For the second time this month, sea ice around Svalbard Norway was the 6th or 7th highest since records began in the late 1960s. Pack ice at the end of April still surrounds Bear Island (Bjørnøya) at the southern end of the archipelago, which is a rare occurrence at this date. These conditions document a recurrent pattern of high ice extent and especially extreme ice thickness in the Barents Sea since last summer.
Posted in Conservation Status, Population, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Barents Sea, Bear Island, icebergs, icebreaker, Novaya Zemlya, polar bear, Polarstern, sea ice, Svalbard, thick ice
Polar bear season for St. Lunaire-Griquet Newfoundland ran from 6 March to 10 June this year — three long months when polar bears came to visit the community during the season when bears are usually occupied with feeding on young seals and mating.
Below is a map of the region: St. Lunaire-Griquet is at the tip of the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, just north of St. Anthony (where some of the action in my polar bear attack thriller, EATEN, takes place):
As of yesterday (June 10), when the last sighting of a fat and healthy polar bear took place, there was still quite a mass of thick first year ice (>1.2 m thick) off the northern peninsula of Newfoundland, amongst a field of icebergs:
The first sighting in the area this year was back in early March, which I blogged about here. Fortunately, the Davis Strait bears that occupy the East Coast pack ice are usually well feed at this time of year and seldom pose a serious threat to humans: the fact that visitors ashore are often easily pursuaded to leave (or do so on their own) suggests they are more curious than hungry.
Posted in Life History, Polar bear attacks, Sea ice habitat
Tagged ashore, East Coast, Eaten, harp seal, icebergs, Newfoundland, polar bear, sea ice, sightings, St. Anthony
Heavy sea ice off Newfoundland and southern Labrador has been an issue for months: it brought record-breaking numbers of polar bear visitors onshore in early March and April and since then has hampered the efforts of fisherman to get out to sea.
Let’s look back in time at how the ice built up, from early January to today, using ice maps and charts I’ve downloaded from the Canadian Ice Service and news reports published over the last few months.
The tour is illuminating because it shows the development of the thick ice over time and shows how strong winds from a May storm combined with an extensive iceberg field contributed to the current situation.
Bottom line: I can only conclude that climate change researcher David Barber was grandstanding today when he told the media that global warming is to blame for Newfoundland’s record thick sea ice conditions this year. I suspect that because Barber’s expensive research expedition was scuttled, he simply had to find a way to garner media attention for his project — and the media obliged. Read to the end and decide for yourself.
Posted in Advocacy, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Arctic ice, Barber, climate change, global warming, icebergs, multiyear ice, Newfoundland, sea ice, Strait of Belle Isle, thick sea ice, trapped in ice