Polar bear habitat around Svalbard Norway above average despite high temps in N. Atlantic

Sea ice extent for Svalbard was above average yesterday and has been since 17 July, despite “record-breaking” sea surface temperatures in June.

The temperature anomaly for June in the North Atlantic was 2-3 C above average, see image below.

Overall, the Barents Sea polar bear subpopulation region still has concentrated pack ice to the north and around Franz Josef Land in the east:

Oddly, sea ice over the Barents Sea in 2016 at 20 July was much less than this year (see below), after a June of apparently unremarkable North Atlantic sea surface temperatures.

As for the status of polar bears around Svalbard, Norwegian scientists who monitor the bears have not updated the MOSJ website with data from this spring’s research, as they have been doing for the last several years at least. Last year this chore was completed by 31 May and I reported on it in June. I’ve never seen it go this late and there has been no explanation for the delay.

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