Posted onDecember 14, 2022|Comments Off on Arctic Report: primary productivity still high & sea ice flatline continues despite warmer temperatures
NOAAs annual Arctic Report Card is, for the most part, a valiant effort to turn good and ambiguous news into harbingers of climate change disaster. Primary productivity is up across most of the region (good news for wildlife) and despite Arctic temperatures being “twice as high” as the rest of the world in recent years, the summer sea ice ‘death spiral’ has failed to materialize.
Oddly, there is no bad news about polar bears (last mention was 2014). However, the media were told that the few hundred sea birds that died this year in the enormous Bering/Chukchi Sea region over the four months of summer in 2022 is a portend of climate change catastrophe–even though the authors of the NOAA report admit they have no conclusive evidence to explain the phenomenon. However, here are also some honest figures that are quite illuminating.
Posted onMay 31, 2020|Comments Off on Expert reveals size of another Canadian polar bear subpopulation is increasing
In case you missed it buried in the details of my rebuttal two weeks ago about Facebook labelling a short PragerU polar bear video as “false information”, in his review of the video (18 May 2020) Canadian polar bear biologist Ian Stirling revealed that a recent survey of M’Clintock Channel polar bears documented a population increase. The problem is we have no scientific details about the survey – apparently completed four years ago, in 2016 – because the final report has not been made public (COSEWIC 2018, pp. 42-43; Crockford 2020).
I was approached yesterday by Nick Coltrain, a reporter for the Des Moines Register and USA Today, asking for a statement about the accuracy of the PragerU video, which cites me as a source for two of their three ‘inconvenient facts.’
My comments are below but I reminded Nick that what is going on is a classic conflict that happens all the time in science: it presents no proof that I’m wrong or that the PragerU video is ‘false information’. Climate Feedback is not ‘factchecking’: it is presenting its preferred side of a disputed science issue.
Posted onFebruary 27, 2020|Comments Off on State of the Polar Bear Report 2019: Are polar bear researchers hiding good news?
International Polar Bear Day is a good day to ask: Are polar bear researchers hiding good news? Extended lags in publishing polar bear counts and a failure to publish data on female polar bear body weights and cub survival in Western Hudson Bay for more than 25 years make it look like polar bear researchers are delaying and suppressing good news.
In particular, the failure to report the data on cub survival and weights of female bears suggests that these health measures have not declined over the last two decades as claimed. If these figures are indeed the strongest evidence that sea ice loss due to climate change is harming Western Hudson Bay polar bears, why on earth have they not been made public? And why won’t a single journalist ask to see that data? Continue reading
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Posted onJanuary 21, 2018|Comments Off on Polar bear numbers not declining despite media headlines suggesting otherwise
In scanning comments generated by the recent flurry of internet interest in polar bears and blogs I noticed that a good many people, fed alarming media stories, are still convinced that polar bear numbers are declining rapidly when nothing could be further from the truth.
Posted onDecember 29, 2017|Comments Off on 2017 in review: polar bear prophesies of doom more at odds with current reality
Tales ofdoom and gloomabout polar bears reflect what some people think might happen in the future, not what is happening right now. Currently, polar bears are doing just fine despite the low summer sea ice coverage they’ve experienced since 2007 (Crockford 2017a; York et al. 2016). In other words, there has been no global population decline as predicted: officially, the numbers were 22,000-31,000 (or 26,500 average) in 2015 (Wiig et al. 2015) but about 28,500 when estimates published since then are included (Aars et al. 2017; Dyck et al. 2017; Matishov et al. 2014; SWG 2016), up from about 22,500in 2005).
This increase might not be statistically significant but it is most assuredly not the decrease in abundance that was predicted by ‘experts’ such as Steve Amstrup and colleagues (Amstrup et al. 2007), making it hard to take subsequent predictions of impending catastrophe seriously (e.g. Atwood et al. 2016; Regehr et al. 2016; Wiig et al. 2015).
The doomsayers can’t stand to have someone provide the public with unbiased evidence of this failure so they attack my scientific integrity with an academically weak andaggressively vindictive ‘peer-reviewed’ paper (Harvey et al. 2017, in press) that you’ll hear more about in the new year.
Posted onNovember 6, 2017|Comments Off on Twenty reasons not to worry about polar bears, the 2017 update
Just in timefor Polar Bears International’s self-proclaimed fall Polar Bear Week (5-11 November 2017), here’s a new resource for cooling the polar bear spin. I’ve updated my 2015 summary of reasons not to worry about polar bears, which is now more than two years old. In this new version, you will find links to supporting information, including published papers and fully referenced blog posts of mine that provide background, maps and bibliographies, although some of the most important graphs and maps have been reproduced here. I hope you find it a useful resource for refuting the pessimism and prophecies of catastrophe about the future of polar bears. Please feel free to share it.
