If you've been living in, or have visited, the Northern Hemisphere this winter you must have noticed just how warm it was. There's been very little snowfall in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, a clear sign of the ongoing global warming.
There have been bear sightings as early as February and March this year, causing a problem for both the bears and the population, as there simply isn't enough food for them to go around.
Warmest winter and bears
With Europe recording its warmest winter to date, and the U.S. recording its hottest January and February, it's safe to say global warming is on the rise. As a result, bears are coming out of their hibernation early because they think it's already spring.
Why bears are coming out of hibernation early 🐾https://t.co/kACN3PR7dM— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 12, 2020
Sightings of grizzly bears in Russia, Finland, the U.S., and Canada were spotted as early as February and early March. Typically, male grizzlies hibernate until at least mid- to late-March, and females and cubs until April and even early May.
This change in pattern is a problem for a few reasons. If bears wake up early, there isn't enough food to go around, and if they don't have enough food they venture closer to human populations prowling in rubbish bins and gardens for fodder.
"If we see this as a continuing thing with climate change we will probably see more conflicts because there’s not much food for the bears. If bears come out early they will potentially seek food around people, such as in garbage, bird feeders and crops. The potential for conflict is certainly higher as they come out earlier," stated Chris Servheen, former grizzly bear recovery coordinator at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Bears are coming out of hibernation a month ahead of schedule after record-breaking winter https://t.co/icuXn1KrxQ— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) March 10, 2020
The bears are but one peg in a whole range of issues that will grow from global warming. Amongst other things, heat stress will affect over 1.2 billion people worldwide by 2100, said a Rutgers study.
The study is published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Because the overall temperature of the planet is increasing each year, people's ability to cool down naturally will lower, leading to more cases of heat stress. This won't only affect humans, as the environment, the economy, and agriculture will also suffer from heat stress issues.
Heat stress from extreme heat and humidity will annually affect areas now home to 1.2 billion people by 2100, assuming current greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Rutgers study. https://t.co/l5kw1V90Pu pic.twitter.com/7ZrqLxwpCi— Science Bulletin (@BulletinScience) March 13, 2020
Lead author of the study, Dawei Li, mentioned "Every bit of global warming makes hot, humid days more frequent and intense. In New York City, for example, the hottest, most humid day in a typical year already occurs about 11 times more frequently than it would have in the 19th century."
With heat stress, our bodies aren't able to cool themselves down naturally through sweating, and as body temperatures rise damages to the brain and other vital organs is a high possibility. Sometimes leading to fatalities.
If drastic measures are not taken immediately, it's not only the bears that will suffer from these consequences, but all of humankind.