Global Warming Images
Svalbard is one of the most northerly land masses on the planet, its northern coastline being around 550 miles off the North Pole. Being so far North, you might think it was still a frozen Arctic environment. It is at the high latitudes that some of the greatest warming is being observed. Svalbard's problems include permafrost melting, glaciers retreating, sea ice diminishing in both extent and time and an increase in summer rainfall. The archipelago's iconic Polar Bears are suffering. Seals form the vast majority of a Polar Bears diet. They can only hunt seals on sea ice. As the sea ice retreats, the Polar Bears have both a smaller area and less time in which to hunt. Recent studies have shown that the bears are getting thinner and thinner. Whilst there I found a male Bear which had starved to death. It had traveled hundreds of miles north, from its last know location, in a desperate search for suitable sea ice to hunt on. Having found none, it ran out of gas, collapsed and died. The future for Polar Bears in a warming world is looking increasingly bleak.