Melting Arctic sea ice could cause starvation and reproductive failure for many as early as 2040.
Scientists have predicted for the first time when, where and how polar bears are likely to disappear, warning that if greenhouse gas emissions stay on their current trajectory all but a few polar bear populations in the Arctic will probably be gone by 2100.
By as early as 2040, it is very likely that many polar bears will begin to experience reproductive failure, leading to local extinctions, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change.
The study examines how the bears will be affected under two different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. The researchers found that under a business-as-usual emissions scenario, polar bears will likely probably only remain in the Queen Elizabeth Islands – the northernmost cluster in Canada’s Arctic archipelago – at the end of the century. And even if greenhouse gases are moderately mitigated, it is still likely that the majority of polar bear populations in the Arctic will experience reproductive failure by 2080.
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