Here is the October 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.”
For the end of October, there was more ice in the Southern Beaufort this year than there has been since 2010.
Eight bears (all females) were on the ice and four were onshore. Only six of the eight on-ice bears were actually in the Southern Beaufort – the other two were in the Chukchi Sea (west of Point Lay, see discussion here).
Note that the recent boundary change between the Southern and Northern Beaufort subpopulations (the US/Canada boundary of the Southern Beaufort), reported here, has not addressed the fact that many western “Southern Beaufort” bears move into the Chukchi Sea.Compare the sea ice coverage shown in Fig. 1 above to the situation in past years. Click on the maps to enlarge.
October 2013 is Fig. 2 below:
October 2012 is Fig. 3 below:
October 2011 is Fig. 4 below:
And October 2010 is Fig. 5:
Freeze-up in the Southern Beaufort progressed rapidly during October and by the end of the month, there was plenty of ice available for any bears ashore to head out and resume hunting.
And now, just over one week later, the region is virtually 100% covered by ice, as Fig. 6 below shows.
For more detail on the Beaufort Sea region sea ice, updated daily, see here.