Al Gore’s “drowned polar bear” AIT source under investigation

"ursus bogus"

"ursus bogus" fake image used in a Science magazine article - click for story

According to AP/Anchorage Daily News, he’s on leave pending results of investigation. It seems everywhere you look, there’s some sort of fakery going on with the polar bear issue. For example, the image at left, where Science magazine used this fake image to hype the issue. And of course, everyone remembers the scene from the 2005 Al Gore science fiction movie An Inconvenient Truth, where Gore had an animated clip of the polar bear in danger of drowning, trying to get onto a tiny ice flow made smaller, presumably by global warming. Gore cited this study about drowned polar bears.

(AP)  JUNEAU, Alaska — A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.

Full story:

http://www.adn.com/2011/07/28/1989382/arctic-scientist-under-investigation.html

This 2008 World Climate Report essay shows why an investigation is needed:

Where Are All The Drowning Polar Bears?

The Interior Department just announced its decision to list the polar bear as “threatened” under the U.S Endangered Species Act (ESA). The justification behind the decision is that polar bears are highly dependent on sea ice in the Arctic for their livelihood—hunting, mating, birthing, family rearing, etc.—and thus if sea ice declines, so will the overall health of the species.

While this may, in fact, be true in some sense, it also gives short-shrift to the bears adaptive abilities, which must be large, given that they survived the previous interglacial warm period as well as an extended period of warmer-than-present conditions in the Arctic (which undoubtedly were associated with reduced sea ice levels) about 5,000 to 7,000 years ago (give or take a thousand years) (see here fore example). If the bears fare worse this time around, it will mostly likely be because their natural adaptive response may run up against a human roadblock in the form of habitat disruption or other types of difficulties that an increased human presence may pose to the adapting bears. It seems that this is what the intent of the ESA is aimed at tempering, not trying to alter the climate—precisely how the Act should have be applied, despite all the criticism surrounding the decision.

All this renewed attention to polar bears has piqued our interest in just how the bears have been faring recently. Al Gore made movie stars out of drowning bears in his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth with an animation sequence depicting a small patch of floating ice disintegrating under a struggling polar bear until it was left swimming alone in a vast expanse of open ocean. One couldn’t help to get a little teary-eyed at the notion.

And as the public just can’t get enough of cute, cuddly, slightly aggressive movie stars who are a little down on their luck, the paparazzi are never too far behind to document their each and every move. Pictures of Paris Hilton partaking in every activity imaginable abound and Britney can’t even pull out of a parking lot without running over a photographer’s foot. So where are all the pictures of drowned and drowning polar bears?

Last fall, as a massive media campaign reminded us, the extent of Arctic ice was at an all-time (since 1979) low, yet we cannot recall a single report of a drowned polar bear as a result. Surely, with all the attention on polar bear well-being that arose as the Interior Department considered its ESA decision, if there were evidence of polar bears drowning last summer, it would have been held up front and center. But it wasn’t. Because they weren’t.

So where does this now omnipresent notion come from that polar bears—famously strong swimmers—will perish in droves under the warming waves as the distance between the ice edge and the shore becomes too great to overcome? Let’s have a look-see.

The original source of the drowning polar bear story is a series of studies conducted by Charles Monnett and colleagues from the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) out of Alaska which as been observing and counting polar bears on Alaska’s north shore for the past 30 years or so as part of a broader efforts to survey bowhead whale populations in the region and assess any impacts that oil and gas exploration activities may be having on them. Since the late 1970s, aerial surveys have been conducted from small airplanes flown during the late summer/early fall documenting the numbers of whales, polar bears, and other large marine mammals.

In December 2005, Monnett et al. presented a poster at the Marine Mammals Conference in San Diego (followed soon thereafter by a publication in the journal Polar Biology in early 2006) in which they documented a change in the patterns of late-summer polar bear sightings. During the first part of the record, polar bears were usually spotted on ice floes lying off the Alaskan coast, between say Barrow and Demarcation Point, near the Alaska/Canada border. During the latter part of the record, from 1992-2005, most of the bears were spotted on land as there was little ice to be found within tens to hundreds of kilometers of the coast. Alone, these observations indicated that the behavior of the polar bears was changing as the environmental conditions around them were changing. Hardly newsworthy in and of itself—polar bears adapting as best they could to climate change.

But the part of the study that garnered the press attention so much so that it has become ingrained in global warming lore was that Monnett et al. reported the sighting of four polar bear carcasses floating in the sea several kilometers from shore, presumably having drowned. All four dead bears were spotted from the plane a few days after a strong storm had struck the area, with high winds and two meter high waves. Since polar bears are strong swimmers, the authors concluded that it was not just the swimming that caused the bears to drown, but that the swimming in association with high winds and waves, which made the exertion rate much greater, sapping the bears of their energy and leading to their deaths. The authors also suggested that the frequency and intensity of late summer and early fall storms should increase (as would the wave heights) because of global warming and thus the risk to swimming bears will increase along with the number of bears swimming (since there will be less ice) and subsequently more bears will drown. But they didn’t stop there—they suggested that the increased risk will not be borne by all bears equally, but that lone females and females with cubs will be most at risk—putting even more downward pressure of future polar bear populations. And thus a global warming poster child (or cub) is born.

But does all of this follow from the data? Again, we haven’t heard of any reports of polar bear drownings in Alaska in 2005, 2006, or 2007—all years with about the same, or even less late-summer sea ice off the north coast of Alaska than in 2004, the year of the documented drownings.

In 2004, the researchers saw four, that’s right 4, polar bear carcasses floating at sea where they had never seen any in previous surveys. The 4 dead bears, coupled with 10 other bears that were observed to be swimming in open water, more than 2 km from land, led them to conclude that global warming was making the bears swim long distances and then drowning as the exertion overcame them when they got caught in a storm.

But is this really true? This NASA web site shows the minimum extent of Arctic sea ice each summer since 1979. As you scroll down through the list of years, notice that in many if not most late summers, the edge of the sea ice is quite a ways from the north coast of Alaska. So, the sea ice conditions along the northern coast of Alaska were hardly that unusual during September 2004. No more so than they were in the years since or in many prior. So bears weren’t encountering unusual ice conditions in 2004. In fact, in the period 1992-2004, more than 50% of bear sightings were in regions of no ice (Monnett et al., 2005). Why an elevated number of bears were observed swimming in open water in 2004 is unclear, but it could be from any number of reasons, sampling effort, bear population dynamics, bear food dynamics, to name a few—but an unusual expanse of open water doesn’t seem to be one of them.

