BS Alert: Polar bear hearing affected to due global warming?

From the BBC, a video report so absurd, you wonder if it is an April fools joke. The premise? Noise from excessive ice calving  and cracking due to “climate change” would affect the bear’s hearing. I wonder what agency was gullible enough to provide a grant for this load of rubbish? Like polar bears have never heard ice floes cracking and calving before? Give me a break. Plus, the polar bear they are using for a test subject isn’t in it’s natural environment, it’s at a zoo and who’s to say this bear establishes a credible baseline hearing test? This is just unbelievable stupidity in the guise of bad science. What next? Hearing aids for polar bears? A hat tip to Tony B in the UK for alerting me to this story. – Anthony


How to test a bear’s hearing


Click preview image above for link to video story
Scientists in California are testing the hearing of polar bears to try to find out whether the noises associated with melting Arctic ice could affect their ability to survive.

The BBC’s Peter Bowes goes to SeaWorld in San Diego to meet Charly, a 12-year-old polar bear taking part in the experiment – and his trainer Mike Price.

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55 thoughts on “BS Alert: Polar bear hearing affected to due global warming?

  1. This could be the end of Polar bears!! If they can no longer hear the ice breaking up they may well be crushed or drowned. What about the glare from all the open ocean at the north pole, it could blind them. They would be unable to see or hear their mate. They could become extinct. They need hearing aids. They need dark glasses

    I will be happy to make the supreme sacrifice and take on the project for a measly 2 or 3 Billion. A year that is.

  2. It would appear that Lewis Pugh’s hearing was also affected by the grinding of the ice against his kayak. Or at least his ability to listen.

  3. The article on the BBC news website goes from statements like “noise generated by human activity, such as construction or shipping, could be audible to the bear over a wide area” (well yes, common sense would say that’s possible) to phrases like “This is about looking at the collapse of an entire ecosystem” (whoah there, mighty leap of illogic!) Good old BBC, as incorrigible as ever.

  4. I knew there was a reason for my hearing loss. Now I just have to figure out who to sue.

    Deaf cannibalistic starving polar bears. Good grief. In The Department of Absurd Things, Anthony, you have outdone yourself.

  5. This reminds me of the joke about the scientist and a frog. The one where the scientist concludes that cutting off the frogs rear legs makes it go deaf.

  6. When I worked in the arctic, I never worried about the polar bear’s hearing.

    I always worried about NOT hearing the polar bear.

  7. Global Warming: The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.

    Global warming: Is there nothing it can’t do?

    With apologies to H. Simpson

  8. I believe the term “BS Alert” should be corrected to “AlGore Alert” since they both mean the same thing.

    REPLY: In this case, BS meant “bad science” as indicated in the text of the story. -Anthony

  9. What fits is something that P.T. Barnum is alleged to have said:
    “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    Now the BBC, Gore, Hansen et al, and every politician is proving that point.

  10. This sounds very serious to me. Perhaps the bears other four senses are also being affected. I await the scientific proof coming shortly I am sure.

  11. Because of global warming the bears cannot hear, so they eat each other. And this causes dead penguines to wash up on shore in South America.

    Now I undersatnd the AGW scare,

  12. I hope the dishonest flawed rubbish phenomenon this polar bear story is isn’t one which only occurs where there is a common lie of disaster that drives conformity and a fascism to stop freedom, like freedom of speech.

    More a bit offtopic:

    In Sweden there recently was a threat from a “green” organisation against a conference which had invited a person critical to the GW hysteria; that person couldn’t participate:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newsdesk.se%2Fpressroom%2Fhgg%2Fpressrelease%2Fview%2Fgroena-bilister-hotar-energi-och-klimatforum-i-haernoesand-239243&hl=sv&ie=UTF-8&sl=sv&tl=en )

    I just saw this Green Jugend propaganda clip, which scientifically has the lies, presented as science (in a strange presentation) and says that the earth (apparently from 4-5 percent extra CO2 in the atmosphere) right now face a bigger threat than it has ever faced in 50 million years. (Nazism or Ahmadinejad is just nothing!)

    The kids like it and the schools encourage this crap so don’t be surpriced if there are more eco terrorism in the future.

    What can we do to stop this? Inform politicians in campaigns, and hope they say there isn’t a global warming disaster waiting for us? I think politicians with different opinion has not courage enough to have a different opinion.

    Blogs may be extremely important, but can we afford a stupid Kyoto 2?

    So little time………………. (Where is Exxon? Probably also in it for the lie.)

  13. Re: “an April fool’s joke”

    Well, it’s not April, John, so this must be serious. I’m pretty sure I know the cause of the problem, and it’s got nothing to do with ice calving. The deafness is a temporary problem caused by all that extra time in the water swimming. I had a bad case of swimmer’s ear once and couldn’t hear a darned thing out of that side til the water drained out.

  14. Tom in Florida. You’re right, so this *cough-cough* “research” should have target _less_ CO2 and _no warming_ as a problem for the polar bears’ hearing.

