Inspector general’s transcript of drowned polar bear researcher being grilled

This fellow, Charles Monnett has been suspended pending an investigation into his polar bear research. You may recall that he single-handedly inspired Al Gore (not that it takes much) into producing this piece of science fiction for his even larger fiction, An Inconvenient Truth. Gore cited Monnett’s research.

Only one problem now, his “research” is collapsing, and as you read the transcript, you’ll see why even the simplest of queries get Monnett flustered. Yet this was peer reviewed published science.

Never Yet Melted writes:

The Inspector General interview transcript (excerpts) had me, for instance, in stitches.

Disclosing as it does the level of rigor of methodology being employed:

ERIC MAY: Well, actually, since you‟re bringing that up, 18 and, and I‟m a little confused of how many dead or drowned polar bears you did observe, because in the manuscript, you indicate three, and in the poster presentation –

CHARLES MONNETT: No.

ERIC MAY: – you mentioned four.

CHARLES MONNETT: No, now you‟re confusing the, um, the estimator with the, uh, the sightings. There were four drowned bears seen.

ERIC MAY: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: Three of which were on transects.

ERIC MAY: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: And so for the purpose of that little ratio estimator, we only looked at what we were seeing on transects, because that‟s a – you know, we couldn‟t be very rigorous, but the least we could do is look at the random transects. And so we based, uh, our extrapolation to only bears on transects, because we‟re saying that the transects, the, the swaths we flew, represented I think it was 11 percent of the entire habitat that, you know, that could have had dead polar bears in it.

ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].

CHARLES MONNETT: And, um, so by limiting it to the transect bears, then, you know, we could do that ratio estimator and say three is to, um, uh, “x” as, uh, 11 is to 100. I mean, it‟s that kind of thing. You, you‟ve, you‟re nodding like you understand.

LYNN GIBSON: Yeah.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, that‟s pretty simple, isn‟t confusing. I mean, it‟s –

ERIC MAY: So, so, so you observed four dead polar bears during MMS –

CHARLES MONNETT: One of which was not on transect.

ERIC MAY: Okay, so that‟s what –

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah. …

ERIC MAY: So I highlighted under here, and we‟ve got the four, and that‟s what –

CHARLES MONNETT: Oh, here you go. Yeah. Well, I‟m pretty confident that it was four. I mean, that‟s, um – uh, look, look what is in the paper. I mean, it should have the – probably the same information that, you know –

ERIC MAY: Well, it –

CHARLES MONNETT: There‟s a table in there, but does it – it has the dead ones in it, doesn‟t it?

ERIC MAY: Well, and I think you, you explain, so this is the portion where you‟re talking about the 25 percent survival rate.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: And you‟re talking about four swimming bears and three drowned or dead polar bears.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah. Yeah, but that‟s because those are on transects.

ERIC MAY: On part of this 11 percent?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, it says that right in here and, 11 and –

ERIC MAY: Right, right, but that‟s what you‟re talking about. …

How to do things with statistics.

3 CHARLES MONNETT: The paragraph in the left-hand column. Um, God, I‟ve got people here who are second-guessing my calculations. Um, well, um, we flew transects. That was our basic methodology. They were partially randomized. And we, uh, we looked at a, a map. I think we probably used GIS to do it, and we said that our survey area, if you bound it, is so big.

ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].

CHARLES MONNETT: And then we made some assumptions about our swath width, and I think we assumed we could see a, a bear out to a kilometer with any reliability, which mean you‟re looking down like that. And, uh, sometimes you might see more; sometimes you wouldn‟t. Sometimes you can‟t see a whale out that far, so it depends on the water conditions. And so we just said that, um, if you add up, we had 34 north/south transects provide 11 percent coverage of the 630 kilometer-wide study area, and that was just to get our ratio of coverage. And then the area we really were concerned about was just the area where the bears were, so we could ignore the area at that point and just go with a ratio, because we assume that‟s the same, because these things are pretty, uh, they‟re pretty standardized. They were designed to be standardized, so in each bloc – have you seen the blocs? Have you seen our design? It‟s in here.

ERIC MAY: I took – yeah, in, in your study.

CHARLES MONNETT: It‟s right at the beginning here. Um, every map in here has got it on it. Um, there, those are our blocs. And so, uh, this one would have four pairs. This one would have probably three pairs. I don‟t know, there will be later maps. Um, and there, you can see the flights. Uh, well, yeah, they‟re in here. Um, so we‟re flying these transects, and we‟re assuming we can see a certain percentage or a certain, certain distance. Therefore, we can total up the length and the width and come up with an area. And so we calculated that
our coverage was 11 percent, plus or minus a little bit.

ERIC MAY: Okay. And I believe you rounded up, too. It was 10.8 and you rounded up to 11?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah. Well, that‟s a nothing. Um, yeah, 10.8. And then we said, um, four dead – four swimming polar bears were encountered on these transects, in addition to three.

ERIC MAY: Three dead polar bears?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, three dead.

ERIC MAY: Right.

CHARLES MONNETT: But the four swimming were a week earlier.

ERIC MAY: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: And, um, then we said if they accurately reflect 11 percent of the bears present so, in other words, they‟re just distributed randomly, so we looked at 11 percent of the area.

ERIC MAY: In that transect?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: Right.

CHARLES MONNETT: In, in our, in our area there, um –

ERIC MAY: Right.

CHARLES MONNETT: – and, therefore, we should have seen 11 percent of the bears. Then you just invert that, and you come up with, um, nine times as many. So that‟s where you get the 27, nine times three.

ERIC MAY: Where does the nine come from?

CHARLES MONNETT: Uh, well 11 percent is one-ninth of 100 percent. Nine times 11 is 99 percent. Is that, is that clear? …

LYNN GIBSON: I think what he‟s saying is since there‟s four swimming and three dead, that makes –

ERIC MAY: And three dead.

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, you don‟t count them all together. That doesn‟t have anything to do. You can‟t – that doesn‟t even –

LYNN GIBSON: So you‟re not saying that the seven represent 16 11 percent of the population.

CHARLES MONNETT: They‟re different events.

ERIC MAY: Well, that‟s what you try – we‟re trying to –

LYNN GIBSON: You‟re talking about they‟re separate?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, they‟re different events.

ERIC MAY: Right, so explain to us how –

CHARLES MONNETT: On one day – well, let me draw. I, I, I don‟t have confidence that you‟re understanding me here, so let me (inaudible/mixed voices). …

CHARLES MONNETT: It makes me feel more professorial if I write it on the blackboard.

LYNN GIBSON: Okay, go ahead.

CHARLES MONNETT: No, that‟s okay.

ERIC MAY: (Inaudible/mixed voices)

CHARLES MONNETT: If you could see it, I wanted you to see it was why I was going to do it there.

ERIC MAY: (Inaudible/mixed voices)

LYNN GIBSON: We‟re your students today.

CHARLES MONNETT: Uh, well, this has transects on it, doesn‟t it, guys?

LYNN GIBSON: Yes, it does.

CHARLES MONNETT: I mean, look right here. So here‟s our coastline right here, this red thing.

ERIC MAY: Okay, yep.

CHARLES MONNETT: And here‟s our, um, our study area. We go out to whatever it was. I don‟t remember, 70, 71 degrees or something like that. And, um, around each of these things, we survey a tenth of the distance between, basically.

ERIC MAY: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: And so if you draw these lines here, and this is – you‟re just going to have to pretend like I did this for all of them. And you calculate the area in here.

LYNN GIBSON: Um-hm [yes].

CHARLES MONNETT: And you total them all, and then you calculate the whole area. This – the area inside here was 11 percent.

LYNN GIBSON: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: Okay? Now what we said is that we saw three, three bears in 11 percent.

ERIC MAY: Three dead bears?

CHARLES MONNETT: Three dead, yeah, dead –

ERIC MAY: Right.

CHARLES MONNETT: – in the 11 percent of the habitat. And so you could set up a, um, a ratio here, three is to “x” 25 equals 11 over 100, right? And so you end up with – you can cross-multiply. You know algebra?

ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes], yeah.

CHARLES MONNETT: You can cross-multiply. Okay, so you end up with 300 equals 11x, and I am sure that that‟s – equals 27, okay?

ERIC MAY: Right, right, got that.

CHARLES MONNETT: And if you stick four in here instead, you end up with –

ERIC MAY: Thirty-six.

CHARLES MONNETT: – whatever that number was, yeah, 36. Now, um, those numbers aren‟t related, except we made the further
assumption, which is implicit to the analysis. Seems obvious to me. We went out there one week, and we saw four swimming on the transect, which we estimated could have been as many as 36.

LYNN GIBSON: Correct.

CHARLES MONNETT: If we correct for the area. And we went out there later, a week to two weeks later, and then we saw the dead ones, the three dead ones in the same area, which could have been 27. And then we said let‟s make the further assumption that – and this, this isn‟t in the paper, but it‟s implicit to this aument –

ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].

CHARLES MONNETT: – that right after we saw these bears swimming, this storm came in and caught them offshore, all right? And so if, um, if you assume that the, the, the 36 all were exposed to the storm, and then we went back and we saw tentially 27 of them, that gives you your 25 percent survival rate. Now that‟s, um, statistically, um, irrelevant. I mean, it, it‟s not statistical. It‟s just an argument. It‟s for, it‟s for the sake of discussion. See, right here, “Discussion.”

ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].

CHARLES MONNETT: That‟s what you do in discussions is you throw things out, um, for people to think about. And so what we said is, look, uh, we saw four. We saw a whole bunch swimming, but if you want to compare them, then let‟s do this little ratio estimator and correct for the percentage of the area surveyed. And just doing that, then there might have been as many as 27 bears out there that were dead. There might have been as many as 36, plus or minus. There could have been 50. I don‟t know. But the way we were posing it was that it‟s serious, because it‟s not just four. It‟s probably a lot more. And then we said that with the further assumption, you know, that the bears were exposed or, you know, the ones we‟re measuring later that are carcasses out there, it looks like a lot of them, you know, didn‟t survive, so – but it‟s, it‟s discussion, guys. I mean, it‟s not in the results. …

The reliability of the calculations used and the scrupulous oversight of the peer-review process.

ERIC MAY: So combining the three dead polar bears and the four alive bears is a mistake?

CHARLES MONNETT: No, it‟s not a mistake. It‟s just not a, a, a real, uh, rigorous analysis. And a whole bunch of peer reviewers and a journal, you know –

ERIC MAY: Did they go through – I mean, did they do the calculations as you just did with us?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I assume they did. That‟s their purpose.

ERIC MAY: Okay. Right, and that‟s – again, that‟s why I was asking peer review.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: Did they do that with that particular section of your manuscript?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I don‟t, I don‟t remember anybody doing the calculations but, um, uh, there weren‟t any huge objections. There weren‟t a – let‟s put it this way, there weren‟t sufficient objections for the journal editor to ask us to take it out.