What was potentially unusual was a big storm that caught them off guard. But even that seems unlikely. True it was windy for a several day stretch in mid-September 2004, but such a windy stretch is not particularly unusual there during that time of year.

What all of this means is that the number of drowning polar bears is not very significant in terms of the overall population of bears, which number in the low thousands in Alaska. In fact, polar bears drowning seems to be quite rare and unusual events, perhaps brought about by a confluence of ice free ocean waters and an especially strong storm. However, as summer ice conditions off the north Alaskan coast couldn’t get much worse than they were in 2007, when there was hardly at all, and since there has been no evidence yet presented that a large number (if any) bears drowned as a result, it would seem that death by drowning is not putting any meaningful downward pressure on the population of Alaskan polar bears.

But, truth be told, we have been withholding a piece of information this whole time—there were reports of drowning polar bears in 2007, and they were directly attributable to human activities. But they didn’t drown because of global warming, instead, they drowned because they had first been shot with tranquilizer darts and then slipped into the sea and were unable to be recovered.

This goes to show what we have been proclaiming all along—the real reason polar bears may suffer under climate warming is their increased encounters with humans as the bears change their adaptive behavior.

And this is where the application of the ESA to polar bears could prove most effective.

References:

Monnett, C., Gleason, J. S., and L. M. Rotterman, 2005. Potential effects of diminished sea ice on open-water swimming, mortality, and distribution of polar bears during fall in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea. 16th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, 12-16 December 2005, San Diego, CA.

Monnett, C., and J. S. Gleason, 2006. Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming by polar bears in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea. Polar Biology, 29, 681-687.

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91 thoughts on “Al Gore’s “drowned polar bear” AIT source under investigation

  1. “they drowned because they had first been shot with tranquilizer darts and then slipped into the sea”

    Hey this wasn’t the Disney producer who threw the Lemmings off the cliff was it? If nature doesn’t deliver a helping hand will.

  2. Reminds me of 71. There was a tanker accident under the golden gate bridge and they gave all of us school “chillins” off to save the ducks (sea birds). So what kid would not take off and go to the beach??? Anyway, as we approached the birds to capture and clean them, they got spooked and swam out to sea and drowned from the oil on their feathers.

    The worst danger to nature is man’s desire to help it. You would think we would have learned by now.

  3. There’s a lot missing from the story. Monnett is suspended but won’t say why. Jeff Ruch, who is leader of a pro-environment watchdog group, says that the suspension is over the polar bear article, but could that just be smoke and mirrors? And if the article just said, “we found 4 dead polar bears and we imagine that this will get worse in the future” how is that scientific misconduct (other than the usual failure of peer review)? Why would Monnett be responsible for the misuse of his article by others? I get the feeling that something else is going on and that Ruch is throwing up the bears as a distraction or battlefield prep for when the real misconduct comes out.

  4. Ok, polar bears eat seals. Seals are mammals. Seals will often use holes in the ice to surface and rest and the polar bears search out those holes and eat them when they surface. Now if there is no ice, the seals will be kept closer to land as they must still surface to rest. The polar bears will have no need to hunt across miles of ice to find seals because all of the seals will be within easy reach of the beach.

    If all the ice were to disappear, the polar bears would probably become fatter as they would not have to travel as far to find seals and would be able to catch more of them in a given season. The bears would probably also lose their white coat over time and revert to brown (through selection, the whitest bears would catch fewer seals and have less reproductive success, bears with a brown coat would be more successful hunters as they would be harder for the seals to see against the background).

    My guess is that if all the ice disappeared, we would have a lot of very fat brown polar bears in only a few thousand years. The bears would look pretty much as they did before they evolved their current white coat (polar bears are simply an adapted brown bear).

    Ice is not a polar bear nutrient. They don’t eat ice, they don’t need ice to survive. They simply use ice as a hunting ground for seals. If there is no ice, then there will be no seals miles out to sea on the ice, either, and the bears will have no reason to go so far to sea.

  5. It is suspicious that an enviro group would charge in during an investigation, trying to rescue the subject of the probe. Whenever there is an internal investigation, the rule is non-interference, to allow the investigation to take its course. When the final report is issued, depending on the outcome, that’s when the lines are drawn and people can take sides.

    Interference in a police investigation is a criminal offense. In a civil investigation, outside interests like Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility are expected to not interfere. It will be interesting to find out what their motivation is for stepping over the line in this case.

  6. in re:PhilJourdan 9:32 This was a documentary made about that
    oil spill put together by a guy in the Standard Oil PR department.
    I really wish I could get ahold of it. Really historic footage.

  7. Tom says:
    July 28, 2011 at 9:37 am

    There’s a lot missing from the story. Monnett is suspended but won’t say why. Jeff Ruch, who is leader of a pro-environment watchdog group, says that the suspension is over the polar bear article, but could that just be smoke and mirrors? And if the article just said, “we found 4 dead polar bears and we imagine that this will get worse in the future” how is that scientific misconduct (other than the usual failure of peer review)? Why would Monnett be responsible for the misuse of his article by others? I get the feeling that something else is going on and that Ruch is throwing up the bears as a distraction or battlefield prep for when the real misconduct comes out.
    ================================================================
    Of course this is all speculation, but it would be misconduct if there weren’t really any poley bears downed, or if it were staged in some fashion. No, it wouldn’t be his fault if some other pinhead abused the article.

    As to the poor poley bears themselves…… lol, geez they’re brown (grizzly) bears! They’ll do just fine on the ground as well as on the ice.

  8. Last week, at the International Bear Association Conference, a paper was presented on the travel patterns of 68 GPS-collared female polar bears between 2004 and 2009. On average, more than half of the bears had long-distance swims over 50 kilometres in 2009. One-quarter of them made that distance in 2004, the year of the drownings. On average, they swam 150 kilometres in the water during a season. Some cubs may have been lost in these swims however since the mother bears where sighted on land later and no longer had cubs with them.

    One bear was tracked simming in open ocean for nine days straight covering nearly 700 kms.

    It is likely that the solid data presented here and that available over the last few years has called into question the published paper by Monnett on the 2004 drownings.

