Polar Bears Need Love

…And a plan.

Martin Lopatka/Flickr

A team of leading polar bear ecologists called for nations to make plans now for dealing with ongoing—and soon to be critical—threats to the survival of polar bears. The biggest problem for this iconic Arctic species is the mindblowingly fast disappearance of sea ice. Their paper appears in Conservation Letters.

For instance, last month (January 2013) the average coverage of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean was 409,000 square miles (1.06 million square kilometers) below the 1979 to 2000 January average. That’s the sixth-lowest January extent in the satellite record, says the National Snow & Ice Data Center. Plus 2012 saw the lowest ever summer coverage of sea ice in the Arctic.

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The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. The partners are The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Slate, and Wired.