Summer is a critical time for polar bears and climate change is lengthening Arctic summers, which could have a substantial effect on bear populations. However, much of what is known about polar bears comes from studying them out on Arctic sea ice during late winter and spring. During summer, most sea ice retreats far to the north, leaving some bears on shore for several months. Scientists suspect that these bears face difficult conditions on land; temperatures are warm and there’s little to eat. In contrast, some bears follow the retreating ice north, where temperatures are cooler and there may be opportunities to hunt seals.
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