    Polar bears can swim at 10 kms per hour so the nine days straight record means that they should never drown unless very sick or very young or some other unusual circumstance.

  9. “But, truth be told, we have been withholding a piece of information this whole time. There were reports of drowning polar bears in 2007, and they were directly attributable to human activities. But they didn’t drown because of global warming, instead, they drowned because they had first been shot with tranquilizer darts and then slipped into the sea and were unable to be recovered.

    Truth be told!? Why start now?

    In happier news, I’m sure Charles Monnett’s substantial government funding will remain intact while he’s “on leave”…

  10. When you say “where are the pictures of drowned polar bears”, its like suggesting to the environmental wackos that they go drown a few and take pictures to rebut the implication. On the other hand, this is why I’d like to see climate science litigated in court so people can see how flimsy and inadmissible much of the evidence is. If this were a common normal occurrence, it would be much better documented. Were others with Monnett when he saw the drowned bears that would help confirm the story? Scientists aren’t beyond making stuff up. They want attention and whatever they are doing isn’t getting them any, so they make up a story, fake a specimen or observation.

    One example I’m familiar with is the range of the Utah Mountain Kingsnake. There is a specimen in the BYU collection, allegedly collected in Wallsburg, which is around 10 miles east of where I live in Orem, Utah. It is the only specimen that far north. Aside from it, all other specimens come from the Canyon Mountains by Oak City/Scipio area around 100 miles further south, and from there south into Arizona. In 2002-2004 the Utah Division of Wildlife funded (by paying mileage) for a dozen amateur herpetologists to locate as many of them as possible. This is by far the largest single effort to establish the range for this animal. Yet nobody found any further north than Canyon Mountains. Most of us who have an interest in this animal believe it was a faked location specimen caught somewhere else and reported as being from that northern location.

    Also, I wonder why it would take so long for them to act on that particular story seven years later. I’m guessing there is something more recent that he’s done. Until we find out the reason, we’re just making stuff up.

  11. heh – so the protected polar bears killed in 2007 were whacked by the politicians in lab coats?

    monnet loved the attention and now he’ll say it was nothing to do with him, eh?

    [snip]
    once the first confirmed, adjudicated and convicted fraudster is a matter of public record, it becomes definitional. watch how the rest collapses in short order.
    you can count polar bears all your life, but get convicted of this fraud and nobody will greet you ‘hey poley.bear counter!’

    it’s a shame that government certification of fraud is the token needed for this to become mainstream, but it is.
    if this fraud is certified, it becomes extremely newsworthy. whitewashes have been saving them from redefinition for so long now.

  12. Polar bears are amazing swimmers.

    The fact that this ability could only evolve and be useful during mostly ice-free or ice-low winter periods is ignored by the fanatics.

  13. Show us the bodies! Polar bears that die inside computer models are really dead, as they aren’t real polar bears.

  14. Let us wonder why being the scientist they are and flying around to count animals for their study they did not take PHOTOS of said drowned polar bears as i am sure they should have been taking pictures of the whales as most ocean scientist have pictures of the animals they study and are able to reconize each one by their markings or scars so as to not count the same whale twice! Nothing said about whether or not these bears were floating together or in different places, since polar bears are a solitary creatures. So many questions with no answers from these scientists.

  15. We could very well be watching a changing philosophy on global warming among certain U.S. leaders. Will be interesting to watch how this unfolds.
    I had earlier written about the latest ruling on Polar Bears here.
    That article I made reference to was also published in the ADN, written by a Ms. Cappiello. She suggested that the Judge supported scientists on the theory of global warming to place Polar bears on the ‘threatened’ list. When in reality,the FWS was quoted as saying that global warming was beyond their scope. In addition, the judge also considered that his role was not to determine of if the FWS failed to recognize global warming as a threat, but only if the FWS met their responsibilities in listing the Arctic Polar Bear as threatened.
    Another article was written in the ADN about global warming back in March. You can read about that and what I discovered about it here.
    Dan Joling reported that the city of Kavalina was being threatened by Global Warming. Melting permafrost and erosion was said to be forcing the residents to consider moving. What he failed to report was that the city had moved before, because of sea wave erosion. He also failed to mention that the city had filed suit against over 25 companies to help pay for the second relocation. Those suits were dismissed.
    I bring this up because the ADN is the only newspaper in Anchorage. The Anchorage Times had been run out of town years ago. Since that time. the ADN has been left to publish all if its liberal beliefs without interruption.
    Witnessing this type of news in the ADN, that may lead to skepticism of AGW, is fascinating. If the ADN feels compelled to print it, knowing the papers political and ideological make-up, there must be something to this story.

  16. Baby polar bear to daddy polar bear- ”Daddy, am I really a polar bear”
    Daddy polar bear to baby polar bear-” What a strange question. I’m a polar bear, your mother is a
    polar bear, we’re all white, live in the Arctic and eat seals, of course you’re a polar bear. Why do you ask?”
    Baby polar bear to daddy polar bear ”Because my feet are (snip) freezing.

  17. Alaska’s polar bear cousins in Hudson’s bay in Northern Manitoba could teach them how to live with warmer weather and no ice for 4 or 5 months. Clearly Alaskan biologists know less about the bears than a prairie boy from Manitoba.

  18. I’ll bet he drowned those bears himself. Held ‘em underwater with his bare hands until they drowned! An ensemble of runs with my computer model shows that scenario. What more proof do you need?

    … or maybe we could wait and see what, if anything, the investigation turns up…

    Best,
    Frank

  19. How long before we get “Save The Polar Bears – please give a donation each month” Charaties are big business.

  20. The Alaska Daily News article quotes Ruch saying the Obama administration is persecuting Monnet – seems like only yesterday this was a Bush thing that would never happen under a Democrat. (snark mode_OFF_)

    I agree there is something else strange here, such as misappropriation of funds or something – it is unlikely an investigation into scientific misconduct would involve the Inspector General.

  21. This is sounding very strange. I’ve now read the article, and the complaint filed by PEER, which is here.

    http://www.peer.org/docs/doi/7_28_11_Scientific_Misconduct_Complaint.pdf

    The article is fairly dull actually. The Alaska Minerals Management Service send out a plane every year to count bowhead whales; they also count other wildlife they spot, and note the Lat and Long. In 2004 they found 4 dead polar bears on survey flights made a few days after a really big storm. The main point I can see from a biological point of view is that polar bears, assumed to be strong swimmers, are vulnerable to severe storms and this may be an under-estimated source of polar bear mortality.