  15. I look at this and think “what a load of BS” (bad science). I sure that many AGWers will look a this and also think “What a load of BS”. Many ordinary people, whose only exposure to all of this is what they read in the newspaper and see on TV, will look at this and think “What a load of BS”. Hopefully some of these ordinary people will start questioning what other BS they have been fed over the years. I hope they do a report like this every week.

    Maybe we should keep a list of these claims and when somebody shouts “OIL COMPANY SHILL” in an attempt to discredit a paper we can shout back “DEAFENS THE POLAR BEARS” as an example of AGW science.

  16. RX / Swimmer’s Ear:

    Ah, after viewing the video, I know just what to do. They need to train the bears to roll onto their opposite side, which allows the water run out. If this doesn’t work, just have the bears eat two trainers and call Al Gore in the morning.

  17. Jim B (13:38:44) :

    “…CO2 now makes the oceans “noisy.”

    The noise, plop-plop fizz-fizz, is caused by Polar Bear Alka-Seltzer.

  18. “This is about looking at the collapse of an entire ecosystem” How much noise would that create?

    Polar bears, like all bears orient their prey primarily by smell, then by sight. They seem to rely very little on sound. Every year hikers, berry pickers, mushroom pickers get caught up with black bears and grizzlies because the bears don’t rely on sound as an alert mechanism. If you come at a bear from downwind, even if you’re making noise, you can get a nasty surprise. If come from upwind, so your scent gets there first, it will know you are coming. I read some research a while back that estimated that a bear (black bear in this case) could smell a rotting animal from about 5 miles away.

    A Sea World article indicates that: “Polar bears have the ability to smell their prey more than 32 kilometres away, so when our Polar bears are looking for their food, you’ll notice they point their nose to the sky to find the different scents.” As for hearing, probably about as good as a human, although they do seem to have good high frequency hearing more like a dog. Eyesight is comparable to humans as well.

    All that aside, they evolved in an environment where the sound of cracking ice is common.

    And another bit of useless knowledge, polar bear hair is not white, it is clear like a fibre optic strand. This helps the bear channel sunlight to its skin to aid in vitamin D production.

  19. Jim B, thanks for the link.

    I don’t understand why the good folks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium are upset; if AT&T expanded my local calling area by 70%, I’d be happy.

    BTW, at least they say the oceans are becoming “less alkaline”, not “more acidic”.

  20. Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
    Friedrich Nietzsche
    German philosopher (1844 – 1900)

  21. Pingback: The Global Warming » Blog Archive » BS Alert: Polar bear hearing affected to due global warming?

  22. Good heavens. To think I am forced to pay a TV licence fee that funds the BBC and assists them with this sort of rubbish punting makes me really annoyed.

    As for Bill P’s

    “If this doesn’t work, just have the bears eat two trainers and call Al Gore in the morning.”

    Surely the other way around would be a better result?

  23. Since a polar bear’s hearing is somewhere between that of a human and that of a dog, I did a definitive experiment on this.

    I sat down in a quiet place with both of my dogs and put a tray of ice cubes on the table next to us to see if the sound of melting ice would cause damage to our ears. After we all woke up, the ice cubes had melted and I can say that no animals were harmed in the progress of this research. We are all unscathed.

    Can I get paid for this please?

  24. At least the cannibal polar bears won’t have to hear the moaning ans screams of the starving polar bears as they eat them alive.

  25. Wondering what low flying helicopters full of mad scientists and eco tourists dose to there hearing.
    One scientist proudly reported on discovery channel that he tranquilized, weight and measured 1000 bears in three seasons.
    Makes for tough hunting seals when you walk half stoned around on the ice with a helicopter buzzing around your head, cannibalism is the next best thing I guess.

  26. Linked to from the Drudge Report, here’s yet another TYPICAL example of the Green movement’s ideology. If people won’t volunteer, force them to do it. Who cares if it goes against every idea of freedom and human dignity ever developed in the Western world. We’re trying to save the planet! Absurd.

    It reads:

    “Tara Garnett, the report’s author, warned that campaigns encouraging people to change their habits voluntarily were doomed to fail and urged the government to use caps on greenhouse gas emissions and carbon pricing to ensure changes were made. “Food is important to us in a great many cultural and symbolic ways, and our food choices are affected by cost, time, habit and other influences,” the report says. “Study upon study has shown that awareness-raising campaigns alone are unlikely to work, particularly when it comes to more difficult changes.”

  27. Oh the reason I didn’t put a link myself is because David Walton (14th comment down) already did. I forgot to add that bit in.

  28. I live in the Northeast USA and am generally well informed. The carbon trading scheme that 10 of the NE states have agreed to just snuck right by me. FYI, here’s the press release for the 1st auction; http://www.rggi.org/docs/rggi_press_9_29_2008.pdf

    They obtained $38M ($3.07 per ton) that gets distributed to the 6 states that participated: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Lets say the states get 2/3 and admin eats up the rest, that means each states budget gets an average of about $4M . The state bureaucrats can taste it now. This program is now locked in.

    Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York didn’t participate. (???)

