"The Arctic climate of the Bering Sea is in full retreat"

| Fri Mar. 10, 2006 4:21 PM EST

Not to belabor this, but if your appetite for alarming environmental news wasn't sated by our special issues on global warming and, more recently, the roiling sewers that are our oceans, well, then, the LA Times has just the story for you.

Whales, walruses, seabirds and fish are struggling to survive the changing climate of the Bering Sea, their northern feeding grounds perhaps permanently disrupted by warmer temperatures and melting ice, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Science.

By pulling together a broad range of observations and surveys, an international research team concluded that it is witnessing the transformation of an entire ecosystem in a region home to almost half of U.S. commercial fish production.

Then it gets shocking.

...As sea ice diminished, breeding grounds for seals were disrupted and populations plummeted. Polar bears started to drown. Walruses, accustomed to diving in the shallows to feed along the sea bottom, found themselves adrift on broken ice floes in waters 6,500 feet deep. The animals starved.

For more on the effects of climate change on polar bears in particular--if you can take it--see this piece by Marla Cone in the current issue of Mother Jones.