Sea ice development for this date is well above average on Hudson Bay – even more so than last week – making three years in a row of average-to-above average ice habitat available to polar bears in early December (see last week’s ice summary here). Coverage for the week of 11 December from 1971 to 2104 below (from Canadian Ice Service):
More maps below (from CIS and NSIDC), see others here.
Posted in Sea ice habitat
Tagged Canadian Ice Service, Churchill, Davis Strait, December, Hudson Bay, National Snow and Ice Data Center, polar bear habitat, polar bears, polar bears in winter, problem bears, sea ice, western hudson bay
Average polar bear habitat for November 2014 was well within two standard deviations1 and higher than 2003, according to the November report from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (line and labels added, below).
Notice that the lowest average November level occurred in 2006 — not 2007 (after the second lowest September extent since 1978) and not 2012 (after the lowest September extent since 1978). Take note that the scale on the graph above does not go to zero but to a whopping ~9.5 million square km!
Quotes from the NSIDC monthy report and sea ice maps for November 2014 and 2 December 2014 below.
UPDATE 3 December 2014: CIS has issued a new ice map corrected for ice level on Hudson Bay – new map below.
Posted in Sea ice habitat
Tagged arctic sea ice, Chukchi Sea, CIS, Davis Strait, Hudson Bay, NSIDC, polar bear, polar bear habit, sea ice extent, September ice minimum, standard deviation
On this day (20 November 2014), there is way more sea ice over Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin than 2013, with ice starting to form in Hudson Strait.
The polar bears of Hudson Bay are on the ice (except pregnant females, who will be in their dens); Churchill polar bear season is over (see previous discussions here and here).
Ice maps and graph courtesy Canadian Ice Service.
Latest sea ice maps and charts from the Canadian Ice Service show significant ice building quickly along the west coast of Hudson Bay, enough to allow polar bears out to hunt.
Kelsey Eliasson reported from Churchill earlier today that most of the polar bears have moved onto the ice.
Freeze-up of Hudson Bay sea ice is well underway now, virtually the same time as it was the last three years, and in 2008. Bears in the north will be able to move out, while near Churchill and in Southern Hudson Bay, some bears will be able to successfully hunt for seals on the newly-formed ice close to shore.
Over the next week or so, all the bears onshore will gradually move out onto the ice as freeze-up progresses. By the time there is ~10% ice coverage on the bay, most bears will have moved onto the ice (except pregnant females that have made dens onshore).
The Arctic outbreak underway in over North America may hasten this process along (see 7-day and 14-day weather forecasts for Churchill). Ice maps below courtesy Canadian Ice Service.
It seems pretty clear now that time of freeze-up on Hudson Bay is not correlated with the extent of sea ice at the September minimum. Have a look at the maps and graphs below. UPDATE: more recent maps added below (ice concentration 15 November; ice development 14 November).
Is that ice I see forming along the shore of Hudson Bay, just in time for Hallowe’en? Not enough to resume hunting but a sign that freeze-up can’t be too far off. See the ice map below and this photo posted at PolarBearAlley confirming the presence of slushy ice on the shore near Churchill.
[Map above from Canadian Ice Service updated daily, click to enlarge]
When you really want to challenge a speaker at a scientific meeting or public lecture, deciding what’s the best question to ask is often difficult. Here’s an example that might inspire you.
In 2009, I asked polar bear biologist Lily Peacock what appeared to be an innocuous question about Foxe Basin sea ice1 at a scientific workshop that got everyone’s attention.
The question — and the reaction — might surprise you.
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Arctic marine mammals, breakup, Foxe Basin, global warming, Hudson Bay, International Polar Year, late breakup, Peacock, polar bear ecology, polar bears, public lectures, scientific meetings, sea ice, Society for Marine Mammalogy, spring sea ice, Stirling, workshop