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Article On Thin Ice by Susan McGrath

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On Thin Ice written by Susan McGrath explains the negative affects of global warming on polar bears. Green house gases being emitted into the atmosphere is causing the earth to become hotter. The ice that the polar bears live on continues to shrink because of rising temperatures. In 1979, there was approximately thirty percent more ice in the summer compared to now. Polar bears spend almost their entire life on the sea ice (McGrath). The only time that they go to land is to build maternal birthing dens. After the birth has occurred, the cub and mother need to make the swim back to the ice. Since the ice is melting, the polar bears swimming distance continues to grow. Polar bears are strong swimmers but these long swims can be fatal. A tracker on a mother polar bear showed that she and her cub had to swim 427 miles to reach the ice. The cub died during the swim (McGrath). The ice melting is also causing the polar bears to become skinnier. Polar bears losing weight is caused because of the long swims they have to make to reach the ice. Losing weight has a negative affect on their health. The health decline then causes polar bears to reproduce less and fewer of the cubs survive. Polar bears are no longer growing to be as big (McGrath). Since they are not as big, they cannot catch as much food. When males are hungry and malnourished they can turn into cannibals. They kill the cubs and sometimes females for food (McGrath). The question that arises is will polar bears be able to survive if temperatures continue to rise? Scientists believe that they would be able to survive in the short run but after a few years of not being able to live on the ice they would die. Polar bears dying will completely change the ecosystems that they live in ...

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...I would have thought that the average temperature would have raised much more in order to have all of theses negative affects. Rising temperatures in an area of ice and snow is especially bad. This is because ice and snow reflect most of the suns rays while water absorbs most of the rays. So when ice turns into water, the water will continue to warm and melt more ice. Overall, I really enjoyed the article and found it interesting. It is scary to think about the affects that we are having on the environment. Humans are going to have to start to make a conscious effort to change the amount of greenhouse gasses admitted into the environment. There are many different ways one can make an effort to help the environment. Making a conscious effort and changing one bad habit makes a difference. Humans need to be the stewards of the earth and not the ones destroying it.
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