Adapt, Migrate, or go Extinct

The extinction of polar bears and other animals alike is going to occur if these animals do not adapt to their new surroundings or if they do not migrate to a new area. Since the beginning of the 21st century the Earth has been experiencing a massive climate change, global warming. “Global warming is the increase of Earth’s average surface temperature due to the effect of greenhouse gases, such as CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.” The most common greenhouse though is water vapor, however this gas in not responsible for the increase in temperature. Unlike many of the green house gases, water vapor can easily condenses and adapt to changes in the environment, CO2 on the other hand cannot. Meaning, a slight change in the concentration of any greenhouse gas can cause the temperature to increase dramatically. How does this happen in such a short span of time?

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This has happened due to the increase in CO2 caused by humans. CO2 is not like water vapor, it cannot easily adapt to changes. CO2 tends to stay in the atmosphere longer, causing more harm than good. With the increased production of CO2 by humans, (30%), and the combustion of fossil fuels, conditions on Earth will reach CO2 concentrations that have been unseen in over 50 million years.

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The increase in CO2 is caused by things people do every day. Driving to and from work, deforestation, etc. CO2 tends to stay longer in the troposphere. This is the atmospheric layer closes to Earth. This is also the atmospheric layer that holds the most gas and is the densest layer. In this layer, weather and climate occur. With the increase in CO2 production, the weather and climate alike have both increased in temperature.

How does this affect organism such as polar bears? This effects polar bears greatly. Polar bears are dependent on ice in order to survive. Since the onset of global warming the amount of ice present in the Artic has decreased. This sets off a chain reaction of devastation for the polar bears. Due to the increase in temperatures and melting of ice, the primal prey for polar bears has decreased and the amount of space they use for resting has decreased. Polar bears main source of food is the ringed seal. Ringed seals poke their heads through ice which is how polar bears are able to catch them. Since there is limited ice and there is a limit in seals causing the polar bears to exert more energy than necessary to try and catch food. This means that polar bears are exerting much more energy to catch food and are having way less energy to try and reproduce. If the sea ice continues to melt at such rapid paces, the sea ice will eventually all melt and the polar bears will become extinct. According to a report from the Geological Service in 2007 stated, “Today’s population of about 22,000 polar bears would decrease by two-thirds by the year 2050.”

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Sea Turtles along with polar bears are struggling to survive due to the increase in temperatures. The increase in temperatures causes the Earth’s sea level to rise. This is occurring because the ocean is warming. In class we learned that an increase in temperature causes things to rise, this is what is occurring in the ocean. The increase in temperature of the ocean is causing itself to rise. This change in sea level is greatly affecting the reproduction of sea turtles. The rise in sea level will affect the nesting habits of certain turtles. The increase in temperature will change the sand temperature and whether or not the eggs will be able to incubate there is the question. And, rising temperatures could affect the sex ratio of the turtles during the incubation period. In a Florida area, 90% of the turtles being produced are females. The global warming crises has already caused 6 species of sea turtles to be put on the endangered species list: green turtles, hawksbills, loggerheads, Kemp’s ridleys, Olive ridleys, and leatherbacks.

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The effects of global warming are affecting every organism not just humans. With the increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans, it seems instead of decreasing temperatures, we will continue to see increasing temperatures. The troposphere will continue to hold the CO2 for longer periods of time and animals such as polar bears and sea turtles will continue their fight to survive as the Earth continues to warm.

http://www.neaq.org/conservation_and_research/climate_change/effects_on_ocean_animals.php

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/

http://www.nmsea.org/Curriculum/Primer/Global_Warming/fossil_fuels_and_global_warming.htm

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2 thoughts on “Adapt, Migrate, or go Extinct

  1. Miranda,
    You make really good points in your blog post! I was aware of climate change and its’ effect on the polar bears previously, but I didn’t know that it affected animals like the sea turtle as well, with the rising ocean. Before reading your post, I assumed that global warming equaled rising temperatures, but didn’t always make the connection that it could lead to other altercations. I have one question for you: Do you believe there’s any way for this process to slow down, or naturally reverse itself? Because it seems that there’s not a lot of hope for our polar bears, among other animals, if things stay the way they are. It’s frightening to think deeper about this topic you have talked about, but it’s important if we ever want to try to make a change.

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  2. Miranda,
    I’ve seen global warming posts before, but this one has brought some light to some pretty important details. I was aware of ocean levels and temperature rising, but HOW it affects certain organisms should be made known. I assumed it was drowning or body temperature issues, but I never thought about REPRODUCTION issues and that is very important when it comes to the endangerment of certain species.
    Hypothetically, if we were to stop all CO2 emissions by humankind (an unrealistic goal, but hypothetically), how long would it take for the negative effects we’ve created to revert back to the way they were? I’d assume it’s a long time, and the idea just shows how badly the accumulation has taken it’s toll. But to end on a positive note, I believe that the CO2 emission levels will level out with global climate change awareness and initiative today. We may see an improvement in species endangerment.

    Like

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