Polar bear habitat update – more ice than 2012 when all the bears didn’t die

Overall, the situation is better than many recent years – lower than average but higher than even 2012 and 2007, when all the polar bears didn’t die despite record-low extents for September. In several areas of the Eastern Arctic, sea ice levels continue to run higher than average. There is plenty of ice in the Arctic Basin for polar bears spending the summer under the midnight sun.

masie_all_zoom_v01_2015237_4km

According to NSIDC MASIE (see map above):

2007 at 25 August – 5.2 mkm2
2012 at 25 August – 4.9 mkm2
2015 at 25 August – 5.3 mkm2

A polar bear slides across thin Arctic Ocean ice Aug. 21, 2009. P. Kelly, US Coast Guard.

A polar bear slides across thin Arctic Ocean ice Aug. 21, 2009 because it knows how to travel. P. Kelly, US Coast Guard.

This time of year bears are in multiyear or thick first year ice in the Arctic Basin or onshore. There is no evidence to suggest that this has not always been the case – even in during the last Ice Age, when sea ice covered tremendous areas even in summer.

Hudson Bay for this year (2014/2015) vs. average (1981-2010):

Hudson Bay single season 2015 week of Aug 27

Graphs below for Canadian regions for the week of 27 August

Northern Canadian Waters, 1971-2015:

Canadian waters north same week 27 Aug 1968_2015_CIS

Hudson Bay, 1971-2015 (note the scale!):

Hudson Bay same week 27 Aug 1971-2015

Foxe Basin, 1968-2015:

Foxe Basin same week 27 Aug 1968-2015 CIS

Davis Strait, 1971-2015 (note the scale!):

Foxe Basin same week 27 Aug 1968-2015 CIS

Baffin Bay, 1968-2015:

Baffin Bay same week Aug 27 1968_2015 with average_CIS

Eastern Arctic Region, 1968-2015:

Canadian Eastern Arctic same week Aug 27 1971-2015 CIS

Beaufort Sea, 1968-2015:

Beaufort Sea same week 27 Aug 1968_2015_CIS

Beaufort Sea, Western Alaska portion only, 1968-2015:

Beaufort Sea West AK same week 27 Aug 1968_2015_CIS

Maps below for Barents Sea and Svalbard closeup for 26 August 2015

Barents Sea ice extent 2015 Aug 26_NIS

Svalbard ice extent 2015 August 26_NIS

 

 

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