Effects of global warming on wildlife at the Polar Regions

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With rapid global warming and climate change, one-fourth of the earth’s species could be headed for extinction by 2050 (Nature Conservancy, 2010). Riebeek (2010) explains that global warming is the rapid increase in the earth’s average surface temperature over the past century and is primarily due to the increase in greenhouse gases within the earth’s atmosphere. This current cycle of global warming is changing the rhythms of the climate that all living things have come to rely upon. Currently, these changes are having the most visible and significant impacts to the Polar Regions. Marine and terrestrial fauna at the earth’s polar regions are negatively impacted by global climate change due to the increase in temperatures most of which are now listed as endangered species due to the destruction of their habitat and alteration of their food web.
The earth’s polar regions are the ice-covered areas located at the northern and southern ends of the globe known as the Arctic and Antarctica respectively. Life in these regions are incredibly difficult thus there are few and specific species living there. The north pole; the Arctic is affected most by the increasing temperatures as it has been proven to be heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world. This heat is therefore resulting in the melting of the ice. The Arctic region is home to the polar bears. They roam this frozen continent and feed on seals and walruses as they come up for air from holes they make in the ice. Polar bears are one of nature’s ultimate survivors as they are able to live and thrive in one of the world’s harshest environments. However, their homes are melting, added to that fact that the Arctic now experiences longer periods of summer in which more ice is bein...

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...e forms in the Antarctic would disappear. Unfortunately, as the ice melts, so does their food. This is causing a great cascading effect as Krill populations are reducing but are in high demand as penguins feed on them. It is also a crucial part of the diet of the blue whales. Without this important source in abundance, they are all forced to eat less as there is great competition for this limited resource. Thus, they are unable to produce the required nutrients for their young causing reproduction rates to decline.
Global warming and its resultant climate changes are slowly destroying the earth’s polar regions and everything that depends on it. These regions are home to various animals which are endemic to these places but, they are now struggling to survive and adapt to the changes occurring in their environments, while some may survive, others may become extinct.
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