    Now, there is at least one clear scientific error in the article. The authors use the length of the survey flights (transects) as a percentage of the total area to estimate the total number of bears swimming, the total number drowned, and the mortality rate for bears that were swimming during the storm. But they failed to take into account the fact that the survey flights were designed to measure bowhead whale habitat, not bear habitat, so finding 3 dead bears after the storm in 1/9th the survey area does not necessarily mean that 27 bears drowned. There are a lot of other things they don’t discuss, such as the fact that most swimming bears were found close to shore and the drowned bears were found far out at sea, presumably due to wind and current drift in the 1-6 days after the storm. Or, why would the bears be swimming anyway? What would they be looking for? And since the surveys were done in September at min ice, how does this really relate to declining max ice? The AGW stuff is confined to 1-2 paragraphs at the end of the discussion, and its the sort of speculation without data that would be removed during peer review if this was a higher-ranked journal or the topic was something else.

    But the PEER complaint makes it clear (using information that could only have come from Monnett himself) that the investigators were asking specifically about this paper. Monnett has been given no formal statement of the allegation against him. Unless the PEER complaint is outright fabricated or is leaving out some other kind of serious allegation, the investigation really does sound like a witch hunt. Unless he actually fabricated the finding of the dead bears, I don’t see what the problem is here. This is still looking very strange.

  22. “crosspatch says:
    July 28, 2011 at 9:58 am
    Ok, polar bears eat seals. Seals are mammals. Seals will often use holes in the ice to surface and rest and the polar bears search out those holes and eat them when they surface. Now if there is no ice, the seals will be kept closer to land as they must still surface to rest. The polar bears will have no need to hunt across miles of ice to find seals because all of the seals will be within easy reach of the beach.”

    Watched a BBC documentary sometime ago filming a polar bear hunting. It walked across endless stretches of ice for days looking for a seal hole. Never found one. Almost starved to death. If it had a choice I’m guessing it would have preferred no ice!

  23. Jeff Mitchell says:
    July 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

    When you say “where are the pictures of drowned polar bears”, its like suggesting to the environmental wackos that they go drown a few and take pictures to rebut the implication. …

    I’d like to see an environmental wacko try to drown a bear!

  24. Great to see my favorite corrupt ‘science,’ the thing called Conservation Biology, get some exposure. This is just the tip of an extremely rotten iceberg.

    This story was always BS because polar bears drown in any case – not unprecedented at all – and because it was so obvious they used these anecdotes to spin a huge ‘Drowning Polar Bears!!!’ Big Lie.

    Some intrepid investigator may want to look at that recent story about the cougar that allegedly traveled from South Dakota to Connecticut… all allegedly ‘proven’ by DNA evidence. These folks have been messing with DNA evidence for years – google ‘Lynxgate’ – and that story is simply impossible yet incredibly convenient for the Conservation Biology missionaries.

  25. Whaddya mean “How long before…” I’ve been getting them for years, and photoshop sales must be going up too, as multiple users of the product are in the “Bears beg for money” business!

  26. polar bears died in a storm………

    I hate to break it to these numbnuts but fish also die in a storm….
    …did they drown too

  27. The worst danger to nature is man’s desire to help it…

    …after Man douses Nature with oil.

  28. I suppose I should mention that I had come across an article written by Shellee Tyler @ Planetsave.com called, ‘Polar Bear Cubs Drowning Due To Global Warming’ a few days ago.
    I didn’t think much of it at the time. It was just your typical alarmist crap. Then after reading this post, I decided to go back and review that story again.
    Shellee wrote that a ‘new work’ was about to be published by USGS scientists.
    So I went to the USGS to see if they had in fact released or was about to release another paper on Polar Bears. Their last submitted paper on Polar Bears was in fact in January of 2011.
    I guess I failed in my investigation, because her sources was actually a article written in the Guardian.
    This study mentioned was supposedly the work of USGS researchers. Geoff York,a co-author of the study, who had worked for the USGS, is actually an employee of the WWF.
    The study was presented at the International Bear Conference and the USGS had this to say about the paper:

    Pagano is first author of a manuscript to be submitted to a wildlife journal in the near future. Co-authors include current USGS scientists George Durner and Kristin Simac, and former USGS scientists, Steven Amstrup and Geoff York. More information will be released upon publication.

    Even though Monnett isn’t an author of this new study, I wonder if the authors are willing to publish before an outcome is determined.

  29. How do they know the polar bears drowned? Maybe they died the previous winter, huddled together. The summer melted the ice under them, and the wind and current moved their bodies. That would explain several bodies being found in one area. Was the wind blowing from the ice during most of that time?

  30. Juice says:
    July 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm
    The worst danger to nature is man’s desire to help it…

    …after Man douses Nature with oil.

    I do not recall the polar bears being doused with oil. Can you point out that passage?

  31. Juice says:
    July 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm
    “The worst danger to nature is man’s desire to help it…

    …after Man douses Nature with oil.”

    Not so much as nature douses nature with oil, continuously, through seepage but somehow goes on.

  32. Kelvin Vaughan says:
    July 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

    How long before we get “Save The Polar Bears – please give a donation each month” Charaties are big business.

    that’s aleady happened! there have been tv adverisments by the WWF soliciting money “to save the polar bear!”
    now changed to saving the jaguar as the amazon rain forest is dissapearing!

  33. Drowned polar bears relate to AGW
    Like UFOs relate to belief in ET.
    Delusions become ‘evidence’ for beliefs that are impervious to reality.
    At least the UFO-nuts aren’t trying to legislate us into a dictatorship by them.

  34. It is reasonable to expect that some polar bears will die in water. It is less reasonable to expect that we would easily stumble over their corpses. Hop in a boat in Hudson Bay and travel 100 km off shore and tell me what you see. Then go out 200 km. Then go out – well you get the picture.
    I think there is more to the alleged misconduct as I can’t imagine government employees trying to discipline one of their own for a mis-interpreted photograph of 4 dead polar bears. In fact I wouldn’t blame the guy for coming to that conclusion. It was a pretty big band wagon at the time.

  35. Shooting bears with tranquilizer guns? Happens a lot.
    Almost every documentary on the plight or study of animals shows them being drugged, tagged, handled, studied, blood taken, etc, and then released. Very similar to what happens when you go to the doctor: A lot of poking and prodding going on.

