Not only did we see plenty of great news about polar bears but EATEN (my first novel) is now well on it’s way to being a resounding success. Don’t let your friends and colleagues have all the nightmares! Fabulous read for a long cold NH winter’s night but also an excellent choice for the beach…perhaps fewer nightmares?
The Canadian Ice Service predictions for winter 2016 off eastern Canada (where my novel takes place) is for extensive ice for the third year in a row. That means only nine years to go for the situation in 2025 to meet my speculations regarding a most terrifying onslaught of starving polar bears in Newfoundland.
I don’t ask for donations here at PolarBearScience – if you appreciate my efforts (418 posts and almost 630,000 views since late July 2012) and would like to see more of the same, please buy a copy or two of my book (and don’t forget to go back and leave a brief review; only the number of stars count). Paperback editions here and here; Ebooks for immediate gratification (Kindle; All other e formats).
In 2015, the Arctic Fallacy was exposed, there were official admissions of population increases (here and here) – all after we had Twenty Good Reasons Not to Worry About Polar Bears.
More of the same for 2016!
A heartfelt Happy New Year to you and yours, from a Canadian zoologist not afraid to wonder ‘what if’ but honest enough to call the output fiction.
Posted in Conservation Status, Population, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Arctic Fallacy, Atlantic Canada, Eastern Canada, Eaten, facts, information, Newfoundland, novel, polar bear, sea ice, speculative fiction, starving polar bear
Results of this fall’s Barents Sea population survey have been released by the Norwegian Polar Institute and they are phenomenal: despite several years with poor ice conditions, there are more bears now (~975) than there were in 2004 (~685) around Svalbard (a 42
30% increase) and the bears were in good condition.
Oddly, in a September report right after the count, biologist Jon Aars reported them in “excellent” condition, with some of them “as fat as pigs.” I guess “good” is the same as “excellent.”
Bears in the Russian portion of the Barents Sea were not counted this year because the Russians would not allow it; the previous total count, from 2004, was 2,650 (range ~1900-3600) for the entire region.
In the map above (courtesy the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group), the Svalbard archipelago is on the left (Norwegian territory) and the archipelagos of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya on the right (Russian territory).
Oddly, the comments made by lead researcher Jon Aars to a Norwegian newspaper (in English), which picked this up yesterday (“Polar bears make a comeback” ), were far more positive than those in the press release (which is likely all that western media will see).
UPDATE 24 December 2015: The new population survey number for Svalbard is actually a 42% increase over the 2004 number. Thanks to Arvid Oen, a WUWT reader, for alerting Anthony Watts to the error, and to Anthony for passing it along. Title and text fixed accordingly, apologies to any others who have picked this up. Cheers and Merry Christmas.
Posted in Conservation Status, Population, Sea ice habitat, Uncategorized
Tagged Aars, Arctic Fallacy, Barents Sea, estimate, expert opinion, facts, increase, information, IUCN, Norwegian Polar Institute, PBSG, polar bear, population size, sea ice, Svalbard
It has been less than a month since the 2015 IUCN Red List assessment for polar bears was announced, which emphasized that the population trend for polar bears is unknown and that there is only a 70% chance that polar bear numbers could decline by 30% over the next 35 years.
Yet, in a press release announcing the Weston Family Prize for lifetime achievement in northern research (along with $50,000) to Ian Stirling for his work on polar bears (Newswire, December 9, 2015), Stirling is quoted repeating an out-of-date prediction:
“Dr. Stirling estimates that about half of the polar bear population around the circumpolar Arctic could disappear by 2050 to 2060, if climate warming continues as is currently projected…”
I’d have thought that if Stirling did not agree with the IUCN assessment prepared by his colleagues, he would have said so last month when the report was released to international fanfare. Instead, he seems to be deliberately ignoring the 2015 IUCN Red List assessment and pretending that the flawed predictions he had a hand in making are still plausible. Continue reading
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status, Population, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Arctic Fallacy, award-winning science, climate warming, disappear, evidence, extinction, IUCN, lifetime achievement, polar bear, polar bear facts, population size, predictions, Red list, Southern Beaufort, Stirling, thick spring ice, threatened, Weston Family Prize
Thick spring ice due to natural causes is currently the single biggest threat to polar bears. Not declining summer sea ice – thick spring ice. That could change in the future but right now, the evidence supports that statement.
Polar bear deaths due to cyclical changes in Arctic sea ice thickness in the spring have continued despite rising CO2 emissions and declining summer sea ice extent (last major incident, 2004-2006): there is no reason to expect this will not continue. Unwarranted attention on summer ice extent has deflected attention from this major cause of local polar bear population decline.
Sea ice models do not address past or future changes in spring ice thickness and predictive models of polar bear survival blame all population declines on summer sea ice declines despite strong evidence to the contrary (Crockford 2015: The Arctic Fallacy). Continue reading
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status, Population, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Arctic Fallacy, climate change, COP21, global warming, IUCN, Paris climate summit, polar bear, population size, population status, Red list, sea ice, snow depth, Southern Beaufort, summer sea ice minimum, thick spring ice, threat, western hudson bay
A polar bear paper just out in Science concludes the experts were wrong, polar bears are not “walking hibernators” – in summer, they slow down and live off their accumulated fat just like other mammals. Take home message: experts are not infallible and spring fat is critical for polar bear survival over the summer.
This paper presents no compelling evidence that Southern Beaufort polar bears, or those in any other region, lack the ability to survive predicted summer sea ice declines in future decades – although they claim it does. See what you think.
Posted in Life History, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Alaska, Amstrup, Arctic Fallacy, Beaufort Sea, Ben-David, fast, fat, hibernation, polar bear science, polar bears, Regehr, sea ice, Southern Beaufort, summer, temperatures, walking hibernator, Whiteman