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No math needed: A look at global warming by the numbers

April 22nd, 2009

2050

A study by the United States Department of the Interior predicts a loss of 2/3 of the world’s polar bear population as the melting ice cap makes their habitat unsurvivable.

The polar bear is currently listed as threatened on the Endangered Species Act. It was added to the list May 31, 2008, because of the large declines in sea ice.

The sea ice is crucial to the survival of the polar bears. They use the ice as a platform for hunting seals, mating, and traveling long distances. Already many polar bears are drowning as ice floes dwindle. Without the ice, they would be left homeless and starving.

But this is just the beginning of a cascade. The melting ice cap also creates problems for land-dwelling humans. When the ice melts, it has to go somewhere. The melting ice will cause sea levels to rise.

Researchers at the San Diego foundation predict that the sea level will rise 12-18 inches by the year 2050.

The group warns the rising sea level will shrink some beaches, while completely erasing others, imperiling coastal regions everywhere, from the Pacific Islands to the Southern tip of Florida to Long Island. They also issued a warning about the possibility of coastal property floods increasing. Polar bears might not be the only ones losing their homes in 2050.

A preview of the meltdown: Italy is preparing legislation to rewrite border lines with Switzerland because of melting glaciers. The Italian Military Geographic Institute says that climate change is the reason for the Alpine glaciers melting. The main area in question is Matterhorn. The border has not changed since 1861, but Italy feels that the warmer climate warrants a boarder change. Switzerland is cooperating with Italy and the bill is expected to pass into law in April.

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