ERIC MAY: Right. Well, let me, let me read you what – the four bears – and representing what we were just talking about, this section.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: So just let me, let me read what I have here, okay?

CHARLES MONNETT: Okay.

ERIC MAY: “If four swimming bears, if four bears represent 11 percent of the population of bears swimming before the storm,” –

CHARLES MONNETT: Um-hm [yes].

ERIC MAY: – okay? “Then 36 bears were likely swimming.”

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, maybe, I mean –

ERIC MAY: Okay, but I mean –

CHARLES MONNETT: No, we didn‟t say “likely.” I think we said “possibly,” or did you say “likely” or –?

ERIC MAY: Well, or this – again, as you just stated earlier, this is Discussion, so –

CHARLES MONNETT: I‟d be surprised if we said “likely,” but mostly we were saying “possibly.”

ERIC MAY: Okay, so let me – let, let me continue, so –

CHARLES MONNETT: Okay.

ERIC MAY: – so you have that. “If three bears represent 11 percent of the population of bears that may have died” –

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: – right?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: I think those are your words in your manu- – “may have died.”

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: “ – as a result of this storm, then 27 bears were likely drowned.” Okay, so far, so good?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, if I used “likely.” I don‟t know if I did. …

And, then, the interview really gets humorous. “I mean, the storm had nothing to do with it!”

ERIC MAY: Isn‟t that stretching it a bit, though, saying – making that conclusion that no dead polar bears were observed during these years, and then, all of a sudden, 2003, you guys are – you observe dead polar bears?

CHARLES MONNETT: I don‟t think so.

ERIC MAY: Why?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, if you ask me, I would know, I mean, what I saw, I mean, if I saw something weird like that.

ERIC MAY: So as a scientist, if another scientist made these conclusions based on the information, you would be okay with that as a peer reviewer?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, yeah, I would, I mean, if, you know, if they told me that. They keep notes. I mean, they did this – every, everything like we do, so –.

ERIC MAY: And that‟s a, that‟s a – and it‟s a stretch, isn‟t it, though, to make that statement?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, no, I didn‟t think so. I thought that was perfectly reasonable to ask them, since it isn‟t something – remember, the reason it‟s not in the database is because it, it doesn‟t happen. You know, you don‟t see it, so – and there‟s a reason, uh, why it‟s changed, which is in, in, in a lot of the early years, there was a lot of ice out there, and there just weren‟t opportunities for there to be dead bears. You know, bears don‟t drown when there‟s ice all over the place.

ERIC MAY: Well, so let me elaborate what I just asked you. Wouldn‟t you, wouldn‟t you notate that as a – like maybe a – you know, your statement kind of is stretching it, and you would say, “Well, based on my conversations with individuals during these surveys, although they weren‟t supposed to look for dead polar bears, they did not” – I mean, because you‟re making a very broad statement by, by that, saying that no dead polar bears were observed during those years. …

ERIC MAY: Well, and based on, based on what I just said, in terms of the, you know, your statement, would it not make more sense, too, because there was a major windstorm during this period of time, which you do mention, but you didn‟t talk too much about that as in 2004 regarding these dead polar bears.

CHARLES MONNETT: What do you mean (inaudible/mixed voices)?

ERIC MAY: Well, you‟re saying that from 1987 to 2003, there was no dead polar bears.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: Did you discuss the storm conditions during those period, period of years as well? I mean, you‟re extrapolating a lot to make such, you know, scientific findings.

CHARLES MONNETT: You mean, the storms are increasing up there?

ERIC MAY: No, you‟re saying that there was no dead polar bears during those years.

CHARLES MONNETT: Certainly.

ERIC MAY: Yet in 2004, you, you observed four dead polar bears.

CHARLES MONNETT: Right.

ERIC MAY: Yet you didn‟t really elaborate on why you believe those dead polar bears died or drowned.

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, yeah, we did actually. I don‟t know why you‟re saying that. We‟ve got an extensive section in the paper talking about the, uh, you know, the wind speeds and out there, and we looked into that very hard. And, and we, um, we‟re very, very careful in this manuscript to, um, write it so that it, uh, reflects uncertainty, uncertainty about the extent of what happened, the uncertainty of why it happened, the uncertainty of what it meant in a, in a broader context.

We knew three things: That we had seen a bunch of swimming bears and that that was unusual in the context of the whole data stream. We knew we saw some dead bears, which had not been reported before and that we had been assured, you know, was new to the study. And we saw, uh – we experienced, we were there, a, a, uh, high wind event, which was actually not a, a very severe high – and it wasn‟t, you know, one of the really severe high wind events, but it was enough to shut us down, which meant that there were some pretty good waves breaking, you know, out at sea, which, um, is pretty easy to imagine would be, uh, challenging, you know, for a bear swimming. And a good bit of that, there‟s a whole section in the paper that talks about the windstorm.

ERIC MAY: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: Um, right here, there‟s a map, you know, of the wind speeds and all that and, uh, you know, it shows that it just fits right in there. Um –

ERIC MAY: When I was relating to th

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I don‟t know, we, we had complete confidence in it. Um, people worked extensively with, with the database and, and, uh, so we were totally comfortable with the swimming ones, um, which, you know, were rarely seen. And it‟s a small thing I think to assume that a, um – you know, the person managing the survey would know and – ….

And here comes Jeff Ruch of PEER to the rescue.

1 JEFF RUCH: This is Jeff Ruch. We‟ve been at this for an hour and 45 minutes, and I‟m curious, are we going to get to the allegations of scientific misconduct or, uh, have – is that what we‟ve been doing?

LYNN GIBSON: Actually, a lot of the questions that we‟ve been discussing relate to the allegations.

ERIC MAY: Right.

JEFF RUCH: Um, but, uh, Agent May indicated to, um, Paul that he was going to lay out what the allegations are, and we haven‟t heard them yet, or perhaps we don‟t understand them from this line of questioning.

ERIC MAY: Well, the scientif- – well, scientific misconduct, basically, uh, wrong numbers, uh, miscalculations, uh –

JEFF RUCH: Wrong numbers and calculations?

ERIC MAY: Well, what we‟ve been discussing for the last hour.

JEFF RUCH: So this is it?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, that‟s not scientific misconduct anyway. If anything, it‟s sloppy. I mean, that‟s not – I mean, I mean, the level of criticism that they seem to have leveled here, scientific misconduct, uh, suggests that we did something deliberately to deceive or to, to change it. Um, I sure don‟t see any indication of that in what you‟re asking me about.

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Never Yet Melted continues:

What is downright scary is the way these bozos think that dressing up wildly extravagant theories resting on baseless extrapolations of insignificant anecdotal-level observations with jargon and a few formulae in order to reach preconceived and intensely desired conclusions is perfectly legitimate scientific activity.

If anybody wonders how junk science can become established science and the accepted basis for fabulously costly governmental programs and polices, just look at the work of Dr. Charles Monnett and at PEER.

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205 thoughts on “Inspector general’s transcript of drowned polar bear researcher being grilled

  1. Anthony, you say this was “peer-reviewed” and wonder why it’s such a terrible piece of “science”. Only only has to look at the level his “peers” operated at–his level, to see it didn’t take much to get trash like this published. The surprise is that it got the traction it did (but as you said, Gore isn’t a scientist), and an even bigger surprise it is being investigated now.

    From this I’d say the climate for climate research has changed dramatically–perhaps even to a tipping point. The current climate seems to be pessimism of past pronouncements–perhaps even a modicum of skepticism!

  2. there is word the polar bears seen floating dead in the water were actually shot with a tranquilizer, they ran to the water where they drowned.

  3. Please tell me this transcript is a joke? It can’t be for real, if it is then climate science should be toast, kids can do better science.

  4. “,i>This fellow, Charles Monnett has been suspended pending an investigation into his polar bear research. You may recall that he single-handedly fooled Al Gore (not that it takes much) into producing this piece of science fiction for his even larger fiction, An Inconvenient Truth. Gore cited Monnett’s research.”

    Suspended pending and investigation, but found guilty by A. Watts.

    REPLY: Mr. Hearnden, please read the transcript before commenting, and don’t put words in my mouth I did not say or write. – Anthony

  5. They have never been introduced to science 101: the scientific method.

    They look at a tiny part of the Arctic, for a tiny bit of time and think it is acceptable to extrapolate and assume the total Polar bear activity from that tiny shred of information?

    I look out of my office window and count 10 people walk past on the street below. I extrapolate from this that the population of the town is 100,000 people.

    An hour later (when the shops are closed) I count 2 in the same amount of time and extrapolate that climate change has killed 80,000 people in my town.

  6. Reading this exchange, I’m left with the sense of my insurance company going to a local junkyard and counting the number of wrecked cars in a given area, and using that to extrapolate how many accidents there are in the city…and from that developing my insurance rates.

    It looks all too much like Monnett was gathering data that was pre-cherry picked.

  7. peer review agrees with global warming – peer review is the gold standard

    peer review disagrees with global warming – who are the morons that let this through

  8. Let me guess the mental age of the participants from the form of the questions and answers – 5. Any other estimates?

  9. What was a PEER representative doing at this proceeding? Does PEER provide legal services to its members? Is Monnett a member now or at the time of his paper?

  10. Anecdotal. Undocumented. Apparently they hadn’t been keeping a count of sightings of dead polar bears, so the previous years’ numbers prior to those 3 (or was it 4?) dead bears were hearsay. Lying with statistics.

  11. Anthony said, “If anybody wonders how junk science can become established science and the accepted basis for fabulously costly governmental programs and polices…”

    Hey! I resent that remark. How do you think I continue receiving sacrifices at my cave entrance? The Sun sets when I go to bed. Regularly. Therefore I make the Sun go to bed. When it rises I get up. Therefore I make the Sun rise. I absolutely depend on post-normal Gaia worshiping scientists for my bread and butter and you are trying to shut me down!

    REPLY:
    Actually, that was from the blog “Never yet melted”, I’ve added a delineator to make that clear – Anthony

  12. A comma or semicolon might clarify the headline: Inspector general’s transcript of drowned polar bear; researcher being grilled. I was looking for the drowned researcher. I probably need more coffee.

  13. The sad part is that the general public will never know about this or understand what it means. They have been taught to believe “scientists” and don’t know how many “scientists” are not really worth the name.

    This should be read on the nightly newscasts in all the Western countries.

  14. and how much are these guys paid to “do” climate research? Kindergarten groups could do better!

  15. He got all excited about actually seeing an event that have been foretold in the witches’ cauldron that he rushed to press. In his passion and personal involvement with his subject, and in the environment in which he was warmly praised for speaking out against injustice and the delinquency of the Rich, Old White Male, he “jumped the gun”.

