Polar bear habitat update: Labrador sea ice highest in 20 years

Sea ice off the southern Labrador coast hasn’t been this high for this date in 20 years: that’s great news for the harp and hooded seals that will give birth at the Front in another few weeks – for a while anyway, because a bumper crop of baby seals is also good news for the polar bears who gather there to eat them.

Sea_ice_near_coast_of_Labrador_-a_wikipedia sm

So brutal, but true. The polar bear must gorge over the short Arctic spring and early summer to survive the rest of the year.

Sea ice coverage off Southern Labrador for the week of 19 February (the latest date available) 1969-2016, is the highest since 1996; courtesy the Canadian Ice Service:

Davis Strait S Labrador same week 19 Feb 1969-2016

Sea ice coverage off Newfoundland for the week of 19 February 1969-2016, shows amounts just below average:

Davis Strait East Newfoundland same week 19 Feb 1969-2016

Sea ice coverage for Canada for the 25th of February 2016, courtesy the Canadian Ice Service:

Sea ice extent Canada 2016 Feb 26 CIS


Sea ice coverage for the Arctic for 24 February 2016, NSIDC, courtesy WUWT Sea Ice Page:

Sea ice extent 2016 Feb 24 NSIDC_sm WUWT

Today (day 56, 2016), the NSIDC MAISE ice chart shows 15.0 mkm2 of sea ice.

Sea ice is low in the Barents Sea but it was almost as low for this date back in 2012 but a 2015 survey showed Svalbard polar bears not only survived, they were in good condition and their numbers had grown by 42% over the count done in 2004.

Barents Sea this year at the 25th of February, courtesy the Norwegian Ice Service: Barents Sea ice extent 2016 Feb 25_NIS

Barents Sea ice for the 24th of February 2012 (slightly more ice around Svalbard than 2016 but less around Novaya Zemlya in the Kara Sea):

Barents Sea ice extent 2012 Feb 24_NIS

Comments are closed.