Posted onMay 3, 2023|Comments Off on 17th century documents & 1970s ice maps show sea ice habitat in Svalbard has always varied greatly
Historical records show that sea ice extent along the west coast of Svalbard, Norway varied greatly in the 1600s and that there is currently more ice than was usually present at this time of year in the 17th century.
April through early June is when polar bears need sea ice the most–for feeding on newborn seals and for finding mates–and so far this spring, bears in the Western European Arctic around Svalbard, Norway have had an abundance of ice. In fact, there is only a little less ice than was normal for the late 1970s and apparently, quite a bit more than was often present in the 1600s.
Posted onAugust 12, 2019|Comments Off on Media and USGS biologist sensationalize recent report of a polar bear encounter in Alaska
It’s been a slow summer for polar bear news to hype, so we shouldn’t be surprised that a local report that polar bears this summer have descended on the town of Kaktovik, Alaskaone week earlier than 2017 has morphed into an international story that makes a 2016 research report sound like this year’s news, with headlines trumpeting: “polar bear encounters are increasing” due to a longer open water period. Nevertheless, it was reported just two weeks ago that Alaska has not had a polar bear attack since 1993.
This is a particularly blatant example of how the media skew polar bear ‘news’ for public consumption, aided by scientists with a particular message to sell. Not surprisingly, a number of essential facts have been left out of this sensationized account, in part because the polar bear specialist the media consulted left those facts out of his statement. This is the sort of bias displayed by polar bear specialists that I discuss in my new book, The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened.
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