Polar bears could vanish by the end of the century, warned a scientific report on Arctic climate change last month. Higher temperatures are reducing sea ice, which the animals need to stalk seals. Shrinking sea ice is one of many signs of northern warming in recent decades, as you can see at Arctic Change, a new site from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Aimed at decision-makers and the general public, the site provides historical perspective on more than 20 climate change indicators, from wildlife behavior to river outflow, that mostly reflect rising Arctic temperatures. The number of months that northern residents can travel on ice roads has fallen from more than six in the early 1970s to fewer than four today, for example. Not all species have suffered from these changes, however: Populations of walleye pollock, a fish that prefers open water, have spiked in the Bering Sea as the ice wanes. The site's brief backgrounders offer plenty of links to reports and more detailed data.