  36. Tom says:
    July 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm…

    ||||||||||||||||
    I agree that the whole process looks strange – that is why I was questioning whether the issue really is this study or if there is something else the IG is looking at.

    The interviews included in the link from your post were quoted by PEER who are defending Monnett so I expect they are pulling the bits that make it look most damming (this is a legal process after all – selecting evidence to convince people of your case). I am wary of accepting anything based on only one side of the story, however damming it seems at first glance. While I expect many people are happy to jump on bureaucratic incompetence, I still can’t see why two criminal investigators were dispatched to Alaska to ask about polar bear counts.

  37. How do they know the polar bears drowned? Maybe they died the previous winter, huddled together. The summer melted the ice under them, and the wind and current moved their bodies. That would explain several bodies being found in one area. Was the wind blowing from the ice during most of that time?
    The Minerals Management Service does an aerial survey of the Beaufort Sea every year looking for bowhead whales, during which they also count other animals they spotted, including polar bears. The airplane flew in a series of straight lines (transects) that covered a portion of the search area, from which they can extrapolate to the whole (assuming the search area and transects are properly designed). For this paper they only used survey data for flights made in September (the Beaufort sea is generally ice free from mid-May to November). The four dead bears were found in different locations, on four separate survey flights, from 1-6 days after a major storm had moved through the area. The authors assumed that the bears drowned in the storm, but since this was an aerial survey, the bodies were not recovered. 2004 was the only year (1987-2004) in which dead bears were spotted.

    [HTML formatting corrected.Square italic brackets don't work here, please use angle brackets with just an i for italics. ~dbs, mod.]

  38. And of course, everyone remembers the scene from the 2005 Al Gore science fiction movie An Inconvenient Truth,

    I believe the book came out in 2006, and the movie in 2007.

  39. It is reasonable to expect that some polar bears will die in water. It is less reasonable to expect that we would easily stumble over their corpses. Hop in a boat in Hudson Bay and travel 100 km off shore and tell me what you see. Then go out 200 km. Then go out – well you get the picture.

    The Minerals Management Service does an aerial survey of the Beaufort Sea every year looking for bowhead whales, during which they also count other animals they spot, including polar bears. The airplane flies in straight lines (transects) at an altitude of 500 meters and a groundspeed of 250 km/h. Three observers watch out of bubble windows (left, right and bottom) and count whales and other animals. In 2004 the plane made 29 flights and surveyed about 20,000 km. Assuming you can see 1 km on either side of the plane, they covered 40,000 sq km, or 10% of the Beaufort sea. On four different flights they observed one dead bear each.

    Looking at the map they provide, it is possible that two sightings were the same bear, they don’t provide enough information to exclude that possibility (such as wind and current direction). So probably 3-4 dead bears spotted in 2004.

  40. Who knows best the location of the bears? Who would want to know these locations and why?
    Possible some one sold the info on the bears to someone who did not act correct when they used the info to locate the bears.

  41. Four polar bears? If they were bristlecone pines you could extrapolate an entire global temperature! (Sarc off).

    More importantly, it is worth noting that PEER were involved in the Canadian Lynx scandal a few years back – where the claim was that the fur was planted to try to test whether the lab could distinguish it.

  42. The same dependancies that polar bears have for sea ice exist for the arctic people of the world. Please support their inclusion on the endangered species list.

    /sigh

  43. No photo’s of the bears? When I was young there was a newspaper in Australia called “The Truth”. It was anything but. One day it had headline that said “World War II Bomber Found On Moon”. The story said that a B17 had been found blah blah blah. No picture, nothing but words. Two weeks later there was a new headline “Moon Bomber Disappears”. This time there was a photo of some lunar craters with a big X and a caption “Where the bomber was”. I fully expect a picture of the ocean with a caption “Where the bears were”.

  44. Don’t killer whales eat polar bears when they can get them? What are the chances (in reality) that those four dead bodies would not get eaten rapidly?

  45. “Ruch said that criminal investigators with no scientific background are handling Monnett’s case, even though it is an administrative matter.”

    I smell a whistle blower at work. There may or may not be a there there, but it certainly seems Monnett is in something of a pickle at the moment. If a criminal charge is ever made, it would be the gift that keeps on giving.

    However, that is not yet the case.

    Relax, time is on our side.

  46. There was only one real fact that could ever be deduced from the floating bear observations. That was that the bear’s were too fat to drown despite stormy seas. Yet the mechanism they implied was the bears were starving and desperately swimming out to sea looking for food, something that is never observed either. Bears are often shot by whalers during this time as the bears are attracted to the whale carcasses. So I always assumed that it was most likely that the bears were shot but not reported so as not to impact the communities quotas.

    The Inuits call it the “myth of the drowning bears” but was cited frequently in USGS papers to validate the “Threatened” listing and peer reviewed papers. But it was not just the 4 bears, they extrapolated from the area of the whale surveys to the whole Beaufort Sea and figured “over ~ 25 bears ” probably drowned( I forget the exact number). So some research papers then argued that as many as ~25 bears The same researchers that dismiss the Inuit reports of more bears than ever, then make their arguments by totally unsubstantiated speculative anecdotal evidence. It is a scam and another black-eye for science.

    The coincidental tranquilizing accidents makes much sense. See the linked video for another researcher caused accident caught on video

    http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/polar-bear-rescue/plm0gyo?rel=msn&cpkey=c44871ca-72da-491c-96e6-db5d940519f1%7Cuntamed%20uncut%7Cmsn%7C%7C

  47. I followed the link on the tranked bears who drowned. They were subtracted from the season’s hunting quota.

    Which raises the question of why a “threatened” species is still hunted. Where are the Sea Shepherds when you really need them? :-)

  48. Hu McCulloch says:
    July 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    And of course, everyone remembers the scene from the 2005 Al Gore science fiction movie An Inconvenient Truth,
    I believe the book came out in 2006, and the movie in 2007

    IMDB says the movie was released in 2006 –

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0497116/

    First user reviews of the movie (after Sundance preview) were in April of 2006.