  29. I have to inform you this report is quite true!

    When I turn my hearing aid volume up the noise from
    the ice in my glass of scotch is deafening!!

  30. Pingback: BS Alert: Polar bear hearing affected to due global warming? « An Honest Climate Debate

  31. I despair of the BBC. This stupid story was shown every 60 minutes on the News 24. The Food Climate Research Network rubbish was also briefly on the Daily Telegraph website and the editor asked for comments. Funny, but no comments were shown and after I posted one the article was withdrawn.

  32. John,

    If you and the dogs are stone deaf, how did you hear Mike’s post?
    Or this one for that matter?

  33. Did anyone take a sound level meter up there and actually measure some of this? I suspect the noise of a researcher being eaten by a starving polar bear would be much louder.

    With a severe hearing loss already, I guess I’ll have to avoid mexed drinks and stick to beer. The bubbles don’t make as much noise.

  34. Don’t despair of the BBC. The Front Page News has no mention of polar bear deafness, but doe point to this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7643883.stm

    Which has some interesting observations, particularly:

    We will never know empirically on any useful timescale whether or not we have accurate climate predictions for 2050. Yet even if they do prove accurate, if our shorter-term forewarning of daily weather to decadal climate is poor, we may end up just as maladapted and just as exposed to weather risks as if we had ignored global warming entirely.

  35. Pingback: Fresh Bilge » Polar Joke

  36. I’ve also heard a crazy rumor that ice is really cold. Perhaps there should be a study commissioned on the incidence of frostbite on polar bears’ paws. I can’t think of a more effective use of grant money and scientists’ time.

  37. Well, you got me on that one Mark. Actually, one of the dogs smells all the new posts, rejecting any from trolls and miscreants, so I was sure not to miss Mike’s or yours.

    Seriously, polar bears have been around for somewhere between 400,000 and 800,000 years (however, some contend that its only 200,000.) They are an offshoot of the grizzly side of the family that adapted/evolved to live in cold environments. Whatever amount of noise is made by melting sea ice, it is something that they have heard (or not heard, depending on the noise levels) throughout their evolution.

    This new “research” reminds me of a “study” done in Alberta in the 80’s to determine why elk urinate on grass. At a cost of $45,000 it was determined that elk urinate on grass because they stand on grass most of the time. Luckily, a follow-up study was not done to determine why elk urinate on snow in the winter. Had that study been done today, it would have included the effects of climate change and the elk’s prefernce for urinating on grass. But I digress.

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  39. “Just how loud can the calving of sea ice get? We are not talking about glaciers here.”

    Having a bunch of hearing-impaired polar bears aimlessly roaming the Arctic wastes has captured my imagination, and frankly unnerved me something awful, so that I had to go pour myself a double scotch on the rocks.

    Imagine my consternation! The ice cubes splitting and clinking in my glass were so deafeningly loud I couldn’t be summoned to take out the trash. I’ve had to (try to) read my wife’s lips ever since.

  40. And for this shit we pay (on pain of imprisonment) an annual tax of £139.50p

    I could have made up a much better story for much less!!

  41. Modeling – In Canada, we have a healthy polar bear population that has just gone on a Protected Species list; what is that about? This is clear proof the NGOs and EPA do not have a clue about science. Two polar bear populations on Baffin are decreasing in number, but this is a region of the arctic that is cooling not warming. Polars are stable or increasing! Polar bears are a variety of brown bear and probably will do very well when and if it warms, but not in competition with brownies simply because of their colour. The species, I have gleaned from Environment Canada is at least 1 million years old. Polar Bear genes however, have survived numerous ice ages before this, their KOD(i)AK (forgive me) moment, arrived. Camouflage as brownies will get them through.
    However, it is certainly not about the bears. This is about abstract computer modeling being falsely elevated to the level of science and then presented as if it were science. Modeling produces objective computer generated conclusions based upon input assumptions and processing. In order for models to be approximately predictive, the assumptions must be realistic and work backward as well as forward. In most complex cases, modeling is GIGO. GIGO is their real value; eliminating hypothetical possibilities.
    Politics operates on GIGO propaganda – secondary causation not on first principles. Science or first principles do not affect government decisions in democracies. When a politically correct model gives bankrupt politicians an advantage to manipulate naive voters in an election year, democracy becomes irrelevant.
    Bear protection is all about a mass movement that intends to destroy global prosperity by crowd control in the brave new world. NIMBY is the unintentional foremost philosophy of the enemies of our prosperity but by putting bears on an endangered list when they are not endangered is ‘new speak’, mind-control, and secondary reasoning all wrapped up in one, and it intrusive into someone else’s (Nunavut’s) back yard to boot. Science should not be secondary to modeling under any serious circumstances because there is too great a likelihood of missed assumptions and empty logic rendering the conclusion dead wrong.
    Where is Al Gore’s consensus going with this? There is not a scrap of objective science in the CO2 global warming hypothesis either.
    Francis Manns, Ph.D., P.Geo. (Ontario)
    323 Blantyre Avenue
    Toronto, ON
    M1N 2S6 Canada

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