Hudson Bay polar bear habitat is highest in more than two decades for this time of year

More ice in Hudson Bay and adjacent regions than we’ve seen at this time of year for more than two decades: not since 1993 has there been as much polar bear habitat in the 2nd-last week of November.

Sea ice Canada 2018 Nov 22

The anomaly chart for this week is almost all blue:

Hudson Bay weekly departure from normal 2018 Nov 19

Other years back to 1994 had much less ice for the 2nd-last week in November, as the charts below show. Colour charts are only available from 2004.


Here is this year’s ‘stage of development’ chart for 19 November:

Hudson Bay weekly stage of development 2018 Nov 19

In a graph, it looks like this:

Hudson Bay same week graph to 2018 at Nov 19

In 2004, there was more ice in the northwest but less along the coast and in Hudson and Davis Straits:

Hudson Bay weekly stage of development 2004 Nov 22

In 2005, much less ice overall:

Hudson Bay weekly stage of development 2005 Nov 21

In 2006, there was even less than 2005:

Hudson Bay weekly stage of development 2006 Nov 20

In 2007, after the 2nd lowest summer ice extent since 1979, the picture was better (but not by much):

Hudson Bay weekly stage of development 2007 Nov 19

And in 2010, the ice coverage was very low at this date:

Hudson Bay weekly stage of development 2012 Nov 22

2012 was the lowest summer extent since 1979 and by late November there was little ice on the bay but ice extended south along the shore all the way into James Bay:

Hudson Bay weekly stage of development 2012 Nov 22

In 2016, when the bears did not leave shore until the first week of December, ice had formed on this date but got blown offshore:

Hudson Bay weekly stage of development 2016 Nov 21

Last year (2017) there was thicker ice along the coast but less ice in the strait than this year but polar bears left to go hunting on the ice about the same time (2nd week of November), as early as they did in the 19780s:

Hudson Bay weekly stage of development 2017 Nov 20

Last problem bear report of the season from Churchill (week 20 or after 5 months on land for most bears):

churchill-problem-bears-2018-nov-12-18.jpg

 

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