  49. Tom says:July 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    1. The Arctic ice pack varies from 18,000,000 to 4,000,000 sq km. The Beaufort Sea is about 470,000 sq km, or about 10% of the minimum ice extent and less than 3% of the Arctic.
    2. In 2006 the USGS estimated 1,500 polar bears in the Beaufort Sea, or one for every 300 sq km.
    3. I am willing to bet that the Minerals Management Service operates out of a single facility and so much of their 20,000 km is essentially flying over the same area as they ferry in and out of their base of operations.
    4. If they fly 250 km/hr they flew a total of 80 hrs. Assuming they restricted their flights from May to October and 10 hour days (for flying) they were “in the air” for less than 0.5% of the time.
    5. Assuming they flew between May and October and that an average flight was five hours, they flew 16 flights or once every 11-12 days.
    6. If a polar bear dies in the water, how long will its body float before it is eaten or otherwise removed from the surface?
    7. The fact that the Minerals Management Service is out counting polar bears and not looking for minerals tells us a lot about the current state of affairs.

    Steve

  50. Richard Holle says: “Don’t killer whales eat polar bears when they can get them? What are the chances (in reality) that those four dead bodies would not get eaten rapidly?”

    Orcas inhabit the Arctic Ocean and might have got there while the bears were still perfectly healthy.

  51. @Steve from Rockwood, I’m not sure what you are getting at. Are you suggesting that more bears died in that storm, or less? Or that all the dead bears were faked?

    The MMS was doing a survey of whales, using a random transect search pattern. That means that look at a map of the area they want to search (presumably, whale habitat), lay a grid over it, and then randomly pick points on the borders of the search area and connect them with straight lines. They then fly those lines counting whales. If the pattern is set up properly, you get a random sample of the total area that will stand up to rigorous statistical analysis, and allow them to extrapolate things about the whole area from the sample.

    Why was the Federal MMS doing whale counts? Not sure. Maybe they were concerned about North Slope oil production. While counting whales, they also counted other things they saw.

    They published the bear counts for the years 1987-2004. Generally they saw between 50 and 200 polar bears per year. Which is not surprising if they surveyed 40,000 sq km and the average density was one per 300 sq km they would expect to see 100 or so per year on average. They did note in some years seeing higher than normal numbers around piles of whale bones and carcasses left by the native hunters. And of the 50-200 bears they spotted per year, a few each year were spotted swimming rather than on dry land or an ice floe. So spotting swimming bears from an airplane is not unusual. In 2004 they spotted more swimming bears than usual, including 4 that were dead, immediately after a big storm.

    The first conclusion of the study seems to be sound — polar bears, thought to be good swimmers, can die in a storm. The other conclusions and speculations have multiple problems, which I’ve already mentioned above (I could go into further detail but it doesn’t seem warranted).

    Monnett and Gleason were not the observers on the planes, they were in charge of the overall survey. Likely the surveys were actually conducted by grad students or interns or lower level employees. Maybe you could get 3 or four people to cooperate in a hoax and all keep it quiet for 6 years. I tend to doubt it, but I tend to be a trusting person.

  52. @Steve from Rockwood,

    The surveys were generally conducted in between mid-August and mid-October. Without researching it, I assume that corresponds to the migration pattern of the bowhead whales. For the bear numbers reported in the paper, they only counted September flights for each year. Because they can’t fly in bad weather, the surveys did not always start and stop on the same days and they did not fly the same number of sorties or distances from year to year. In 2004 they made 29 flights covering about 25,000 km.

  53. @Steve from Rockwood,

    One other thing from your comment. The distance reported in the paper (25,000 km for 2004) includes the flight from their base to the first transect, the transect itself, the distance from the end of the first transect to the start of the next one, etc., and finally the distance back to the base. But they only counted whales (and bears) when on the survey transect. So the distance measured by the plan over-estimates the total survey area by some amount. But they are not surveying the same patch of ocean over and over again.

  54. What are the chances of four bears slipping into the water after being tranquilized, all found in a single season or by a single investigator, or both? They would have to be shot intentionally, very close to the water. Even if the bears had an instinct to head for water when scared, which seems quite unlikely, the investigator(s) should quickly learn not to shoot them near water. So it seems either the story was fabricated (no shootings, no drownings–don’t know–haven’t seen the show–never even heard about it till now) or the drownings were set up intentionally. Maybe the scientists don’t like the idea of other scientists sacrificing polar bears and lying about it to save them.

    Or they don’t like getting caught. (See kiddies, who is the bears’ real enemy, GW or the scientists who kill them and blame it on GW?) –AGF

  55. I’d hold off on any speculation about this investigation folks. It doesn’t take much to start something like this and, from my personal experience, the assumption is that the person being investigated is guilty and it takes a H3LL of a lot of work to change the investigators’ minds (assuming they have any).

  56. Kelvin Vaughan says:
    July 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

    How long before we get “Save The Polar Bears – please give a donation each month” Charaties are big business.

    You haven’t been paying attention. The WWF has been flogging their charity with the endangered polar bear meme for years.

  57. Juice says:
    July 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    …after Man douses Nature with oil.

    Pretty sure oil is 100% natural. More natural than anything in a grocery store that says “100% natural”. Do you know how much oil seeps up from the ocean floor all by itself?

  58. Monnett: And so if you just kind of draw a circle around the area where the dead bears were, then if we looked at 10 percent of the area, um, it’s reasonable to think that if they’re distributed randomly, which we don’t have any reason not to think they are, that we would see 10 percent of what’s there.
    ————————————-
    They wouldn’t be evenly distributed if storms are associated with the deaths, they would be restricted to the storm path.

    Also these events may be relatively regular though infrequent and geographically isolated. If such, these plane trips, infrequent themselves and only having a 1 in 10 chance of finding the dead bears when they are out there, pose a very inaccurate means of determining historical bear fatality rates.

    In short, the storm has to be there over the sea, the aquatic bear population has to be there at the storm location, and the plane trip covering 10 percent of the regions area has to find them. No wonder they didn’t see dead bears before.

  59. Are you guys reading this? The whale watcher has concluded storms are bigger now due to a warmer climate.

    CHARLES MONNETT: – [It‟s just hard to] stay on the surface when you’ve got steep breaking waves. Um, the reason that there are bigger storms, um, there are just bigger storms now, because there’s more energy in the environment, because the water is warmer, and the water is exposed to the atmosphere. And you‟ve got all that conduction and everything, you know, how hurricanes work.

    Sure it was peer reviewed!

