Melting Ice

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Many polar bears are abandoning their homes on the ice in Antarctica because the ice is literally melting right beneath their feet.



When I go to the zoo, one of my absolute favorite exhibits is the penguin and polar bear exhibits. I love watching penguins spread their 'wings' and glide through the water, hoping to find dinner, then hopping back up onto the ice, and waddle its way back to its family. There's also polar bears, doing flips and all kinds of tricks underneath the water, or just being lazy and lying on the ice while the sun beats down on them. Although this might be entertainment for the visitors of the zoo, its becoming less of a reality outside of the one inch of glass that separates' the penguins and polar bears from the wild.


According to the Washington Post, (2006) Antarctica is losing as much as 36 cubic miles of ice each year! Scientists believe this is due to global warming, but are not positive. (According to scientists, one fourth of African lakes and streams could be drying up due to higher temperatures by the end of this century. This shows this pr oblem is worldwide.)


Antarctica holds 90% of the world's ice, ice is melting faster than anyone predicted, and no one really has an explanation. This is a huge problem coming towards us. It's not just a problem for us, it's a problem for the survival of penguins and polar bears. Between 1992 and 2006, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was losing about 132 billion tons of ice. That is a ridiculous number to think about! The rise of sea level, due to the melting of the ice, (according to www.abelard.com) could affect oceans containing salt, currents, and global climate due to the Antarctic's freshwater going into the ocean. According to scientific research, the Antarctic is adding so much freshwater every year, (from melting ice) it could fill Loch Ness 18 times over. (www.scotsman.com)



Obviously, without the ice and glaciers these animals lived on, penguins and polar bears are abandoning their homes, and desperately trying to find somewhere else to live, just to stay alive. . Many of the polar bears try to swim to reach the nearest land possible, but many get different away by the high amount of sea level, and get carried away by the waves or currents traveling the opposite direction. Some polar bears have to travel up to hundreds of miles just to find shore, and most don't make it. The US Department of Interior even listed polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This is not because careless people are killing them for fur, or other predators are simply using them as food, it's because the ice is melting, and we cannot do much of anything to control it.
There may be a natural event that happened as to why this is happening, or global warming, but no one is sure. Time is running out, and the ice that holds the penguins and polar bears survival, is rapidly melting.





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Andrea S. said...
Mar. 17, 2009 at 9:29 pm
I love it Jamie!
 
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