’ Path to Decline Runs Through Alaskan Village.

posted Dec 20, 2016, 10:40 AM by Alan Gould

By Erica Goode, The New York Times. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: ...Scientists have counted up to 80 [polar bears] at a time in or near Kaktovik; many look healthy and plump, especially in the early fall, when their presence overlaps with the Inupiat village’s whaling season. But the bears that come here are climate refugees, on land because the sea ice they rely on for hunting seals is receding. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and the ice cover is retreating at a pace that even the climate scientists who predicted the decline find startling. Much of 2016 was warmer than normal, and the freeze-up came late. In November, the extent of Arctic sea ice was lower than ever recorded for that month.  ...The continuing loss of sea ice does not bode well for polar bears, whose existence depends on an ice cover that is rapidly thinning and melting as the climate warms. As Steve Amstrup, chief scientist for Polar Bears International, a conservation organization, put it, “As the sea ice goes, so goes the polar bear.”...  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/18/science/polar-bears-global-warming.html