Tracking polar bears in the Beaufort Sea – October 2014 map shows most ice since 2010

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.”

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 October 2014 is copied below (Fig. 1).

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.

Fig. 1. Movements of 12 satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October, 2014. Polar bears were tagged in 2014 on the spring-time sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea. All twelve of these bears have satellite collar transmitters. Polar bear satellite telemetry data are shown with AMSR2 remotely-sensed ice coverage for 31 October, 2014. Click on the above image to enlarge. [looks like the 12th bear is a light pink icon (seen in the July map, with a track only visible on the August map) under one of the others onshore]

Fig. 1. Movements of 12 satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October, 2014. Polar bears were tagged in 2014 on the spring-time sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea. All twelve of these bears have satellite collar transmitters. Polar bear satellite telemetry data are shown with AMSR2 remotely-sensed ice coverage for 31 October, 2014. Click to enlarge. It looks to me like the 12th bear is a light pink icon (last seen on the July map, with a track only visible on the August map), but now it’s “hiding” under one of the others onshore.

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:

Figure 2. Movements of satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October, 2013 in the Southern Beaufort Sea. Original here.

Figure 2. Movements of satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October 2013 in the Southern Beaufort Sea. Original here, my discussion here.

October 2012 is Fig. 3 below:

Figure 3. Movements of satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October, 2012 in the Southern Beaufort Sea. Original here.

Figure 3. Movements of satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October 2012 in the Southern Beaufort Sea. Original here.

October 2011 is Fig. 4 below:

Figure 4. Movements of satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October, 2011 in the Southern Beaufort Sea. Original here.

Figure 4. Movements of satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October 2011 in the Southern Beaufort Sea. Original here.

And October 2010 is Fig. 5:

Figure 5. Movements of satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October, 2010 in the Southern Beaufort Sea. Original

Figure 5. Movements of satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of October 2010 in the Southern Beaufort Sea.

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.

Figure 3. Sea ice concentration for 11 November 2014. Note the ice forming along the western shore of Hudson Bay. Click to enlarge

Figure 6. Sea ice concentration for 11 November 2014 showing almost complete coverage in the Beaufort Sea and ice forming along the west shore of Hudson Bay. Click to enlarge

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