Published: March 1, 2015

polar bear

From mid-July to mid-November, hundreds of polar bears gather in Churchill, Manitoba, the “polar bear capital of the world,” to await the freezing of Hudson Bay. They use the ice as a platform for hunting seals, their main food.

But a warming Arctic has led to diminished ice and ever-shorter hunting seasons.

Jennifer Kay, assistant professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at CU, studies Earth’s polar regions. By mid-century, she says, unless climate change slows, the bears might not find any Arctic ice when they most need it.

Last November Kay traveled to Churchill with Polar Bears International, a nonprofit group trying to preserve the bears’ icy habitat. Via webcam she lectured to 160 CU undergrads from a tundra buggy as a lone bear burrowed in the snow nearby.

Photo by © Kt Miller/