A recent study led by researchers at the University of Copenhagen has warned that climate change is forcing polar bears in Greenland to modify their behavior. Published in the journal Science Advances, the study found that the main alterations occur in the bears’ habitat and food sources. As temperatures have increased and floating ice sheets have shrunk since the end of the last ice age, the habitat of polar bears has also shrunk, forcing them to move further north.
The study also revealed that despite these adversities, polar bears are relatively well and adaptive. A new population of bears in southeastern Greenland has shown adaptability by using ice sheets that break off from freshwater glaciers to hunt seals and feed. However, projections indicate that the bears will be forced to move further and further north, leaving them with nowhere to go.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has indicated that 75% of the population of polar bears is in a delicate situation for preservation and is expected to move in an attempt to survive. Additionally, the alarming pace at which climate change is advancing has left the bears increasingly vulnerable.
Furthermore, alarming images of the melting glaciers in Greenland have worried the scientific community. Climate and geospatial scientist Laura Larocca found that the speed of glacial retreat during the 21st century is twice as fast as that of the 20th century. Another study revealed that the Arctic has warmed four times faster than the rest of the world and, for the first time in history, rain was even recorded at the summit of Greenland, about three kilometers above sea level.
The warning from this study raises awareness of the need for urgent measures to contain and reverse the climate crisis, as the survival of polar bears and other vulnerable species continues to be threatened by the effects of climate change. (With information from AFP)