    Like Conrad Black who did bad things for his own benefit but with the blessings of his Directors, Chuck Monnett has found himself done in by a surfeit of good friends. He is a man of his times and a man who needs no enemies.

  16. Wow! Just WOW! A “scientist” counts critters from an airplane in a bounded area. States that bears in the bounded study area are immortal for 10 years. Then when global warming and big budget study funding are important bears suddenly start drowning like rats after a little storm squal.

    Here is some speculation: Al Gore needs some heart wrenching material for a movie. There happens to be some bleeding heart environmentalist with an airplane and publishing pipelines available. Follow the laundered money.

  17. How did they know they drowned? Couldn’t the cause of death been something else? Just because a body is found in the water doesn’t mean it drowned.

  18. “If anything it’s sloppy”. Where do you start when the author of the peer reviewed paper makes that comment?
    And how does he get 11% of the area flown? He’s adding up all their flights during the summer!
    470,000 sq km divided by 2 km wide lines (1 km on either side) = 235,000 l-km.
    In one 6 hr flight at 250 km/hr they would fly about 1,500 l-km or 0.3% of the area.
    If their survey area is 650 km long they would fly once to the end and back again.
    Luckily the polar bears stop swimming at night, otherwise they might not get counted.
    Global warming peer review at its finest.
    But I’m a little surprised they’re having an inquisition on this. Why?
    I do know where Barack Obama could save a quick $50 million.

  19. I wonder how many other “sensational” “peer reviewed” papers would read like this under real peer review? The transcript was hard to read because of the stumbling of Charles Monnett. You would think he only had a few minutes to read the paper before being grilled.

  20. MikeinAppalachia

    Not only is Jeff Ruch a lawyer but according to the transcript there were two other lawyers from PEER present. They must clearly be worried.

  21. Ken Hall says:
    July 29, 2011 at 9:27 am

    They have never been introduced to science 101: the scientific method.

    They look at a tiny part of the Arctic, for a tiny bit of time and think it is acceptable to extrapolate and assume the total Polar bear activity from that tiny shred of information?

    I look out of my office window and count 10 people walk past on the street below. I extrapolate from this that the population of the town is 100,000 people.

    An hour later (when the shops are closed) I count 2 in the same amount of time and extrapolate that climate change has killed 80,000 people in my town.

    =============================================================

    Exactly Ken, this is ridiculous. It’s one single observation that they turned into a statistic.

  22. Did I read that right? Did he say his own work was sloppy? And by extrapolation (hey, I’m just doing what the researcher did with his observation) the peer review process would have also been sloppy for not catching it? If anything, this is enough to make a reputable journal decide to remove the article from publication.

  23. I found this exchange and conclusion very amusing:

    ERIC MAY: Well, you‟re saying that from 1987 to 2003, there was no dead polar bears.

    CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

    ERIC MAY: Did you discuss the storm conditions during those period, period of years as well? I mean, you‟re extrapolating a lot to make such, you know, scientific findings.

    CHARLES MONNETT: You mean, the storms are increasing up there?

    ERIC MAY: No, you‟re saying that there was no dead polar bears during those years.

    CHARLES MONNETT: Certainly.

  24. Charles Monnett say “There could have been 50. I don‟t know. But the way we were posing it was that it‟s serious, because it‟s not just four. It‟s probably a lot more.”

    How the hell am I going to understand this, IF, Monnet does not understand it himself?

    Quzz: How many “assumptions” did Chales Monnett make?
    Answer: It might have been four or was it five, anyway it was probably a lot more!

    And I am having to pay carbon tax because of those jokers!

  25. metryq says: “Maybe we could apply the Drake equation to figure out how many polar bears drowned?”

    Perfect comment, metryq! Sums it up nicely.

  26. I take the stumbling as lying. If he were confident in his paper and confident in his results – and more importantly – confident in his uncertainties (honestly this is important), then he would speak with clarity and sincerity.

    Yet, I’ve not met a liberal that can be alone in a quiet spot, comfortable in their own mind. They will have the radio on, cell phone stuck to their head, iPad going, something is distracting them from their own thoughts. This guy, Monnett seems like one of those folks.

    Interestingly enough, Charles Monet, was the name of the index case of Ebola Hemmoragic Fever in the book, “The Hot Zone”, by Richard Preston (1995)

  27. I’ve been thinking lately about the universal power of the default leftist mindset of absolute egalitarianism. Everything is identical, nothing has its own innate characteristics, all behavior is Brownian motion until it’s pushed by a Social Force.

    Same thing at work here.

    Polar bears are extremely intelligent mammals, and nothing they do is randomly distributed. When they’re in one location, it’s because that location has something they want. Seals to eat, a girl bear in heat.

    Monnett automatically and leftishly assumed they would behave like air molecules, and couldn’t see the problem with his assumption.

  28. This is stunningly unbelievable!

    And I agree that it is strange that it is being dealt with now with such apparent rigor.

    Real science methodology being applied the climatescience? I truly hope so.

  29. And we saw, uh – we experienced, we were there, a, a, uh, high wind event, which was actually not a, a very severe high – and it wasn’t, you know, one of the really severe high wind events, but it was enough to shut us down, which meant that there were some pretty good waves breaking, you know, out at sea, which, um, is pretty easy to imagine would be, uh, challenging, you know, for a bear swimming.

    Polar Bears are evolving quickly, just in the last 2000 years or so their dentition has changed, presumably due to their diet rich in seals.

    Events like this drowning could be simply part of the selection process, perhaps bears will evolve nose flaps or something else to block wave splashes in their noses. (For example, IIRC, camels have protection to help keep dust out of their noses.)

  30. Problem 1: Surveys from 1987-2003 did not specifically record dead wildlife (i.e., there was no column labeled “dead bears” with a zero in it.) Rather, there was no notation about dead bears one way or the other, so in 2004 when they spotted 4 dead bears, they asked the guy who ran the survey in the past, whether or not they ever saw dead bears.

    Problem 2: The transect method is a reasonable way to estimate the whole from the sample, but they got their samples wrong. The number of swimming bears was not 4 in 11% of the survey area but was actually 4 in the percentage of the survey area that they flew in that one week before the storm. Likewise, there were not 3 dead bears in 11% of the survey area, but 4 dead bears in the percentage of area surveyed in the week after the storm. We don’t know what that was.

    Problem 3: The survey procedure was designed to count whales. It is only a scientifically acceptable survey procedure to count bears if the bears occupy the same habitat and range and have the same behavior as the whales.

    Problem 4: They don’t know why the bears died. Possibly they drowned in storm while swimming far out at sea. But possibly they were bashed against a rock by a rogue wave 50 feet from shore and were carried out to sea by winds and currents. They could even have been killed by native hunters who were then forced to abandon their kills to seek shelter from the storm.

    Problem 5: Whoever peer-reviewed this article missed all these details. Even though Polar Research is a pretty low-ranked journal (impact factor 1.5) these problems are pretty obvious.

  31. The error bars on their estimate of drowned bears probably exceed the total population of same.

  32. The drowning polar bear story hinges on the supposition that bears were starving and swimming out to pack ice (Which are documented to have very low seal numbers). However the research during that time showed very little evidence of this, and in fact revealed the females who hibernate and fast for about 8 months actually improved their body condition.

    Desperate for a causal link to sea ice changes Regehr in 2006 wrote: “In contrast, several recently observed mortalities were directly related to sea ice retreat, or appeared related to changes in food availability that may be associated with sea ice retreat. In autumn of 2004, four polar bears were observed to have drowned while attempting to swim between shore and the distant pack ice.” Nice subtle twist. Bear were only observed floating if at all. Now compare his and the USGS’ interpretations to their actually observed status.

    BCI is the Body Condtion Index. Body condition accounts for the ratio of weight to length and thus is the best metric for the health of the bear. Reports of difference in weight could be confounded by different numbers of younger bears versus older bears. Also when reporting a bears condition the time of year must be taken into account. Recaptured females have been observed at ~99 kg in November and then increase in weight to over ~400 kg by the next summer after gorging on ringed seal pups in the spring. The spring ice of March through May has barely changed. However in several papers all looking at the same data the condition of the bears has been unchanged. Thwarted by bears that looked healthy, they started to emphasize skull width as the major alarming statistic. Skulls size notoriously changes with location. Likewise the drowning bears became important “evidence” where little else existed.

    From: USGS report to support the listing of polar bears titled “ Polar Bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea III: Stature, Mass, and Cub Recruitment in Relationship to Time and Sea Ice Extent Between 1982 and 2006” By Karyn D. Rode1, Steven C. Amstrup2, and Eric V. Regehr 2007

    They report the following conditions of the bears during the time of the drowning bears:

    “There was no trend in mass of adult females during the study, but mean BCI of females increased over time (P 0.1 for all tests).”

    ” Ice was not related to the length, skull size, mass or BCI of subadult females (P > 0.1 for all tests). In contrast, the mean mass, BCI, length, and skull size of subadult males increased with increasing ice.).”

    “While there was no relationship between the mass and skull size of yearlings and ice, COY mass and skull size were positively related to ice”

    They needed drowning bears to make the endangered species argument. Another black-eye for science!

  33. …..And to think this bloke managed 50 million dollars worth of research projects. Unbelievable.

    So…… How much of that 50 million in funding does this sorry excuse for a scientist have to pay back ?

    I hope he realizes that the Gore’s of the world get to walk away scott free and rich as sin from any dealings they do…. It’s little people like him that are left holding the can…. and deservedly so.

    I think the term for people like him is, ” Useful idiot.”

  34. Why can’t these people be fired? Ghostbusters LIED TO ME!

    Dr Ray Stantz: Hey, Dean Yeager! Are you moving us to a better office on campus?
    Dean Yeager: No, you’re being moved off campus. The Board of Regents has decided to terminate your grant. You are to vacate these premises immediately.
    Dr Ray Stantz: What?
    Dr. Peter Venkman: This is preposterous. I demand an explanation.
    Dean Yeager: This university will no longer continue any funding for any of your group’s activities.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: But the kids love us!
    Dean Yeager: Doctor… Venkman. The purpose of science is to serve mankind. You seem to regard science as some kind of dodge… or hustle. Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable! You are a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman!
    Dr. Peter Venkman: I see.
    Dean Yeager: And you have no place in this department, or this university.

  35. But on the other hand, I’m not sure this kind of sloppiness qualifies as “misconduct” sufficient to suspend his job, which includes overseeing other research programs. I’d really want to see evidence that his oversight of other researchers was sloppy or that his unit had published additional bad research papers. He’s not really responsible for other people over-interpreting his paper.

    One curious fact, though; after Gore and the greens got all excited about his paper, he says he stopped listing himself as an author on other work from his unit, to keep a low profile and avoid controversy. I don’t know too many scientists who would give up publication credit to avoid controversy. (Indeed, most warmers love controversial claims as long as they are in favor of more warming.) I wonder if there is something else going on. PEER claims he is being targeted because his research gets in the way of exploiting arctic resources, but that does not ring true today. The Obama administration is not exactly a friend to the oil industry.

