Arctic Feeling the Heat From Climate Change

Global warming is messing with the Arctic more and faster than any other part of the world, to the detriment of the indigenous peoples and animals who call the region their home. Inuit living around the Arctic Circle have seen their ecosystems transformed. Shrinking ice cover means the hunting season is shorter for polar bears; animals who are either white or turn white in the winter as camouflage are more vulnerable as ice melts and rock is exposed; walruses are migrating farther north to follow the cold, while new types of flora and fauna are infiltrating the region as it warms. As ice melts, the less-reflective water absorbs more heat, accelerating the cycle. Add to these difficulties the fact that industrial pollutants migrate north and concentrate in the fat of seals and whales — the staples of Inuit diets — and it really looks like this is not a good century to live near the North Pole.