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Exploring the Polar Bear’s Habitat

Sea bears, or Polar bears, would be the world’s largest land predators, measuring up to 3 m tall and weighing up to 600 kg. They are still be approximately 25 years old, attaining sexual maturity. Though they look white or yellowish in color, their fur is hollow and clear, and their skin is black. The reflection and scattering of light causes their coloring. Inhabiting sea and the ice of the Arctic, polar bears would be well designed for survival in an acute environment. While webbing between their toes allows for successful strokes hairs and bumps on the bottoms of the legs offer grip.

When hunting for seals they use their sense of odor. They could detect the odour of an aglu, or a seal’s breathing hole, up to one mile away. A bear attack the seal’s mind when it comes to air and will wait by the hole, once located. In hunting conditions, the bear will eat the seal fat, leaving animals the carcass. Polar bears will eat nearly anything, when food is scarce. When in proximity to human settlements, they’ve even been known to eat trash like Styrofoam. Polar bears do not hibernate like bears, but a state is entered into by females while pregnant. After mating in the spring, a female polar bear spends the summer ingesting considerable amounts of food and building a maternity den in a snow drift to prepare for the arrival of her cubs.

Some of the most revealing documentary footage of Polar Bears has come from the BBC in it’s current show – Blue Planet 2.    David Attenborough has presented many shows over the years concerning these beautiful creatures and you can get some of them online.  You just need to hide your IP address to access from outside the country however be careful as the BBC has been blocking VPN programmes recently.

At the fall, she enters into a dormant state, remaining this way even when it gives birth. The litter, usually two cubs, will probably spend 2 years with their mother learning essential searching and survival skills. Polar bears would be currently listed as vulnerable from IUCN’s Red List. Global warming greatly impacts the destiny of the polar bear. A reduction of large masses of ice results in limited access to seals. Not only does this adversely affects the health of adult polar bears, it also hampers the successful reproduction and nutrition of new bear cubs. Rising temperatures also result in unstable maternity dens, as snowdrifts melt and collapse.

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Understanding Climate Change

Contemporary climate change threatens us all and yet the gradual warming is often dismissed  by deniers as simply the normal fluctuation that occurs over a century. However there is an issue, once something as large as a planet begins to warm up, it’s impossible to stop it and difficult to slow down the process. This is referred to as a greenhouse process, which means it was caused by humans. Though this is disputed by a minority of people, the most of the world’s climate scientists think that global warming is Very due to greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change does not necessarily mean things will get hotter. The climate change individuals discuss today seems to differ. Contemporary climate change will create the climate hotter in some places whereas climate Changes makes Earth as a whole either cooler or hotter, drier in some places, cooler in others, wetter everywhere.

A climate modification fact sheet has been compiled by Rahmstorf. The BBC has produced a convenient, one page outline called Climate Change Explained in Six Pictures, that contains charts showing climate trends.  You can get access from other countries by changing your IP address online. How can scientists make claims that a period was changing over since records of the weather date back just a hundred years or so? In turns out that Earth retains a record of its climate in ways that are unexpected. In latest years fewer and fewer scientists have disagreed from exactly the widely held position that global warming and climate modification are actually happening. One reason some individuals are skeptical about global warming is they doubt computer models are sufficiently good to model the climate decades to the future.

There is more on how scientists create computer models of exactly the climate in a great BBC news article Models key to climate forecasts by Dr Vicky Pope who works in the UK’s Hadley Centre. The BBC is a great resource for up to date climate change information and a host of documentaries. All of them are available on BBC iPlayer for up to 30 days and you can even access them outside the UK if you use a VPN like this one.

The precise effect of climate change is complicated: it’s also leading to greater snow, that is building up glaciers in some areas at the same time as they’re being eroded elsewhere. As global warming gathers pace, many portions of Earth will see their climate modification considerably. In case the climate change occurred gradually, things would have enough time to adapt: plants which like the cool could progressively change northwards and grow at higher latitudes.   The temperature changes overall may be fairly predictable but the effect on our weather is more difficult to assess.  Nature will adapt however it could cause huge problems all over the world to human habitations.  Rising sea levels and temperatures will likely make much of our planet uninhabitable, which will obviously cause massive social, economic and political problems.  The current refugee issue is definitely going to look somewhat trivial if this happens.

