Polar bear headed for extinction, says University of Alberta scientist

Unless the pace of global warming is abated, polar bears could disappear within 100 years, says a University of Alberta expert in Arctic ecosystems. While it has been known for some time that the polar bear is in trouble, new research shows that Arctic ice–the polar bear’s primary habitat–is melting much faster than scientists had believed, says U of A biologist Dr. Andrew Derocher. “The climate predictions coming out are showing massive changes in sea-ice distribution,” said Derocher, who follows polar bears to see how they adapt to changing conditions. If the predictions are correct, he says, “we’ll certainly lose polar bears in a lot of areas where we currently have them.” Ice conditions in the Beaufort Sea, for example, are already changing dramatically.

New NASA theory may help improve weather predictions

Less precipitation and more lightning eventually may be forecast as a result of a NASA study that shows that cloud droplets freeze from the outside inward instead of the opposite. The new theory of how super-cooled water droplets in clouds freeze, which appears in this week’s on-line edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reverses a 60-year-old assumption.