    ERIC MAY: [peer reviewed] By whom?
    CHARLES MONNETT: Uh, well, it was, it was reviewed here. Um, Lisa Rotterman, my wife, who is a, you know, Ph.D. ecologist, um, reviewed it and, and, you know, she took the first cut.

    (and more, to be fair)

  60. The question is, would you drown a polar bear if you made 1mil out of it? I’m sure all of us here would…

  61. My interpretation of the interview of Monnett by the two Department of the Interior investigators:

    http://www.peer.org/docs/doi/7_28_11_Monnett-IG_interview_transcript.pdf

    suggests that the Federal MMS is unhappy with how the paper has been picked up by the CAGW crowd, how that effects what they want to do in the region, and that they are looking for a scapegoat. It is a worthwhile read.

    The interview seems to spend an awful amount of time focussing on how the survival rate of polar bears in storms, which was more or less a throw away comment in the discussion part of the paper, was calculated. As a biologist, I’ve read many notes like this one, where there isn’t much data, but something unusual has been observed. No one, unless they had a political axe to grind, would take the 25% survival rate with anything more than a pinch of salt. It was just a bit of speculation to make the reader ponder.

    However, unfortunately for Monnett it seems the little throwaway note has been sucked into the political maelstrom and he is going to pay for it. Reading the interview, it looks like they are trying to stitch up an honest bloke.

    What is important in this case, in my opinion, is that it shows just how much a scientist has to toe the line of his funders. In this case, it is someone who is expressing a pro-AGW position who is getting beat up by his masters. What Monnett has in common with the skeptics is that he had a message that wasn’t aligned with the aims of his financial backers, and hence deserves quite a bit of sympathy from skeptics.

    Science and big money do not mix.

  62. To get suspended, you have to do something pretty bad. I’m going to speculate and say that the bears were shot …… then made to look like they had drowned.

  63. [David wrote "Are you guys reading this? ..."]

    Your post made me look it up, and it is a RIOT!!!!……

    ERIC MAY: Um, and I‟ll, I‟ll quote to make this – you indicate that “No polar” – and I‟ll quote, “No polar bear carcasses, carcasses were observed, and no dead and floating polar bears were observed during aerial surveys conducted in September 1987 through 2003.”

    CHARLES MONNETT: That‟s what the database told us, yeah.

    ERIC MAY: Okay. What database are you talking about?

    CHARLES MONNETT: Well, the BWASP database.

    ERIC MAY: Okay.

    CHARLES MONNETT: The, the big one that, that, um, did not have a way to record the dead ones in it, but we checked with, um, (inaudible/mixed voices).

    ERIC MAY: Okay, because in, in, uh, referencing the BWASP studies –

    CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

    ERIC MAY: – in the studies that we reviewed, I‟ll quote, um, “1987 to 2003, BWASP aerial survey reports state, „Sightings of dead marine mammals were not included in summary analysis or maps.‟”

    CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah. ERIC MAY: So how could you make the statement that no dead polar bears were observed during 1987 to 2- –

    CHARLES MONNETT: Because we talked to the people that had flown the flights, and they would remember whether they had seen any dead polar bears.

    ERIC MAY: So you talked to each individual from ‟87 to –

    CHARLES MONNETT: No, no, we talked to the team leaders. We talked to Steve Treacy and, and –

    ERIC MAY: All the way back to 1987?……..

    http://www.peer.org/docs/doi/7_28_11_Monnett-IG_interview_transcript.pdf

  64. Pardon me for stating the obvious. Any given polar bear has to die somewhere. If an adult PB happens to die on land, that’s where we should expect to find the corpse–provided that we can get there before the scavengers have had their fill. On the other hand, if a PB suffers a heart attack while doing its morning aerobic water workout, we’d expect the sharks to quickly dispose of the remains. What is the ratio of land deaths to water deaths for PBs, and why, and is that ratio changing over time? I haven’t the foggiest idea, and neither does anyone else.

    Given the small sample size for floating PB corpses, we cannot reasonably draw strong conclusions from that fact, aside from the obvious one that PBs–unlike hockey sticks–are not immortal.

  65. @Tom,
    My point was the likelihood that more than 4 dead bears could be found in Arctic waters – it seems like a very small number for an animal that hunts in water for food – but that actually locating dead polar bears in the water is a needle-in-haystack problem even with a fixed-wing aircraft.
    I think photographing 4 dead polar bears is entirely reasonable.
    Attributing their death to global warming is beyond speculative and into the idiotic if the guy calls himself a scientist.
    It would be interesting to know what else these guys do (Mineral Services).

  66. “Where are all the drowned polar bears?” – Here: “Knut (German pronunciation: [ˈknuːt] ) (5 December 2006 – 19 March 2011) was a polar bear who was born in captivity at the Berlin Zoological Garden. …On 19 March 2011, Knut died unexpectedly at the age of four. His death was caused by drowning after he collapsed into his enclosure’s pool while suffering from encephalitis.” [The notorious wiki]. If Al Gore declares that it is so, his folks comply. Ursus talibanus, anyone?

  67. 28 July: MSNBC: Scientist in hot water over polar bears, Al Gore
    A federal scientist under internal investigation — apparently over a study on polar bear deaths that was cited by Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth” — went on the offensive Thursday, filing a complaint alleging persecution from within the Interior Department…
    The complaint alleges that Interior Department “officials have actively persecuted Dr. Monnett, acted on hearsay and rumors, gratuitously tarnished his reputation and substantially disrupted important scientific research.”
    It specifically alleges that his boss, ocean agency Director Michael Bromwich, and investigator Eric May committed scientific and scholarly misconduct. …
    Story: Arctic also sees heat wave, on course for record ice melt …
    Story: Fewer polar bear births tied to less sea ice …
    The agency did not immediately reply to a request for comment from msnbc.com.

