The National Snow and Ice Data Centre announced today that the extent of the winter sea ice in the Arctic this year is the second lowest ever recorded.
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet resulting in rapid, irreversible change for the species who live there. In the next few weeks, the polar bears of Svalbard, Norway will emerge from their dens with their cubs. As part of the Barents Sea region, these bears are experiencing the fastest loss of sea ice recorded throughout the Arctic.
Polar bears are intelligent and adaptable, but Svalbard may be warming faster than they can adjust. This April, scientists at the Norwegian Polar Institute will head out on the ice to check on the bears’ health and the impacts a warming climate are having on their survival.
Learn more about the impacts of climate change on the polar bears of Svalbard.
Quote from Melanie Lancaster, WWF Arctic Programme’s Senior Specialist, Arctic species:
“Polar bears are found only in the Arctic and have spent tens of thousands of years adapting to their icy home. Loss of sea ice is the biggest threat to their survival,” says Melanie Lancaster. “Lower winter sea ice due to climate change is a reminder to us all of the urgent need for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
About WWF’s Arctic Programme:
WWF’s Arctic Programme coordinates WWF's work in the Arctic through offices in seven Arctic countries with experts in circumpolar issues like governance, climate change, shipping, oil and gas and polar bears.
For more information:
Leanne Clare, Sr. Manager Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org +1 613-232-2535
As the longest serving circumpolar environmental NGO with observer status at the Arctic Council, WWF strongly encourages Arctic states to take ambitious new steps to address the global climate crisis. After shying away from using the term “climate change” in the past years, the Arctic Council’s Ministerial Declaration must now reflect a clear determination to lead on reducing climate change.
The future health of some polar bears and bowhead whales in the Barents Sea is being decided by Norway’s politicians before the end of the month. The Norwegian parliament will either follow the advice of scientists and protect a globally important area at the edge of Arctic sea ice or allow even more oil and gas development in the region.