To counter the misleading ploy used by the Sunday Times — of implying polar bears are in peril because of recent changes in Arctic sea ice (Sunday Times & The Australian, 21/22 Sept. 2014 Arctic ice cap in a ‘death spiral’) — I’ll go over again why the polar bear as a species is not threatened by declines in summer sea ice or even winter ice that is predominantly “thin” (first year) ice.
Graphic above from the Sunday Times, September 21, 2014
Posted in Conservation Status, Sea ice habitat, Summary
Tagged Arctic ice cap, arctic sea ice, Chukchi Sea, death spiral, denning females, evidence, first year ice, ice thickness, ice-free Arctic, Mark Serreze, North Pole, Peter Wadhams, polar bear, sea ice extent, thin sea ice
With Barents Sea ice way above average this summer, Polar Bear Specialist Group biologist Ian Stirling now claims the old polar bear that he said died of climate change last year on Svalbard was “in his prime” and still blames the bear’s death on lack of sea ice — despite all evidence to the contrary.
UPDATE Sept. 19, 2014 typo fixed in Fig. 1 caption [sea ice low for 2012 was 3.41 m2km, not 4.1, see here.]
Figure 1. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) says the September minimum for 2014 is “imminent” and suggests the low may come in at 5.1 million square kilometers (far short of the
4.1 3.41 m2km low reached in 2012. About the much larger than average amount of ice around Svalbard and Franz Josef Land, they said only: “As was the case for the beginning of the month, extent remains below average in all sectors of the Arctic except for a region in the Barents Sea, east of Svalbard.”
Posted in Advocacy, Life History, Sea ice habitat
Tagged AMO, annual summer minimum, Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, Barents Sea, Franz Josef Land, Hopen Island, minimum ice extent, Mult, NSIDC, polar bear that died of climate change, Polar Bears International, sea ice extent, starving polar bear, Stirling, Svalbard
What with polar bear populations higher than they were 50 years ago and with many bears onshore during the ice-free season, a few polar bear attacks are to be expected – but how does the behaviour that drives those attacks compare with their closest evolutionary cousin, the grizzly?
I’ve done some summer reading on this topic, which I’ve summarized below. The results may surprise you.
In what looks like a follow-up to last week’s CBC documentary, The Politics of Polar Bears, the London (UK) based DailyMail published interviews with polar bear biologists Mitch Taylor and Andrew Derocher (September 9, 2014).
The CBC film did have a “one scientist vs. another” flavor about it and this article definitely echoes that approach. My comments below on Derocher’s insinuations and questions about starving bears and global warming.
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status, Sea ice habitat
Tagged caribou, conservation, DailyMail, Derocher, fasting, goose eggs, Gormezano, ice-free season, Mitch Taylor, polar bears, Rockwell, sea ice, sea ice decline, starving, survival, terrestrial foods, weight loss, western hudson bay
“Blizzards, we had fog — we had to sleep in the helicopter, on the sea ice one night, because we couldn’t fly anywhere,” Markus Dyck, senior polar bear biologist with the GN, told Nunatsiaq News Sept. 5.”
Fog was the theme of polar bear research this summer in Queen Maud Gulf, otherwise known as the M’Clintock Channel polar bear subpopulation region.
The ice has been heavy in that region as well, according to a the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and reported yesterday in another story (“Heavy pack ice in NW Passage ice creates tough conditions this year: Pack ice clogs Queen Maud Gulf“).
For maps showing where M’Clintock Channel and Queen Maud Gulf actually are, see the maps — and more quotes — below.
Posted in Population, Sea ice habitat
Tagged biopsy dart, heavy sea ice, helicopter survey, M'Clintock Channel, Markus Dyck, Northwest Passage, NSIDC, polar bear, population estimate, population survey, Queen Maud Gulf, tagging
Here is the August 2014 follow-up to my post on the July 2013 track map for female polar bears being followed by satellite in the Beaufort Sea by the US Geological Survey (USGS) – “Ten out of ten polar bears being tracked this summer in the Beaufort Sea are on the ice.”
See that post for methods and other background on this topic, and some track maps from 2012 (also available at the USGS website here).
The USGS track map for August 2014 is copied below (Fig. 1).
Compare this to July’s map (Fig. 4). The 20 bears from May (down to 13 in June) are now down to 11. All seven of the bears outfitted with glue-on satellite transmitters in April [either males or subadult animals] have either moved out of the area or their tags have fallen off or stopped transmitting. This means that all of the bears shown on the maps below are females.
At the end of August, nearing the minimum extent of ice for this year, seven bears were on the ice and only four were on land.
Posted in Sea ice habitat
Tagged Alaska, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, polar bear habitat, polar bear movements, polar bears, satellite collars, sea ice, sea ice reference page, Southern Beaufort, tracking polar bears, USGS
Well, sort of — what they did was provide a logical fallacy reply to an almost incoherent comment by a PBI Facebook supporter who had watched the documentary and complained of bias (such a predictable response).
See what you think, screen-cap below (taken September 3, 2014 at about 2PM Pacific Time.
[UPDATE added September 4, 2014 at 8:30PM Pacific, see below]
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Derocher, documentary, endangered, Environment Canada, Facebook, IPCC, IUCN, logical fallacy, man behind the curtain, Polar Bear Specialist Group, polar bears, Polar Bears International, politics of polar bears, sport hunting, threatened, trophy bears