why global warming could be disastrous to the ecosystem, based on the melting of polar ice caps.

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trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Members of ecosystems are adapted to a particular set of biotic and abiotic factors. Abiotic factors include--water, climate, sunlight, humidity, minerals, soil, gases, etc. If the polar ice caps should melt, the organisms adapted to living in tundra conditions will probably die off as the climate changes. They will lose habitat as the ice melts. An example is the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf in the Arctic. It splintered and this drained a freshwater lake it enclosed into the sea. Arctic mammals like walruses, seals and polar bears had to change their feeding habits and migratory patterns.  As the melt water is added to the oceans, coastal areas all over the earth may become flooded and those ecosystems will be in grave danger. The snow and ice forms a cooling layer for earth. As it melts, the climate of earth will become hotter. Pests that needed warm temperatures to breed, will get additional warmer days to increase and further breed. The effects of polar ice cap melting will be far-reaching and potentially devastating.

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