As global leaders meet in Bonn for COP23 (6-17 November 2017), it’s time to celebrate the proven resilience of polar bears to their ever-changing Arctic environment.
Twenty Reasons: the bullet points
Polar bears are still a conservation success story: there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago.
Fewer populations are in decline than in 2010 (only one, officially) and only six are data deficient (down from nine).
Abrupt summer sea ice decline has not affected polar bear numbers as predicted: even though sea ice levels dropped to mid-century levels in 2007, the expected decimation of polar bears failed to occur.
The Chukchi Sea population is thriving despite a pronounced lengthening of the ice-free season since 2007.
Less sea ice in the summer in the Chukchi Sea has meant a healthy prey base for polar bears because ringed seals feed primarily in the ice-free season.
Polar bears have shown themselves to be adaptable to changing ice conditions in several regions.
Southern Beaufort numbers have rebounded since the last survey count.
Barents Sea numbers have probably increased since 2005 and have definitely not declined despite much less sea ice cover.
There is no evidence that record-low summer sea ice in 2012 had a harmful effect on Southern Beaufort bear numbers.
Other species are being negatively impacted by high polar bear numbers, especially nesting sea birds and ducks.
Western Hudson Bay population numbers have been stable since 2004, despite what scientists are telling the media.
Hudson Bay sea ice has not changed since about 1999: breakup dates and freeze-up dates are highly variable but the ice-free period was not any longer in 2015 than it was in 2004. However, this fall freeze-up is shaping up to be the earliest in decades.
Problem bears in Churchill are not lean or starving.
Churchill Manitoba had the most problem bears in 1983 and 2016, which were late freeze-up years, but many of the incidents in 2016 can be attributed to increased vigilance on the part of patrol officers after an attack in 2013.
There have been only marginal sea ice declines during the feeding period in spring, when polar bears need sea ice the most.
The is no evidence that subsistence hunting is affecting bear populations.
Stressful research methods have been curtailed in much of Canada.
There have been no reports of polar bear cannibalism since 2011.
Polar bears appear unaffected by pollution: studies suggest only that harm is theoretically possible, not that it has happened.
Polar bears have survived past warm periods, which is evidence they have the ability to survive future warm periods.
Polar bears are thriving: they are not currently threatened with extinction.
Tens of thousands of polar bears did not die as a result of more than a decade of low summer sea ice, as was predicted.
Polar bears don’t need sea ice in late summer/early fall as long as they are well-fed in the spring.
[full text below, pdf with footnotes and references here]
Posted onNovember 21, 2015|Comments Off on IUCN Red Book officials forced scientific standards on polar bear predictive models
As I reported Thursday, the IUCN announcement of a new Red List assessment for polar bear got the usual overwrought attention from international media outlets. However, not one of these contained a quote from a polar bear biologist.
Steven Amstrup, science spokesperson for activist conservation organization Polar Bears International, has so far had nothing to say to the media. Yet, Amstrup was a co-author of the IUCN Red List report. Not until late in the day following the release of the report did his his organization’s website post a short, bland news report (“Climate Change Still Primary Threat to Polar Bears”).
Similarly, Ian Stirling, Andrew Derocher, Nicholas Lunn (also a co-author of the IUCN Red List report), and former WWF employee Geoff York – who are usual go-to guys for polar-bears-are-all-going-to-die media frenzies – have so far been silent and invisible on this issue.
In my opinion, this silence says it all: polar bear specialists know this assessment is a severe de facto critique of their 2008 assessment (as well as Amstrup’s predictive models) and it’s a big step backwards for their conservation activism. I expect they are silent because they are royally pissed off.
A new survey just completed for a population count showed the bears were are in excellent condition – except the injured ones, of course, which some news organizations are promoting as evidence of harm from global warming-induced sea ice changes because an activist photographer – not scientists – said so.
Posted onFebruary 27, 2015|Comments Off on International Polar Bear Day & Polar bears in the news this week
Today’s the day to celebrate the resilience and adaptability of polar bears.
Not only did the record-breaking sea ice low of 2012 have virtually no effect on the bears but in 2014, only two subpopulations were classified as “declining” or “likely declining” – down from seven in 2010 and four in 2013 (see map below).
Kudos to the CBC for producing a propaganda-free polar bear “Fun Facts” page for kids that won’t give them nightmares – have a look.
Other news: Polar bears come early to Black Tickle, Labrador this year, a new population count is planned for the Barents Sea subpopulation, and The Times (UK) publishes some good news about polar bears. Details below.
UPDATE February 27, 2015. I’ve added another news item I missed below.
UPDATEAPRIL 7, 2015. Correction to the February 27 update below. Continue reading
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