  36. Kill AGW with mockery, ridicule, irony, and satire.

    Full script.

    Are videos available?

    “Who’s on First”

    “Abbott: Strange as it may seem, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names.

    Costello: Funny names?

    Abbott: Nicknames, nicknames. Now, on the St. Louis team we have Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third–

    Costello: That’s what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.

    Abbott: I’m telling you. Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third–

    Costello: You know the fellows’ names?

    Abbott: Yes.

    Costello: Well, then who’s playing first?

    Abbott: Yes.

    Costello: I mean the fellow’s name on first base.

    Abbott: Who.”

    http://www.psu.edu/dept/inart10_110/inart10/whos.html

  37. “The polar bear is the only bear considered to be a marine mammal. Why?”

    http://www.athropolis.com/arctic-facts/fact-polar-bear-swim.htm

    1. They’re great swimmers. They’ve been clocked as fast as 6 miles / 10 km per hour, and have been known to swim more than 60 miles / 100 km without a rest.

    2. Their massive forepaws are partially webbed, and propel them through the water dog-paddle style. The hind feet and legs are used as rudders.

    3. A thick layer of blubber, 3-4 inches/7-10 cm thick, not only keeps the bear warm in icy cold water, but adds to its bouyancy as well.

    4. The bear’s fur protects it like a diving-suit. It easily shakes free of water after a swim, and ice doesn’t stick to it.

    5. They have excellent underwater vision.

    6. The bear’s nostrils close when under water. (If you’ve ever had water up your nose, you’ll know what an advantage that is.)

  38. And if there were no dead polar bears observed, the conclusion would have been ‘Polar Bears Don’t Die’.
    Works for me! /s

  39. …What Eric May should have said….
    “I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink, And every time I do, I fear that I’ve somehow been infected by it.” – Agent Smith, ‘The Matrix’.-

  40. (rant mode on)
    The really annoying thing is that this piece of shoddy science was taken as accurate by non-scientists and has been used to leverage vast amounts of taxes off ordinary people at a time when they can least afford it. Mostly to fund the egos of more, so called, climate scientists and their political and media friends.
    (rant mode off)

  41. The highly vaunted peer review system at work. What surprises me though is that the Obama administration is doing the investigation. Is this the beginning of a U-turn in policy?

  42. I dunno. I can’t comment on the work, and I’ve only read the highlights above so far, but I can quite sympathise with the guy being nervous. He’s being grilled by the Inspector General, he knows someone is after his job, if not his skin, and he knows if he screws up this interview he’s going to be use as a scapegoat for all manner of ills. Of course he’ll be wetting himself whether he thinks he work was good or not, so would most people. That’s enough to make many people tongue tied.

    Must admit, reading the highlights, I felt really sorry for the chap.

  43. What pulley bear was on the first ice flow? Yes. What? Yes.

    I thought you said Watts’. Watts’ pulley bear. Yes. OK.

    Was he alive?

    Watts? No the pulley bear. He was not moving, so I assume he was dead.

    Dead? Well, he could have been sleeping.

  44. This level of rigor would not pass the smell test as a dissertation. To be sure, sloppiness, even sloppiness that is misleading, is not considered misconduct at that level. However, the PhD committee would be wanting if they let this stand as an acceptable test and went on to award a PhD.

    On the other hand, if it passes in the world of professional science, then it should be called out as misconduct. Just as in traffic accidents. Matters little that you didn’t see the stop sign. If you ran it, you are at fault for a violation of traffic rules, especially so if your driving caused damage to others. No one will chide you for being a sloppy driver and then send you on your merry way with nothing more than an encouragement to “do better”.

    Apply the same discrimination here. Sloppy research at the professional level is damaging. Minimally, fines and possibly loss of license are in order.

  45. Well, the transcript doesn’t exactly make anybody sound brilliant. The “science” is definitely unprofessional—trying to estimate polar bear populations (live or dead) based on flying in a few linear trajectories over a much wider area. They assume: (1) They can and will see every single bear out to a distance of 1 km. (2) The “11%” trajectory areas are representative of the entire area.

    First: Polar bears dive 10 to 20 feet deep and stay submerged as long as two minutes*. MMS stated that the weather was too poor for photos, so it was probably too bad for precise observations out to 1 km. There is no mention of binoculars being used (searched via Bing). Thus assumption (1) is extremely suspect.

    Second: The results are highly sensitive to their POOMA** distance of 1 km. The extrapolation method is highly subjective and was never validated. Their “experiment” was evidently cooked up post-facto, after seeing three bears. Statistically speaking, assumption (2) is also unsubstantiated.

    * http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/polar-bear/adaptations.htm
    ** Preliminary order-of-magnitude approximation

  46. ERIC MAY: So combining the three dead polar bears and the four alive bears is a mistake?

    CHARLES MONNETT: No, it’s not a mistake. It’s just not a, a, a real, uh, rigorous analysis. And a whole bunch of peer reviewers and a journal, you know –

    ERIC MAY: Did they go through – I mean, did they do the calculations as you just did with us?

    CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I assume they did. That’s their purpose.

    I feel that Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick may be laughing hollowly at this point. Personally I wonder at the sort of science that combines 3 dead bears with four alive bears to get 4 dead bears. I particularly enjoy the idea that peer reviewers actually do any form of calculation, or even know what they are doing.

    And so to serial disbeliever in evidence, Peter Hearnden. Farmer and climate expert.

    Suspended pending and investigation, but found guilty by A. Watts.

    I don’t think Anthony has come to any conclusion – but the evidence is damning. That sort of thing shocks Farmer Hearnden but then it hasn’t proceeded from the heights of the IPCC or been sanctified by RealClimate – so maximum skepticism is applied.

  47. They had to add up all the flights to get the 11%area surveyed but you don’t sum the dead bears with the live ones to equal 7 bears total? Wouldn’t 3 out of 7 equal a 57% survival rate? Using 3 dead bears out of 4 live bears assumes these ARE THE SAME THREE BEARS which equals his stated 25% survival rate.

    Holy crap! Who peer reviewed this? Shouldn’t the misconduct extent to the reviewers as well?

  48. Having read this, I am speechless.
    It isn’t just the abysmal ‘science’ this bloke has done – it is the additional fact that this has passed through other ‘scientists’ hands in the oh-so-gold-standard peer review.
    On top of which, just as with the lone bristlecone pine, these ‘results’ have been amplified, unquestioned, in various other papers.

    It looks as if the label ‘peer-reviewed’ has replaced critical thought in the minds of those climate ‘scientists’ who follow The Team.

  49. Classic Inspector General Interview technique; I am amused that the peer (not capitalized on purpose /sarc off) lawyers are trying to treat it as an indictment hearing. The classic investigatory method has the interviewees play dumb and ask repetitive simple questions in a friendly manner Later all interview transcripts and notes are gone over with a fine tooth comb along with notes about how the guest acts/reacts/nuances (often videotaped for later review) during the interview. This helps the investigators to cross reference interview statements to emails/presentations/public comments/etc. From this is prepared a new interview session. The time to panic is when the unfriendly interviewees arrive, usually long after the friendly “dumb” interviewees have finished, well, except for testifying if it does reach a hearing.

    Some key notes about this interview; the inspectors are special agents conducting an investigation into scientific misconduct. While the situation is termed administrative, special agents are generally not administration review flunkies but are trained criminal investigators/officers. http://www.fws.gov/le/AboutLE/special_agents.htm. These particular special agents made a comment that this would only continue to a criminal case IF Monnett lied/lies. Funny, I am reminded about Martha Stewart’s incarceration; because she , er, misrepresented facts during the investigation.

    What I am curious about; just what “scientific misconduct” brings in the criminal investigators rather than, say, an ethics committee. Of course Monnett is nervous, I certainly would be if criminal investigators are quizzing me.

    I love that statement in Monnett’s final comments;

    “CHARLES MONNETT: They basically blew everybody out of here that showed any, uh, desire to be a conscientious scientist.”

    Everybody?

  50. …their rockers. That passage to the 1997 magnetic pole is filled with shifting floating ice chunks. Big chunks. I hope they reinforced their hull and stay awake 24/7.

  51. Of virtually anything I have ever read, from climate gate, to the garbage in Al Gore’s film, this is completely over the top.

    If the science community does not instantly and forcibly and massively repudiate the testimony and witness that they’ve used to support the polar bears are endangered by global warming, the science community is completely finished.

    I consider this the Watergate or worse climate gate of the science community. This is not the trial of some buffoon. This is about not some post on WUWT where perhaps some jokingly mention that jobless people could be given grants to generate electricity on stationary bicycles we place on street corners for these people to earn their keep.

    This is the final last straw and will be an indictment of the whole climate science community in how they handle this issue. The revelations of this testimony is indicative if any shred of integrity exists in the climate science community.

    There must be an INSTANT and FORCEFUL REPUDIATION of this evidence from the science community, or simply put they have nothing left in terms of credibility.

    This is by far the worst scandal of anything I’ve seen in any regards anything perpetrated within the science community in regards to global warming. Hide the decline, and hockey sticks pale by this breach of public trust. Preventing peer review and ignore FIO requests pales by this revelation. Brochure material from Greenpeace appearing in IPCC reports as peer review is a scandal but pales in regards to this revelation.

    This one tops them all!

    How that science community which is desperate for restoring credibility deals with this will define if that community has any hope of being salvaged. This is not even funny anymore.

    In a word – UNBELIEVABLE.

    Super Turtle

  52. When all of the peers share the same agenda, the result of the review isn’t really in question, is it?

  53. Theroretically speaking in terms of CAGW research ethics, can you partake in scientific misconduct when you are quite obviously not a scientist? Shouldn’t that be called layman misconduct?
    If the polar bears peed in the water but Monnett never saw it, can the addition of liquid into the system count towards sea level rise?
    How much did the evolution of thermal energy released by the decay of the rotting bear carcasses raise the temp in the Arctic, since it’s alledgely never happened before in recorded history?

    Inquiring minds want to know…..

  54. There is nothing wrong with speculating in a scientific article as long as you are clear that that is what you are doing. They saw three dead bears in surveying roughly 11% of the range and estimated that about 27 bears may have died over the whole range. Anyone reading the article would realize this is a very rough estimate.

    Newer work seems to be confirming Monnett’s concerns.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/19/polar-bear-cubs-drowning-ice

    Not that the science matters when ideology is at stake.

  55. So how may dead polar bears did he NOT observe due to their dead carcasses sinking or being eaten by other predators of the sea. Perhaps his guess was too low.

  56. that’s the epitome of ROBUST, eh?

