Polar bear habitat looking good for early summer – last days before the fast

Some polar bears may already be living mostly off the fat put on over the spring but others may catch a seal or two on the sea ice before the summer fast begins – since the ice hasn’t left the coast in most regions quite yet. Polar bears eat little in summer, whether they spend their time on land or on the sea ice.

PolarBearCV1LG_USGS

Sea ice is still high over Hudson Bay – for this time of year, it hasn’t had this much polar bear habitat since 2009. Davis Strait and Foxe Basin are also above average – Davis Strait hasn’t had this much ice since 1992 (the Mt. Pinatubo cold year). Polar bear subpopulation refresher map below.

PB map-all-populations PBSG original plus Okhotsk

Figure 1. Sea ice extent with anomaly. NSIDC. Click to enlarge.

Figure 1. Global sea ice extent with anomaly. NSIDC, courtesy WUWT Sea Ice Page. Click to enlarge.

Figure 2. Barents Sea ice map from Norwegian Ice Service.

Figure 2. Barents Sea ice map from Norwegian Ice Service. Click to enlarge.

Barents Sea conditions are much improved over last year, many more cubs were seen this spring around Svalbard denning areas.

Figure 3. Sea ice concentration in Canada at 15 July 2015. Canadian Ice Service. Click to enlarge.

Figure 3. Sea ice concentration in Canada at 15 July 2015. Canadian Ice Service. Click to enlarge.

Hudson Bay sea ice extent for 2015 compared to 2009 below:

Figure 4. Sea ice extent on Hudson Bay at 15 July 2019 vs. 2015, and mean date of WHB polar bears shore. Click to enlarge.

Figure 4. Sea ice extent on Hudson Bay at 15 July 2019 vs. 2015, and mean date of WHB polar bears shore. NSIDC Masie. Click to enlarge.

A few bears Western Hudson Bay (WHB) bears have come ashore but probably not all. Time will tell when most western and southern Hudson Bay bears come ashore this year, given so much ice still over the bay: researchers controlling the data aren’t saying.

Ice coverage graphs for North American waters below for the week of 16 July, 1968/1971 to 2015 (with average marked) for Hudson Bay, Davis Strait, Foxe Basin, Baffin Bay, Beaufort Sea, Canadian Arctic (click to enlarge):

Hudson Bay same week 16 July 1971-2015

Davis Strait same week July 16 1971-2015 CIS

Foxe Basin same week 16 July 1968-2015 CIS

Baffin Bay same week July 16 1968_2015 with average_CIS

Beaufort Sea same week 16 July 1968_2015 with average_CIS

Canadian Arctic same week July 16 1971-2015 CIS

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