Category Archives: Summary

Ancient polar bear remains explained by sea ice and polynyas: my peer-reviewed paper

My open-access, peer-reviewed paper on the ecology of ancient polar bears in relation to sea ice has just been published in Open Quaternary. It’s called ‘Polar Bear Fossil and Archaeological Records from the Pleistocene and Holocene in Relation to Sea Ice Extent and Open Water Polynyas’.

A unique compilation of more than 104 polar bear skeletal records from the Holocene and late Pleistocene shows that most ancient remains are associated with existing or ancient open water polynyas or the expansion of sea ice during past cold periods. This big-picture analysis indicates that as they do today, polar bears were most commonly found near polynyas throughout their known historical past because of their need for ice-edge habitats.

Read my longer summary below and download the paper here. This is a much-updated and expanded analysis based on an informal study I did in 2012.

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Big announcement coming this week

New peer-reviewed polar bear paper of mine coming out, likely Monday or Tuesday. Watch for it.

State of the Polar Bear 2021: polar bears continued to thrive

The current health and abundance of polar bears continues to be at odds with predictions that the species is suffering serious negative impacts from reduced summer sea ice blamed on human-caused climate change.

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Archive of IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group status and meeting reports back to 1965

The IUCN/SCC Polar Bear Specialist Group have recently modernized their website, which apparently required them to remove all meeting reports and status documents going back to 1968. Since I had downloaded all of them for my own research, I have archived them here for anyone wishing to assess the accuracy of statements made by PGSG members about what they did or said in the past, or to understand the history of the organization. I did something similar a few years ago regarding the administrative reports used in 2007 to support the decision to list polar bears as ‘threatened’ under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), which disappeared from the US Geological Survey website: they can now be found here.

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Fact checkers defend activist scientists because they agree with them not because they are right

The so-called fact-checkers are out again trying to insist one side of a scientific debate is wrong and another is right because they happen to agree with one side. That’s advocacy, not science.

Here are some facts (check the links provided for additional references):

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Educational video about Arctic sea ice to bookmark: excellent for adults and children

One of the recommended videos I included in my Arctic Sea Ice Ecosystem Teaching Guide is a film called “Edge of Ice”. Produced in 1986 (before climate change hype pervaded everything), this 55 minute documentary from the National Film Board of Canada (filmed in Lancaster Sound, Canada) is an excellent summary of Arctic sea ice and its ecology. Available for free streaming here.

Narrated in parts by an Inuk hunter, it not only shows virtually all of the species associated with ice edges in the central Canadian Arctic, including polar bears, but also explains the process of freezing and thawing; life under the ice and the importance of polynyas.

Worth bookmarking for future viewing if you can’t get to it right away. Beats watching the news these days. It’s also a reminder to tell your homeschooling friends and relatives over the holidays about my free Teaching Guide resource: it’s something many parents will find useful.

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 (single typo in original corrected). 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.

Still waiting for two thirds of polar bears worldwide to disappear due to lack of summer sea ice

It’s hard to believe that a polar bear specialist would claim that their predictions have come true, given the facts of the matter: that polar bears arguably number over 30,000 worldwide and regions with the most dramatic sea ice declines have not documented reduced polar bear health or survival. But in mid-July this year, Andrew Derocher – one of the field’s most vocal promoters – did just that: proclaimed on twitter that “virtually all of our predictions are coming true.” Except, none of them did, especially the most widely-promoted one, which failed spectacularly.

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Polar Bear Facts & Myths for young readers in Portugal and Brazil

Due to the efforts of Thiago Maia and his team of assistants (Igor Vaz Maquieira and Márcio Calixto), I can now offer a Portuguese translation of my popular Polar Bear Facts & Myths science book for young readers in Brazil and Portugal.

Urso Polar Fatos E Mitos agora disponível em Português!

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Tipping points, Attenboroughesque narratives of climate doom and dying polar bears

Outlandish ‘tipping point’ rhetoric is about to be regurgitated once again during the promotion of the latest IPCC report, due today. Tipping points are those theoretical climate thresholds that, when breeched, cause widespread catastrophe; they are mathematical model outputs that depend on many assumptions that may not be plausible or even possible.

Polar bears often get caught up in motivational tales of sea ice tipping points.

Tipping points are not facts: they are scary stories made to sound like science.

This is why Sir David Attenborough has totally embraced the tipping points narrative. He even made a movie fully devoted to them, called, Breaking Boundaries – The Science of Our Planet. Tipping points are the animal tragedy porn of mathematical models and Attenborough has adopted them both.

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