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2007/09/24/bear-deaths.html

    “Pinksen said he believes the latest cases were the third and fourth deaths in the past 25 years of research, in which thousands of bears have been darted.”

    therefore, by mr monnet’s ‘reasoning’, the politicians in lab coats masquerading as scientists have slaughtered 25% of the polar bear population themselves.
    or, to be really robust, we can say um, uh, well, you know, those 2 in 2007 were killed from the 25% residuals polar bears that didn’t drown, so it’s like, um, ah, hmm, well – it’s like those 2 must have been living earlier, and part of the 25% residual ones, so we can say, robustly, that scientists killed 50% of the polar bear population altogether.

    yes – this is smelling like head on a post. this may well be the tipping point – the first domino.
    :) it’s been a long time coming. oh boy, the parade of schadenfreude.

  57. As a basis for his counts Monnett says the bears were drowned but this was a flyby. How could he determine the cause of death from an airplane or chopper flying over. For all he new each bear had a 30-06 slug in the head or a traq dart or died of starvation. This is preschool science.

  58. This is downright embarrassing. As one who has written papers as an undergrad, did or assisted
    in research as required, I cannot believe they are this lax and incompetent. I wrote a paper on DDT research that got me turned on a spit.-Along with two others involved. “Stand and deliver!’sir take your data and show it to the world and take your lumps. No wonder The Science behind AGW and climate change operates under the cover of darkness…

  59. Horrifying – no doubt Monnett and PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) are pleased that they requested that a transcript be made of that terrible inquisition. (Isn’t it a basic tenet of climatology to conduct your own closed ‘independent’ reviews)? (These guys must be beginners).

    Perhaps Gavin and RealClimate will be able to explain the mathematical rigor to a curious world.?

    And I wonder if /. will pick up on this?

  60. This is a joke right? C’mon… where is the real transcript?

    If this is what passes as science then we’re in big trouble.

  61. How did they resuscitate the drowned polar bear researcher? By now I’ll bet he wishes the post headline was true. Its kind of hard to live down science that bad.

    Now that we know it was his old study being investigated, I’m curious what brought it up now.

  62. mwhite says:
    “The polar bear is the only bear considered to be a marine mammal. Why?”

    The one thing missing from your list, in MHO the most important thing, is the fact that the guard hairs on polar bears have a hollow core. A wonderful adaptation to living in a frigid arctic environment, the dead-air spaces within each hair act the same as dressing in layers when you go out on a cold winter day. The extra added benefit is that each hollow hair traps a small amount of air that acts like a life preserver for when the bears enter the water. What makes a cork float? The same thing that makes a polar bear float… trapped air. The reason polar bears can swim hundreds of miles in open water is that they’re not just buoyant due to their blubber. They’re buoyant due to their fur coats (remember the ridiculous notion a few years ago that some well-meaning but otherwise completely uninformed environmentalist came up with to propose life preservers for polar bears? Staggers the imagination!). Polar bears don’t actually have to expend any energy to stay afloat. All their energy can go into moving through the water. When they dive, they actually have to pull themselves down under the surface. If they stop swimming, they’ll eventually come to the surface all on their own. It might be slow, due to their mass, but they’ll eventually come back up. The idea that polar bears would drown because they got tired and couldn’t keep themselves from going under is pure unadulterated bull-pucky.

    BTW, completely off topic of AGW, but a couple of little factoids that I always found fascinating about polar bears: Their fur is actually pigment free, and their skin is black. The reason they appear white is due to the way light refracts off of each hollow hair shaft (like the way snow appears white due to light refraction). For a time, biologists hypothesized that the hollow guard hairs acted like fibre-optics, transmitting the sun’s energy to the “black body” of the polar bear’s skin. Unfortunately (it would have been such a cool adaptation), the hypothesis has been since rejected by later studies.

    It was this point, in “An Inconvenient Truth” that I had my eureka moment about AGW. Up until that point, I was (head bowed in shame) a believer. But, when I realized that Gore was not telling the truth about polar bears, I started to look at the subject more closely. THEN I realized all the other “creatively licensed” facts that also didn’t hold up to scrutiny. I truly feel fortunate that I had the specialized education in the physiology of polar bears to recognize the truthfulness of Gore’s statements. If I catch you lying to me once, I will have a hard time believing anything you say, ever again.

  63. One of my all time favorites seem appropriate here –
    Principal: Mr. Madison, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    Billy Madison: Okay, a simple “wrong” would’ve done just fine.

  64. I think the real problem here for all concerned is the way the story was so widely publicised worldwide and came to be an emotional triggerpoint for the adverse environmental effects of warming in the Arctic regions.

    For the story now to turn out to have been utter rubbish based upon sheer incompetence scientifically is so very damaging that heads must roll.

    So many schoolchildren heard that story and it fed their immature minds with fevered imaginings causing unwarranted fearfulness for the future of themselves the planet and humanity at large. It amounts to child abuse of an entire generation.

    Taken with the other irresponsible and now discredited reports along the same lines the damage to science will be immeasurable as it sinks in more widely over time.

    In future years this climate science imbroglio may well become a textbook illustration of the corruption of the scientific method by politics and money aided by the weakmindedness of those engaged in publicly funded science.

  65. Tip of the rotten ‘Conservation Biology’ iceberg. It is not a real science. It is advocacy masquerading as science, and the graduates pumped out are indoctrinated missionaries. Their junk science is not limited to polar bears. They learned many of their tricks for them by sharpening their Big Lie skills on grizzly bears. Etc.

  66. Glad to see an exerpt from ‘Who’s on First’ as that’s what i kept thinking of too.

    Honestly, you couldn’t script a scene for a movie better. Anyone who doesn’t ‘get’ what the problem is with the 3 or 4 bears is either not used to scientific rigour (and perhaps could be forgiven) or is so intoxicated with belief in climate change that it has permanently affected their ability to think objectively.

    I note Gavin commenting at WS Briggs site is definately in the latter category. Usefully though, he links to the actual paper in question: http://www.peer.org/docs/doi/7_28_11_Polar_Bear_paper.pdf

  67. The openning of is abstract reads: “Abstract During aerial surveys in September 1987–2003,
    a total of 315 live polar bears were observed with 12
    (3.8%) animals in open water, defined for purposes of
    this analysis as marine waters >2 km north of the
    Alaska Beaufort Sea coastline or associated barrier islands.
    No polar bear carcasses were observed.”

    BUT they did not tract bear carcasses from 1987-2003! He just made it up!!!

    ERIC MAY: All right, um, in your manuscript, we‟ll stick to the manuscript a little bit.

    CHARLES MONNETT: Sure.
    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

  68. political correctness gone insane. Continual droughts and extreme poverty in Africa still not resolved and all the the middle class liberal greenies have to worry about is 4 dead f**ing polar bears…sorry 3.

  69. Pamela Grey, I agree with the following, “Apply the same discrimination here. Sloppy research at the professional level is damaging. Minimally, fines and possibly loss of license are in order.”

    Passing this hopeless bunch of assumptions off as science is not just misconduct, I believe it to be completely fraudulent. There was nothing scientific about it. Was he paid for this crap?

    I would not have even got away with something so shoddy as this at school. It is certainly not science. I cannot believe that this was peer reviewed.

    I guess if this team has not seen any dead polar bears since, then that would mean that either polar bears have become immortal, or they have become extinct!

  70. Ok, ready for the science? Here it is, condensed down:

    1) Fly over 11% of an area of study and count 4 swimming polar bears
    2) Repeat flyover a week later and count 3 dead polar bears
    3) Perform 3rd grade ratio mathematics and determine that in week one there were 36 swimming bears and in week two there were 27 dead bears…. ta da! 75% fatality rate!
    4) Assume that the 75% fatality rate was due to a strong storm that ran through between the two observations.
    5) Assume that the storm and ice melt were caused by global warming
    6) Therefor, in a completely serious manor, predict that 75% of swimming bears die per year due to global warming.
    7) Profit

    All this from three dead bears and one storm.

    Is this misconduct or malpractice? It certainly isn’t science.

  71. Professor Phil Jones will soon be on the blower:-

    “hullo Charles, sorry about all this palaver – there’ll be an inquiry but don’t worry Al [Gore] will get you a good brief [ legal representation] and we’ll parachute in some alarmist ‘experts’ [no bias then] – well send over Oxburgh…….. he’s alright!”

    And; “when you have to leave for ‘personal reasons’ – you’re just the type of chap we need at CRU!”

  72. Gavin can’t really be defending this paper. I thought he was smart. I refuse to believe this. I guess I better read the whole paper because I HAVE to have missed something.

  73. That doesn’t seem all that bad.

    I do wonder how someone in a plane actually differentiates a “drowned” bear from one that is merely napping, or perhaps just lazy.

    The most interesting thing is that no “drowned” bears were seen for 16 years. That suggests this was either an error or a one-off.

  74. The following excerpt really caught my attention:

    “It was over a – it was about a week later, over that period, um, and, again, you know, we had no, uh, notion that it would be a important observation. And it was sometime later I think that we started to realize that it was probably something that was worthy of, of writing a note, you know, for a journal. And we were looking for quick, clean products, um, because that‟s how we, uh, justify our work, our study, you know.”

    So right from the start this was never about actual scientific data. It was all about something that could be sensationalized to try to “justify our work” and get more study funding. Yes, that’s scientific misconduct when you suddenly start going outside the boundaries of the study to sensationalize an abnormal one-time observation to “justify” your otherwise boring -but designed to be scientifically rigorous- study. Real science is boring, and accurate results are usually only exciting to other scientists. If you find something sensational that will “justify our work” in the 24/7 news cycle, it’s not likely to be very scientifically rigorous data.

  75. Well that’s all that cleared up then.

    ERIC MAY: So you just made all this $hit up then?

    CHARLES MONNETT: Look, I, er never saw a dead bear before and neither have my friends so like er there must be something like er going on.

    And quality assurance at its best. “It’s not already in the database so it must be new” (possibly hockey stick shaped event)

  76. I found two dead bumble bees in my yard….
    ….they were 12 inches apart

    I deduce that bumble bees are extinct

    Peer review only works if the peers agree with you………..

  77. I had extensive dealings with with the US Forest Service and US Department of Fish and Wildlife concerning their listing of the listing of the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. This included both administrative and judicial proceedings involving the listed and subsequent selection and designation of critical habitats.

    Peer review as used in federal agencies for internal research papers is a far cry from the peer review applied in scientific journals. Monnett’s peer review likely to come from other biologists, perhaps a statistician, and supervisors within his bureau. Like minded people working for the same employer collaborate to achieve specific objectives.

    Monnett’s work was also published in the Journal of Polar Biology. It is unclear to me whether or not papers submitted to this journal are peer reviewed prior to acceptance. My point is that “peer review” can be an elusive term when used in federal agencies.