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43933715/ns/us_news-environment/

    19 July: Alaska Dispatch: Tony Hopfinger: Lost interview: Alaska scientist described how he discovered ‘drowned polar bears’
    Here are some selected transcripts from my July 2007 interview with Dr. Monnet…
    Did the polar bears really drown?
    .You can never say for sure — a scientist can never say for sure anything. But it seems pretty obvious. …

    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/lost-interview-alaska-scientist-described-how-he-discovered-drowned-polar-bears

    28 July: NYT: FELICITY BARRINGER: Report on Dead Polar Bears Gets a Biologist Suspended As word of the sightings spread, images of drowned polar bears became a staple for activists who warned that global warming and the retreat of sea ice were threatening the bears’ survival.
    Dr. Monnett did not respond to a voicemail message left at his home near Anchorage. Efforts to reach Dr. Gleason were also unsuccessful. .,,
    Dr. Monnett said that information had been relayed by a predecessor in his position, Steve Treacy.
    In an interview, Dr. Treacy said that when he was in charge of the surveys on Alaska’s North Slope, “We recorded all the polar bears we saw. If there were dead ones, we would have noted that as such.” He added, “I don’t remember anything in the way of dead polar bears.”
    He said of Dr. Monnett: “I think his integrity is good. What I’ve seen of it, he’s an honest guy who would tend to treat fairly with the data.”…
    In the interview transcript, Dr. Monnett is quoted as saying that “we got blasted, you know, really hard, by the agency” after the reports of the drowned bears circulated.
    At another point, he said of his superiors, “They don’t want any impediment to, you know, what they view as their mission, which is to, you know, drill wells up there” and “put areas into production.”
    A version of this article appeared in print on July 29, 2011, on page A18 of the New York edition with the headline: Report on Dead Polar Bears Gets a Biologist Suspended..

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/science/earth/29polar.html?_r=1

  68. “But, truth be told, we have been withholding a piece of information this whole time—there were reports of drowning polar bears in 2007, and they were directly attributable to human activities. But they didn’t drown because of global warming, instead, they drowned because they had first been shot with tranquilizer darts and then slipped into the sea and were unable to be recovered.”

    Sounds a lot like when the rapid spread of Chytridiomycosis in frog populations was traced to scientists studying the rapid spread of Chytridiomycosis in frog populations.

    Oopsie!

  69. There are many documented incidents of whalers killing bears in defense of life and property.
    One reports that 9 bears were killed at a whale flensing (blubber stripping) site in one day. Bears swim all the time and there are storms all the time and there had been no reports of them drowning. The dubious argument to support the contention that the bears drowned far from shore suggested that this was unusual because the bears were starving and desperately swimming out to pack ice. Bears in places like the Hudson Bay where the ice always melts by July, the bears come ashore. They do not swim out to the middle of the bay.

    The main bear prey in the Arctic is the ringed seal because it gives birth and nurses pups on fast-ice between April and May. The ~6 week nursing time is the only time where the seals spend less than 80% of their time out of the water, and thus easiest for polar bears to access. That unusually long ice-bound period, is the time the bears gorge themselves on ringed seal pups, often tripling and quadrupling their weight. Females and cubs time their emergence from their dens to coincide with ringed seal births. By July the ringed seals are no longer readily available and radio-telemetry studies show the seals become mostly pelagic, swimming 1000’s of km from their fast ice birthing sites. The melting ice opens up the shore for different ice intolerant species like the Harbor Seals and migrating Harp Seals. Analysis of fat tissue show that polar bears consume up to 15% Harbor Seals in the Hudson Bay, and that consumption happens most likely in the ice free seasons.

    Spotted from a survey plane, there was no examination to determine cause of death. There was no way to determine place of death. So interpretation is a matter of who can tell the best story. However desperately swimming for food in September is the very most unlikely scenario, as September is not the season for hunting the long departed ringed seals. Alternative foods sources in the minimum ice periods are on land. So bears either go into a hibernation-like state or hunt for alternative prey from land such as the Harbor Seals ad walrus. From the last report by the Polar Bear Specialist Group, on Wrangel Island in September the bears wait on the shore for migrating walrus to come ashore at traditional haul outs areas. They aggregate their before the walrus arrive. They feast on weak walrus to supplement their ringed seal diet. No ice needed. Even when scared into the water by researchers, the bears returned to shore. The ones that leave Wrangel island do so only after the ice returns. All published accounts of polar bear life histories suggest “drowning while desperately looking for food” is the least parsimonious scenario of all and only makes sense from a global warming hysteria point of view.

    The floating bears had to be fat enough to be floating, and they put on most of their fat by June. For that time of year when whaling is peaked, bears are commonly shot at flensing sitesin self defense. The storm simply swept them to sea. Base on all documented evidence that is a much more likely scenario.

  70. Yeah – as dave38 points out – we in the UK have been getting WWF commercials for years inviting us to send £3 to ‘save the polar bears…’
    Let me guess how that works then – a WWF guy sidles up to a polar bear and says: Here’s three quid – go and get yourself a nice fish supper…’
    Anyway – back to the general point – how long, I wonder, before the politicians admit that they’ve been taken for the idiots they are, and dump all the ‘green’ taxes..? No – never, of course – because they’ll simply ‘rebrand’ the taxes as something else, because they are just TOO good to give up on…

  71. “Billy Liar says:
    July 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm
    Jeff Mitchell says:
    July 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

    When you say “where are the pictures of drowned polar bears”, its like suggesting to the environmental wackos that they go drown a few and take pictures to rebut the implication. …

    I’d like to see an environmental wacko try to drown a bear!”

    The environmental wackos don’t need to drown bears. They just talk to them till they do it themselves.
    If polar bears could operate firearms, they would have found them on the ice.

  72. let us deflect any blame for the polar bear incident from Al Gore and his lies about global warming and consider who ‘owns’ WWF… Those “mineral” folks flying around up there are looking for good locations for oil wells for Al Gore and his Bush buddies, betcha… They have the same amt of conscience…another scapegoat gets the axe.

  73. The simple mindedness of so much CAGW climatology is the reason that laypersons can make incisive comments and critiques of superior quality. This appears to be true of more than climatololgists these days. “Arctic biologists”, too are easy targets. It escapes Monnet and colleagues that the polar bear in warmer southern Hudsons Bay do entirely without ice for 4 or 5 months each year. The nearest ice to them is a couple of thousand kilometers away during the summer. This is what happens when you take, as a given, the CAGW hypothesis. It forces the scientist to fit square data into round holes that are easy pickings for even the unsophisticated amateur.

  74. Dan,

    Thanks for adding that new nugget of information. But why would you state that it’s “odd” that it wasn’t mentioned, when it is new info?

    For the record, I mentioned days ago that I didn’t think this had anything to do with polar bears. Where have you been?

  75. Smokey,
    New in what way, I posted my comment on 1 Aug, this thread was started on 28 Jul and 28 Jul is also the date of the clarification piece I posted the link for, so it was in fact about as old as the original story.

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