Monthly Archives: November 2021

Free homeschool guide to Arctic sea ice ecology

I have put together a Arctic Sea Ice Ecosystem Teaching Guide for homeschooling Arctic sea ice ecology at the middle school level (grade 5-8; ages 10-13) meant to complement my two books, Polar Bear Facts & Myths and Walrus Facts & Myths and supplement your local school board curriculum. You’ll find critical facts about the amazing creatures that inhabit the Arctic sea ice, links to trust-worthy online sites with additional information, suggested exercises, and links to fascinating videos like this one that aren’t filled with doom-mongering about the future. The printable pdf booklet is free to download here. However, if you find it useful and can afford to do so, please consider a small donation (I suggest $6.00) at the ‘donate’ button to the right.

Sea ice cometh to Hudson Bay: freeze-up has begun

Although it may take until the end of the month for all Western and Southern Hudson Bay bears (except for pregnant females) to have returned to the ice, freeze-up has finally begun in earnest and today some bears are already heading out to resume feeding before winter sets in. This is 3.5 weeks later than last year when WH bears were first spotted have killed a seal on 31 October.

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Late freeze-up for W. Hudson Bay polar bears at odds with ice conditions elsewhere

Sea ice is finally starting to form along the western shore of Hudson Bay, lagging well behind ice formation in the rest of the Arctic. Oddly, however, last year it was just the opposite: some WH bears were able to start hunting as early as 31 October (see photo below) while ice formation lagged behind in the Chukchi and Barents Seas.

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Chukchi Sea ice that didn’t melt this summer is now 2+m thick between Wrangel Island and the shore

Thick multiyear ice between Wrangel Island and the shore is now more than 2m thick, potentially impacting fall feeding for bears that routinely summer on Wrangel or the north coast of Chukotka.

Rapidly-forming sea ice in the Laptev and East Siberian Seas this fall – generated by cold winds from Siberia in late October despite warmer than ususal temperatures earlier in the month – has trapped a number of Russian ships that are being rescued by ice-breakers (below), according to a report in the Barents Observer earlier this week.

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Polar bear habit more extensive in most areas of the Arctic compared to previous years

Mid-November is half-way through the Arctic fall season (October-December) and polar bear habitat is expanding slowly. Here’s a look at fall conditions compared to previous years, so you can see where bears may still be ashore and fasting (i.e. Hudson Bay and southern Foxe Basin) and where others have already resumed feeding.

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The Hounding of Roger Pielke Jr amid the demise of academic freedom in climate change

Academic freedom is squashed when scholars challenge any of the principle tenets of climate change and one of the most egregious examples of this has been the hounding of Roger Pielke Jr., explained in detail in a briefing paper published today.

If this is what climate change activists and their supporters in academia will do to a senior professor like Roger Pielke Jr., who really only disagrees with them on a single point, it’s no wonder that adjunct professors like myself have been virtually powerless in defending ourselves when the university mob mobilizes to attack with earnest (Laframboise 2019).

Here’s the executive summary, by civil liberties journalist Donna Laframboise:

Climate change, we’re told, threatens the ‘viability of our societies‘. In August 2021, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres declared the alarm bells ‘deafening‘. If this is even remotely the case, humanity is in urgent need of clear thinking.

But the climate movement rejects clear thinking. It has little interest in sorting facts from fiction, in ensuring its efforts are based on evidence rather than dogma. The hostility and venom directed at Roger Pielke Jr, a natural disasters expert who wholeheartedly supports decarbonisation of the global economy, demonstrates this beyond doubt.

Stray but a little from the dominant climate narrative, and activists will fantasise about your violent death. They will dismiss your peer-reviewed publications as marginal, accuse you of spreading disinformation, and successfully campaign to get you fired from part-time jobs. They will publish false allegations about you on the White House website, target journalists who quote you in news stories, and subject you to punitive, intrusive, and extensive financial investigation.

In recent years, Roger Pielke Jr has further discovered that academic freedom is an empty slogan at the University of Colorado (Boulder), his primary employer. Rather than defending its most senior environmental studies professor, his own department is now determinedly harassing and humiliating him.

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Conditions were not golden for polar bears in the 1980s despite what activist expert claims

Does the following statement stand up to scrutiny – i.e. a fact check – of the scientific literature on polar bear ecology?

In the 1980s, “the males were huge, females were reproducing regularly and cubs were surviving well,” Amstrup said. “The population looked good.”

[Steven Amstrup, Anchorage Daily News (Borenstein and colleagues), 5 November 2021: ‘How warming affects Arctic sea ice and polar bears’]
Steven Amstrup

In short, it does not.

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‘Already too late’ to save Churchill polar bears claim a false NY Times climate change cliché for COP26

Not only is it prime polar bear viewing week in Churchill, Manitoba but it’s the week of the 26th international elite COP climate change gab-fest: every media outlet on the planet is eager to promote climate catastrophe talking points.

Hence totally expected that the New York Times would print someone’s unsupported claim that the polar bears of Churchill (part of the Western Hudson Bay subpopulation) are on the verge of extirpation due to lack of sea ice and other similar nonsense. Also not surprising to find that Canadian government biologist Nick Lunn used the occasion to again offer unpublished and misleading data to a reporter. However, this time it’s good news meant to sound like an emergency: if correct, the data he shared indicate polar bears are heavier now than they were in the 1990s and early 2000s.

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Polar bear watching in high gear near Churchill as everyone waits for the sea ice to form

All of the bears within view of the coastal web cams on the shore of Wapusk National Park near Churchill on Western Hudson Bay seem to be in very good shape this year, despite having come off the ice a few weeks earlier than they have over the last few years. Despite this, problems with bears in Churchill seem to have been below average this year. Some great action can be seen via several Explore dot org live web cams that are streaming from shore right now.

A sow with yearling cub; 1 November 2021

No ice forming yet along the west coast of Hudson Bay as of today, which is a bit later than it has been for the last few years. That means some of these bears will likely have spent almost 5 months onshore by the time they get back on the newly-formed ice and resume hunting seals.

Hudson Bay shows no ice forming along the west coast, closeup at 2 November 2021
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