    I suspect, base upon my experience that Charles Monnett is a designated hit man in the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. His job is to establish barriers to limit or prevent exploration and development of oil and gas deposits in Alaska and its adjacent waters. He currently manages $50 million worth of federal research grants. You can bet with confidence that the research concerns fish, sea mammals and wildlife that maybe potential proxies to prevent discovery and extraction of oil and natural gas. That is the case with polar bears and ongoing studies of Alaskan walruses.

    Chances are that Monnett’s polar bear study may not be the only target of the investigation. His administration of $50 million in grants may also be in question. Time will tell.

  78. Several here have questioned the ‘peer review’ of the discussed paper. This probably arises from the involvement of ‘PEER’ in the interrogation.

    However, it is clear that the paper was subjected to ‘pal review’ (n.b. NOT peer review).

    And climategate proved ‘pal review’ is normal for papers pertaining to ‘climate science’.
    sarc on / So, what is the problem? sarc off/

    Richard

  79. I thought I was reading a script from Monte Python’s Flying Circus and what great satire it was, for entertainment but not so much for science.

  80. @ Grizzled Bear, July 29, 2011 at 11:44 am:

    Thanks for that information, especially that on the hypothesis of the guard hair acting like fibre optics. I remember that, and I too thought it was cool.

    So when the ‘scientists’ in that report in the guardian linked above say that ‘they can’t hold their noses when they swim’, we can confidently preclude that they are “scientists’ of the same calibre as Mr Monnett, can we not?

    A snippet in regard to the hollow guard hairs: polar bears in South American zoos looked green because algae had colonised the interior of those hairs. No link – this info goes back to times before the internet …

  81. I think maybe some are missing the point of this investigation and publicity. Several very prominent climate scientists are beginning to figure out that they will need something to say as they proceed through the long climbdown from ‘science is settled’ to ‘we were mislead by false inputs’ or whatever logic is used to justify asking for grants to study natural climate variation and maybe global cooling. There will be more like this because the leading lights can never ever admit that their reasoning was faulty.

  82. So Monnett claims he can spot a polar bear’s head at a kilometre’s distance, and can tell whether its alive or dead, and even identify the cause of death.
    The interview was [1] February. Anyone know what’s been happening since?

  83. Having read the transcript, Dr. Monnett was doing basic transect sampling (which I do as well), and his math holds up.

    This is straightforward statistical sampling. You randomly survey a portion of the sample area, carefully examine the statistics on what you see, and extrapolate to the entire area. You also provide uncertainty bounds due to your scaling. Nothing wonky, nothing unjustified, this is a basic core sampling technique.

    They covered 11% of the area one week, and saw 4 swimming bears. That was a very unusual number at the time, indicating that ~36 (+/-) were swimming over 100% of the area. It’s noteworthy that the amount of sea ice was extremely low compared to previous years. After a pretty major storm, a Beaufort Scale 6-7 storm, they did another survey of a randomly selected 11%, and saw three dead bears on the transects, as well as a 4th off transect (hence not countable as part of the survey area). Nobody had ever seen a drowned polar bear on these surveys before. That indicates 27 +/- dead bears over the 100% area, 3 * 100 / 11. This indicates ~25% survival of the swimming bears after that storm. This is basic geometry and algebra.

    The lack of dead drowned in the prior database (simple Access database, fixed fields) is due to a lack of dead bears to enter as sightings. Dr. Monnett checked with survey team leaders back to, what, 1983, none of who recalled anyone sighting a drowned bear. In this kind of survey you try to create entry columns for anything you expect to see – drowned bears were completely anomalous, and swimming bears extremely rare.

    The suspension appears to be due to the MMS (you know, the agency whose members were caught getting parties, drugs, and sex from the oil companies they were supposed to be regulating) not liking any actual results from the ‘research’ they do, which appears designed to provide no results whatsoever while giving the impression of actual science.

    Anthony, I cannot see why you’re jumping on this guy. He put out some actual science, properly qualified his results, and is now getting harassed by his corporate-friendly agency as a result. I think he deserves to be complimented for having put out actual data in the face of agency stonewalling.

  84. cagw_skeptic99 says:
    July 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Great point! I for one had not thought about it, but if true, it signals the beginning of the end. The movement is turning upon itself and now it is every reputation for itself!

  85. I admit I haven’t read the paper, but it appears the gist of it is that the observation of 3 dead polar bears and 4 swimming polar bears (observed during different weeks) led to the researcher’s conclusion the bears had a 25% survival rate.

    But, really, if the number of polar bears has been increasing, yet 75% of swimming polar bears die, the growth of polar bears populations must be tremendously higher that previously thought.

  86. C’mon Guys, we’ve known this for a long time. It’s known as the subdiscipline ‘Climate Change Statistics’.

    ‘You look twice and se no living bear, you look one more time and see no dead bear. Ergo, half the population must have died. From the process of your looking’

  87. @JosephRyan

    1) Fly over 11% of an area of study and count 4 swimming polar bears
    2) Repeat flyover a week later and count 3 dead polar bears

    Not even.

    In 2004, they made 29 flights over 6 weeks, which in total covered 11% of the area. They never state, nor did Monnett in the interview, what percentage they survived during the particular flights that occurred 1 week +/- the storm.

  88. This is the nature of most megafauna studies.

    Tiny sample sets. Big assumptions. It is just too expensive to do any other way.

    The only thing you can really authoritatively say about polar bears is that tagging them costs a lot of helicopter time and doing it wrong is a good way to get killed.

  89. I read the paper and it is really as bad as the interview suggests in my opinion.

    I don’t see how any reasonable person could draw such wide conclusions from such a narrow sample. They can’t be that (I don’t want to say “dumb”)? I can only conclude logically that this unsupported interpretation of the data was intentional.

    Gavin, if you truly believe the conclusions of this paper you are not the brilliant (but misguided) man I assumed you to be. Since I do not believe you are a fool, then what can I deduce other than you are corrupted?

    I need a drink.

  90. Is this transcript real? Or a hoax? Monnett is exhibiting the same level of reasoning as I did when I was seven years old. Now, I am just as smart, but with a little more experience and education.

  91. vboring says:
    July 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    The only thing you can really authoritatively say about polar bears is that tagging them costs a lot of helicopter time and doing it wrong is a good way to get killed.

    VBG :-) LOL

  92. Is there a map of the drowned bears locations, or for that matter the swimming bears locations in relation to the existing sea ice ?
    Were the swimming bears headed for shore or the ice ?
    This was 2004, nobody had a camera ?
    What do the polar bear experts have to say about this ? Is it unusual or what ?
    Or is this just another single data point extrapolated into a headline ?
    How does a dead polar bear float, on it’s back? side? stomach?

  93. This resoning by DR. Monnnett is typical of the circular reasoning of the AGW crowd. He presents the drownings as a new phenomena caused by global warming even though recordign of polar bear sightings didn’t start until 2004. He justified the assumption of no polar bear drownings 1987-2003 (when such data wasn’t even being recorded) by saying:

    “You know, you don’t see it, so – and there‟s a reason, uh, why it’s changed, which is in, in, in a lot of the early years, there was a lot of ice out there, and there just weren’t opportunities for there to be dead bears. You know, bears don’t drown when there’s ice all over the place.”

    Yet the original purpose of the study, stated later in the interview, was to study changes in whale migration caused by increased human activity. Whales breathe air. So if you are tracking the migration of the whales, they need to breathe so the area must be ice free. Please make up your mind DR. Monnett: Either the area was ice covered 1987-2003 and all your whale migration data is wrong since the whales can’t breathe through ice, or the area wasn’t ice covered so you are wrong to say there was no possibility of drowned bears.

  94. Latitude says:
    July 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I found two dead bumble bees in my yard….
    ….they were 12 inches apart

    I deduce that bumble bees are extinct

    No, the bees actually owe about 57 billion corpses to evolution – not quite sure how they pay that one though. More worryingly, I found a dead bird on the road and a neighbour found one in his garden – extinction level event? (just do the Algebra)

  95. Responding to KR July 29, 2011 at 1:09 :

    KR, their “statistical techniques” are juvenile …. see previous comment …

    Was he flying over Polar Bear territory? Was he flying in mating, or birthing, season? How bad is it for Polie Bears if the sea is completely iced over? How bad is that for their main prey?

    I see their article addresses none of these issues, it just makes calculations a seven year-old child can make.

  96. Where do polar bears go to die? Or do their only mean of death is by drowning (due to AGW, of course)?

    No valid conclusion without a proper autopsy.

    Do you imagine what a criminal court would look like without proper examination on causes of deaths?

    – Was there an autopsy done on the victim?
    – No.
    – Then it most be due to global warming.
    – Case dismissed. Let go of the prisoner. You are free sir.

  97. I read this earlier in the day and thought it was a spoof put out by Never Yet Melted, only to see that no, it’s actually true. Reading through it, I have a hard time believing that this guy was the major driver, he seems more of a “useful idiot” to me. I actually felt sorry for him.

    My real ire is for the people who advised him to write the paper in the first place and those who peer reviewed and published the paper subsequently. The damage they’ve caused in terms of human progress is incalculable. Shame on them. Maybe when those people are held to account, I’ll believe we’re starting to turn a corner on this debacle.

  98. I just do not understand how a one of event could be extrapolated because how could a one off event ever be regarded as having statistical significance?

  99. We can call it fluff, but it is not reasonable for his employer to retropectivily complain now as they signed off on it at the time. There is no indication of dishonesty. Therefore it is our duty to express our concern about harisment. The fact we are underwhelmed by the product does not mean we can let harisment slide. How can we help a “denier” in the same boat if we find it OK to do this to an Alarmist.

    Mike,
    The url you give points to a newpaper account of unpublished. We need to read the paper itself. Newspaper have more trouble on science details than tapping phones.

  100. And so to serial disbeliever in evidence, Peter Hearnden. Farmer and climate expert.

    Suspended pending and investigation, but found guilty by A. Watts.

    I don’t think Anthony has come to any conclusion – but the evidence is damning. That sort of thing shocks Farmer Hearnden but then it hasn’t proceeded from the heights of the IPCC or been sanctified by RealClimate – so maximum skepticism is applied.

    Hello ‘John’ ‘A’…

  101. Robert of Ottawa

    I suggest you read up on the topic then, as this is absolutely straightforward technique for making estimations.

    In the area sampled, an abnormally high number of polar bears were swimming. After a major storm (with wave conditions much higher than average due to a lower than average sea ice level) sampling indicated that 75% of the swimming bears were dead.

    I suggest you look at the technique (for example, at any of the books from http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sampling+transect&x=0&y=0#/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=transect+sampling&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Atransect+sampling) and see if you can find issues with their work. As someone with some experience in the field, it looks just fine, if a bit underfunded.