 

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EU Scientists Withdraw From Research Project

There’s a fascinating new story doing  the rounds at the moment about the huge scientific research centre – Heimholtz Research, which has withdrawn from a project due to political pressure.  In many ways this sounds quite controversial in itself, a research body being pressurized into not researching something!  However many might believe this is understandable due to the topic concerned.

The research in question was focussed on developing technologies to help reduce the environmental damage caused by exploiting the vast oil sand reserves in Canada. If you’ve not heard of these it refers to the loose sand or shale that are saturated with a dense and very thick form of petrol (also known as tar or bitumen).  These are found in huge quantities in Canada and contain a substantial amount of oil.

These deposits have been known about for many years, however the extraction was always too expensive to be viable commercially.  Now rising oil costs and the introduction of new technologies have made the extraction commercially viable but not ethical in many peoples opinion.

Protesters claim that tar sands cause numerous environmental problems including vast amounts of deforestation to clear the areas and access to the deposits.  They also point out that the mining of tar sands releases over three times as much CO2 as normal oil production.  Many estimates point towards mining of these tar sand deposits becoming the biggest single contributor in North America to climate change.

Scary stuff, it is this sort of press that has led Helmholtz to withdraw from the research project.  The argument is of course does the withdrawing of technical expertise help in any way, should researchers be drawn into political and environmental battles.  Their role after all was to help minimize the environmental impact of a the project.  It may be the problems for Helmholtz may be due to  the upcoming EU designations of companies involved in producing high pollution oil reserves.

At the very best scenario it was seen as a huge risk to the companies reputation.  On numerous TV documentaries the involvement was highlighted – check out the online versions of ARD and ZDF.  If you’re outside the country you’ll need a French proxy to access these shows (and of course speaking French would help), try here for help.

It’s a very stark example of how research companies need to be careful about what projects they get involved with especially highly commercial and controversial ones.

Further Reading: http://www.uktv-online.com/bbc-iplayer-on-the-ipad-abroad/

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Risks of Oil Exploration in Arctic

There are many organisations and corporations who over a long period of time have been looking at ways that they could exploit the resources which are contained within the arctic Ocean. There is little doubt that those resources exist, however what is more important is the potential risks to attempting to exploit those resources.

The primary risk related specifically to Arctic Oil and gas exploration of course is that of an oil spill. There is only one way to describe this situation it would be utterly catastrophic. Here some quotes of people who take an interest in the Arctic and it’s environment:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“The cataclysmic impact of an oil spill in the High Arctic Ocean is unimaginable. That’s why we made the decision that there needed to be moratorium on Arctic oil and gas exploration.”

David Miller, CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada

“It’s quite clear from our work at WWF that risk to nature of drilling is far too great to be worth taking,

Excepting some opinionated American individuals (unfortunately in power) there is pretty much a consensus of the risks of climate change.   We are running out of time to drastically reduce our carbon footprint as a species, so to even consider mining for more of these fossil fuels in one of the environmentally sensitive places on Earth seems like utter madness.

However this is what the Norwegian government are doing, opening up a new oil frontier in the Arctic ocean together with several oil companies.  They have granted licenses for 12 oil companies to start exploration in the Barents Sea, Statoil is to drill to the far North in Korpfjell.

The Arctic is already melting due to our planet burning fossil fuels and to even consider allowing new oil wells to be set up there is a triumph of greed over common sense.   The Norwegian Government has a duty to provide a healthy and safe environment which is documented in it’s own constitution.    This in addition to the Paris Agreement should have been enough to prevent these rigs being allowed anywhere near the Arctic ocean.

Additional Resources.

To access the BBC and it’s documentary section from outside the UK is difficult, but the following resources will help – Can I Get BBC iPlayer in Spain, John Williams, 2016.

Free Trial accessible from Australia and most European Countries :  bbc iplayer abroad free trial