  102. For those of you criticizing the technique Dr. Monnett used, I strongly suggest going to Amazon and doing a quick search on “transect sampling”. This is a very well established technique for estimating biological populations. Or for estimating vegetation amounts, or the number of unexploded ordinances in a region, or…

  103. Paddy, above, was pointing out that Monnett is incharge of Government money. He is a Contracting Officer – note capital letters, this is a formal title – with the authority to bind the US Government in contractual agreements. There is a WHOLE raft of ways to get in trouble that way. As bad as his science is, I suspect that his problems are coming from the contractual side of the house – he’s his own CO, he’s also his own Project Manager and – apparently – his own Quality Control Officer. Lots and lots of room for incompetence to play.

  104. Ray says:
    July 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm
    Where do polar bears go to die? Or do their only mean of death is by drowning (due to AGW, of course)?
    No valid conclusion without a proper autopsy.

    I was about to ask the same question, Ray.

    “Four dead Polar bears” floating in the water does not mean “Four Polar bears that drowned” especially in the weather/wind conditions described. “Assuming” they drowned and “knowing” that they drowned is not the same thing. Did one or more of those bears die from choking or injesting something poisonous and then fall or be blown into the water? If so, this would not be a death related to weather/climate.

  105. Wow, the interview was something else. lol, Even Monnett states that his math was of 5th grade level and there is a lot of damning information about the current scientific process, but, most of it only confirms what we already know. Peer- review doesn’t mean squat and for the most part, this guy didn’t do anything that any other alarmist doesn’t do…… over reach with his assumptions.

    However, from reading the manuscript, here’s the part that has smoke and fire.

    Start at line 14 pg 40…….
    ———————————————————————————————————————-
    ERIC MAY: Do you recall seeing this? And it‟s a, it‟s a – where the (inaudible) – for you guys, it‟s a – from ESS, a manuscript review approval, like a signature. Do you recall reading those? And I believe it‟s from man- – like Cleve Cowles and –

    CHARLES MONNETT: Hold on, February 10th. Ah, no, I don‟t recall seeing this. This must be what Cleve gave to Paul when he asked him to review the, the document.
    ERIC MAY: Well, this was in, uh, Mr. Gleason‟s possession and –
    —————————————————————————————————————————

    The exchange continues after that…… apparently, this Cleve Cowles also had problems with their numbers and maths….. And, if this goes anywhere…. Here’s the funny part Monnett let loose a tell. I’ll bold the part that any investigator would perk up on…..

    CHARLES MONNETT: Hold on, February 10th. Ah, no, I don‟t recall seeing this.

    That’s classic. I’m betting he has seen it.

    To those whining that we didn’t see any malfeasance and therefore should leave him alone, sorry, we’re paying this guy. He has a doctorate for heaven’s sake!! If this passes as the type of science he does, then he needs to move on and get off of our payroll.

    Incompetence is just as dangerous as malfeasance.

  106. Sorry, but having read the PDF, and it might seem to be all fun and games to the kangaroo court here, but if I had been Monnett, I’d have bowed out at line page 4/ line25. No scientific training? Criminal investigation of a scientist, about that scientist’s work, with no science training? Really?

  107. To those insisting on defending this…… paper.

    Yes, transect sampling is a very valid method for population estimates. But one of the things expected from the scientists we employ is a modicum of proper judgment.

    This transecting of the area had apparently been occurring since the 80s. One day, in a spot they apparently covered weekly, they found floating dead polar bears. This had never been encountered before, nor since, apparently. Tell me, in this instance, would it be proper to apply this method?

    Were there any reported in any other sector? Did we see any the next day? No? What of the day prior? No? The storm, while grounding the flights wasn’t particularly harsh either. Had we seen polar bear carcasses floating around after other storms? No? Then it is likely what was witnessed was not representative of the bear population! In other words, it wasn’t a sampling of anything.

    Use your heads.

  108. KR – It seems you are not understanding that alhtough the original whale study did appear to use a well designed transect study to gather data, the polar bear die off claims did not. the polar bear claims were arrived at by looking at two individual data points, cherry picked to produce spectacular results, from among all the data collected during the transects.

    In a proper transect study, as your earlier posts describe; you sample a representative portion of the total, analyze the changes over time, and then extrapolate those results to the total area. The whole idea is that a large number of data points over a large area will “average out” all the differences due to isolated causes associated with time and location and that what changes remain to be discovered are more universal in nature. That’s not what the dead polar bear conclusion did. It took one “4 live bear sighting” from all the myriad transect data, then compared it to a “3 dead bear sighting” at different place, time, and set of conditions. They used these numbers and their own preconceptions to come up with the final conclusion of only a 25% survival rate due to AGW.

    A proper transect study would have recorded the live bear vs. dead bear numbers over the total area covered by the transects and then extrapolated to get larger numbers for the total area covered. And the analysis would have looked at how these numbers changed over time as AGW worsened if that’s what they suspected to be the cause. Instead they took a single dead bear data point and expanded it to represent the total area. Next they took a seperate single live bear data point and expanded it to represent the total area. And they just assumed that each individual data point was representative of the whole. That’s how a grab sample works, not how a transect study works. A grab sample study only works when the parameter being studied is homogenous, which bear deaths are not. They just assumed that the differences in their grab samples were caused by AGW. That’s called anecdotal evidence, not science.

  109. KR:

    Many thanks for your informative post at July 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm which says:

    “For those of you criticizing the technique Dr. Monnett used, I strongly suggest going to Amazon and doing a quick search on “transect sampling”. This is a very well established technique for estimating biological populations. Or for estimating vegetation amounts, or the number of unexploded ordinances in a region, or…”

    I always wondered why estimates of biological populations, extinctions, etc. are bollocks.
    I now know because you have explained it. Thankyou.

    Richard

  110. Another bit of less than competence of the technological type is shown where every instance of an apostrophe has been replaced by a space and a double left quote. Who prepared this electronic version of the transcript? Why didn’t that person so a simple find and replace to fix it? It makes it very difficult to read.

  111. He says 4 dead….then 3 dead……then 4 swimming……

    I’d just like to know how far apart they really were…chances are this was just a local event, something to do with the storm

  112. KR says:
    July 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm
    For those of you criticizing the technique Dr. Monnett used, I strongly suggest going to Amazon and doing a quick search on “transect sampling”. This is a very well established technique for estimating biological populations. Or for estimating vegetation amounts, or the number of unexploded ordinances in a region, or…
    =============
    Get used to it, the scientists will be “thrown under the bus” by the bureaucrats.

  113. gpp says:
    July 29, 2011 at 9:20 am

    “there is word the polar bears seen floating dead in the water were actually shot with a tranquilizer, they ran to the water where they drowned.”

    __________________________________________________________

    Well? We’re waiting…
    You aren’t just going to toss that grenade and run off, are you?

  114. Richard S Courtney

    An interesting comment, Richard. It is ever more clear to me that you do not work in a scientific field. Or, for that matter, with statistics. And that your statements regarding scientific techniques should be weighted accordingly.

    Donald Shockley

    This study properly used transect sampling to determine the statistics at that time point, but did not represent a temporal evolution except for the fact that no drowned bears had been sighted prior to that point.. The temporal evolution was that drowned bears were completely new!

    Keep in mind that the surveys did see swimming bears from time to time (standard record point), and also analyzed sea ice levels (I noted in the transcript that they tallied 20 different kinds of ice, a real challenge). The 4 swimming bears represented a large count according to their sampling, and the 3 drowned bears a complete anomaly. NOTE: I don’t think those bears would have drowned without the Beaufort 6-7 storm (land levels, ocean levels likely higher), and the lack of sea ice that made wave conditions that much worse. But given that no drowned bears had been seen before in these surveys, reporting it is actually an interesting bit of science. Which Monnett qualified quite properly in his paper/posters.

    I’m waiting for the IG to actually announce charges (if they decide to do so) – this really seems like a researcher being punished for stating scientific results that don’t agree with agency aims. Keep in mind that the MMS was noted for receiving, how do I put this, hookers and blow, from the energy companies. And that Monnett received a ton of agency pressure over this…

  115. If they flew over an area and saw 4 bears swimming and then after a storm they fly over the same area and find 3 bears floating dead in the water should they not report that?

    Furthermore are they not allowed to raise the obvious point that they only flew over 11% of the area and therefore the total number of bears dead is likely much more than just 3 (It’s severely unlikely they flew over the only 11% area with dead polar bears isn’t it?)?

    The working and reasoning is stated clearly in paper with all the conditions and caveats. This kind of stuff has to be reported. You can’t just sweep this stuff under the rug and pretend polar bears are immune to storms based on faith.

  116. Anthony“You may recall that he single-handedly inspired Al Gore (not that it takes much) into producing this piece of science fiction for his even larger fiction, An Inconvenient Truth. Gore cited Monnett’s research.”

    This seems like an overstatement to me. Gore talked about a lot of data in his movie; this was a fairly minor note about visible threats to a specific species. “Single-handedly” seems to be quite an exaggeration…

  117. Luther Wu says:
    July 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    gpp says:
    July 29, 2011 at 9:20 am

    “there is word the polar bears seen floating dead in the water were actually shot with a tranquilizer, they ran to the water where they drowned.”

    __________________________________________________________

    Well? We’re waiting…
    You aren’t just going to toss that grenade and run off, are you?
    ===========================================================
    I think he’s conflating two separate events. But, yes, actual drowning of polar bears are caused by man…….. once again we see the researchers causing harm to the study objects. They killed off their share of penguins down south, too, by banding their wings. They are really a very stupid lot.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2007/09/24/bear-deaths.html

  118. What’s scary to me is how unclear and subject to misinterpretation the whole interview is. I get the sense that the investigators are completely ignorant of what a transect is or how biological population surveys are done.

    One investigator is so dense it has to be explained to him that the reciprocal of 11% is 9.

  119. There is nothing wrong with speculating in a scientific article as long as you are clear that that is what you are doing. They saw three dead bears in surveying roughly 11% of the range and estimated that about 27 bears may have died over the whole range. Anyone reading the article would realize this is a very rough estimate.

    Newer work seems to be confirming Monnett’s concerns.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/19/polar-bear-cubs-drowning-ice

    Not that the science matters when ideology is at stake.
    ————————————————————————————————————————

    This demonstrates the huge problem of misdirection that lies in “science” nowadays that some commenters here have touched upon already.

    For arguments sake, let’s say this study is an accurate representation of polar bear deaths. The problem is that it doesn’t matter because the premise that it is a new trend cannot be supported because there is no long term study on polar bear drownings. Arguing over how many bears drown is irrelevant especially when framed in the context of alarmism.

    This is the same argument that is at the crux of the AGW scare in which it is assumed the earth is heating at an unprecedented rate on a geological timescale which there is no real way to know.

    You can’t make a blanket statement like “Polar bears are dying because of global warming” and then go around counting bear carcasses with the assumption that the more you find the more right you are.

    This is the oldest trick in the book. Make a huge claim, provide some numbers, then argue about how bad the problem really is plus or minus some figures. Everyone starts arguing about a decimal point in the extrapolation and the original claim becomes valid, just in need of “better proof”.

    “He’s not wrong because someone else found dead polar bears!”

    Ridiculous!

  120. Another question I forgot to ask about the post headline…

    Were they grilling the drowned polar bear researcher over charcoal, hickory or some other scented wood?

    And are they members of the Happy Cannibal’s Society? “For people of good taste”

  121. Warm and cozy in the wildlife cabin, Charles Monnett is surveying the bay through his binoculors.

    Charles Monnett: Quick Mr Gleeson, grab your binoculors come have a look at this.
    JS Gleeson: What is it Mr Monnett?
    CM: Is that a polar bear out on the bay?
    JSM: Why yes Mr Monnett, it is a polar bear. But it seems to be floating face down.
    CM: I think it has drowned Mr Gleeson
    JSM: Poor unfortunate bear
    CM: Unfortunate for the bear, but fortunate for us Mr Gleeson
    JSM: Good thinking Mr Monnett
    CM: How many bears did we see this excursion Mr Gleeson?
    JSM: Errrr ummm none Mr Monnett
    CM: Yes yes I know but how many did the locals say they saw?
    JSM: 25 locals said they saw a bear, that could just be one bear

    Monnett gives Gleeson a death stare

    JSM: Or it could be 25 bears Mr Monnett
    CM: Exactly Mr Gleeson
    JSM: So 4% of the bears have drowned?
    CM: Possibly Mr Gleeson, but take a closer look, is that a female bear?
    JSM: Hard to say Mr Monnett
    CM: Yes but statistically there is a 50% chance that that is a female bear Mr Gleeson
    JSM: Yes that’s true
    CM: And almost all mature female bears have cubs this time of year
    JSM: Yeeesss?
    CM: So this momma bear has lost her 2 cubs as well Mr Gleeson
    JSM: Darn you’re good Mr Monnett
    CM: That would make it 11.11% of polar bears drowned due to Global Warming Mr Gleeson
    JSM: Not just good, you’re amazing Mr Monnett

    Meanwhile, on a party charter boat 95 miles away…

    Party Goer 1: Hey it’s time, where is the stripper with the polar bear suit?
    Party goer 2: last I saw he was leaning over the rail throwing up.

  122. KR, Did you read the transcript? He admitted that there wasn’t even a spot in the database for polar bear observations until the last few years when he decided to add it because he already thought AGW was having an effect. The long term study was about whales, not polar bears. The interview itself showed how little was behind the “no drowned polar bears before” claim. If it’s not in the data, you can’t substatiate the claim. That’s the difference between anectdotal evidence and actual scientific data. And did you notice when pressed about who he actually talked to about the prior recollections before adding the polar bear entry in the data collection, he doesn’t name multiple earlier observers. Instead, he just says one prior manager. And the manager is only seeing the old data reports that don’t include any listings for polar bears since the study was about whales.

    It’s apparent that the polar bear drowning sensationalism was simple anectdotal “evidence” and not factual scientific data. The reason such anectdotes can’t be relied on for scientific conclusions is observational bias. Something could exist for years before you happen to notice it. Just because you finally took notice doesn’t mean it’s abnormal. But that’s what all anectdotal evidence assumes. And once you have noticed something, and drawn conclusions about why it’s happening, it’s natural to tend to remember those instances that reinforce your conclusions and forget those that don’t support your ideas. That’s why it’s so important to use recorded data and not memory. And the interview bears this out. Polar bears had been sighted throughout the course of the study. But nobody had any interest in recording data until they saw something they thought could be tied to AGW. That’s fine and dandy as a reason to add more data collection for future studies, but you can’t rewrite history and assume “no data = never happened” for past data and draw any reasonable conclusion from that. And that’s exactly what Monnett’s interview shows he has done. Anectdotal evidence from a scientist is still anectdotal. The science comes from rigourous data collection, analysis, and reproducability of results. The polar bear drowning story has none of these.

    Also notice at the very end when he is discussing the results of the original whale study. He again shows the typical AGW bias. Even though the study shows no change in whale migrations as a result of increased human activity associated with oil exploration and development, he still thinks it’s happening. But it’s just that the effects of AGW are distorting the whale behavior so he wanted to change the data, throwing out the non-migration data until he gets the results he thinks should be happening. He seems rather upset that he was being forced to stick to the original study parameters instead of being able to tweak them to produce the results he wants.

  123. KR says:
    July 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Having read the transcript, Dr. Monnett was doing basic transect sampling (which I do as well), and his math holds up.

    =====

    With all due respect KR, I know a little (not a lot) about statistical process control and I think you have this wrong. With such small samples, you would need to be very careful because your ‘bears per whatever’ numbers have huge uncertainties.

    At the very least, shouldn’t one adjust for residence time? How long does the average swimming polar bear stay in the water? And how long does a dead polar bear’s corpse remain on the surface and recognizable? I’d guess that dead bears have a much longer residence time in the survey area than do swimming bears and thus a much higher probability of being counted (maybe multiple times depending on exactly how the survey is done).

    It might also be a good idea to verify that swimming polar bears don’t occasionally nap and that if they do, an observer in an aircraft can distinguish between a sleeping bear and a dead bear.

  124. Donald Shockley“Did you read the transcript?”

    Yes, I did. Monnett saw something he had not seen in the years he had been flying the studies, asked previous team leaders about, and found that they had not seen drowned bears (or at least, bear corpses floating in the water) in their time running the teams. That’s a fair bit beyond “anecdotal” evidence. Dead bears in the water was exceptional, which can be noted from the fact that although they had record items for bears, swimming bears (rare by their statistics), various seals, walruses, different whale species, and 20 different kinds of ice, they had no entries for dead bears in the water up to that point.

    I would have preferred that he went through the notes from the observers for previous years, but without an event index that would be difficult (check every polar bear sighting?). But given that a dead bear in the water was so unusual, I think his checks with previous team leaders back 16 years to 1987 was sufficient.

    “Even though the study shows no change in whale migrations …

    Did you read all of the transcript? When discussing other MMS work, work he removed his name from due to study shortcomings, he noted that there were distinct changes in whale patterns that the MMS studies distinctly did not record, and did not want to. And that the detailed whale migration pattern studies got pushed out to another group actually willing to tabulate those possibly climate related changes. See the transcript pages 89-92 for a discussion of this.

    Don K

    Monnett did include his uncertainties, and anyone in the field (including the three anonymous reviewers of the paper) familiar with statistical sampling could check them. That’s why works like “likely” are key in these articles.

    Sleeping bears? You should look at the bottom of transcript page 28 and the top of 29 – rotting corpses with stuff floating off of them, and a corpse bloated to the shape of a beach ball, are apparently pretty easy to distinguish from “sleeping” bears. You might also look at http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091112192208AACh5nC, where this question is discussed – apparently polar bears have no reflex to keep their head above water if they fall asleep.

    Residence time is really immaterial. If the bear is moving or stationary, the statistical sampling chance of overflying one in your search pattern (and ‘marking’ it as within your transect swath when over it) does not change.

  125. Remember that there are also human victims of this research. This winter many thousands of people will die of hypothermia as they can not afford the increases in fuel prices. ‘Research’ like this caused governments to panic and give a blank cheque for so called ‘renewables’. It won’t be the people getting rich on the back of AGW, it will be poor people living on the edge. Not important people – they will just appear as a statistic next spring.

  126. Never mind science, the interviewing agents don’t even understand math! And they say the ‘investigation’ is about calculations. Right!

    The conclusions of Monnett’s note were tentative and the caveats are included to explain why. This investigation can’t possibly be about the polar bear note – unless it is purely politically motivated.

  127. Ok – here’s another take: the Investigators are letting him believe its about the CALCULATIONS – when in fact – there is something else afoot. You have to remember – the LAST person the investigators interview is the object of the investigation. Not the first.

    But the guy (rattled or not) went from “There were four drowned bears seen” to “Well, I’m pretty confident that it was four” on their “partially randomized transects” to a calculation that implied the transects were unique.

    But the part of the interview that caught MY eye was “Um, well, um, we flew transects. That was our basic methodology. They were partially randomized. And we, uh, we looked at a, a map. I think we probably used GIS to do it”.

    Bwoop! Bwoop! Bwoop! Claxon Horns! Ahh-OOO-gah! Ahh-OOO-gah!

    Hmmm….

  128. Ok, I read the latest WUWT post and linked article. So it’s not about polar bears.

    So why was he grilled on the subject in the interview? And why are the allegations still secret?

    So, it’s about “calculations”, but nothing to do with his “scientific work”? Whatever it is they think they’re investigating, they’re making up the reasons as they go.

  129. This is from an article written in 2006, a response to Al Gore’s film, and was one of the first things I read when I started researching AGW :

    ‘Polar bears are not becoming endangered. A leading Canadian polar bear biologist wrote recently, “Climate change is having an effect on the west Hudson population of polar bears, but really, there is no need to panic. Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear (sic) to be affected at present.” ‘

    The point is that there ARE experts looking at the polar bear populations, although they seem to be excluded when it comes to studies such as this. Green organisations are characterised as people who fly around in helicopters for a few days and then go away without consulting those who monitor all year round.

    Obviously with good reason.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/218011/gorey-truths-iain-murray

  130. So right from the start this was never about actual scientific data.

    There are tables of data included on the fourth and fifth page of the note, as well as data throughout. Data periods range from 1987 – 2004.

    Does anybody actually read the source material before criticising it?

    http://www.alaskaconservationsolutions.com/acs/images/stories/docs/Polar%20Bears-ExtendedOpenWaterSwimmingMortality.pdf

    Extrapolation is a valid technique, as long as the limitations are defined and caveats included. This is the case in Monnett’s note, which is clearly announced as speculative.

  131. For those concerned PEER have selectively edited the transcript, perhaps a barrage of FOI’s directed to the Inspector General would help. That office is soaking up your tax dollars, after all.

  132. In the past decade a number of coin tosses were made and it was observed that 2 were heads and 2 were tails. A more recent study of coin tosses found that 3 were heads and one was a tail and we can conclude from this that global warming has caused a propensity of heads to occur.

    From this we can extrapolate that in a series of 20 tosses we would expect to see 15 heads. There are no errors in this. I’m quite certain they were all heads.

  133. “except we made the further assumption, which is implicit to the analysis. Seems obvious to me.”

    Yep, clear as mud mate! How many bears did they see alive and how many dead? I mean real empirical bears!

    Imagine, you question your M.D. over treatment you receive for an illness and he tells you….”If anything, it‟s sloppy.”! Inspires confidence huh!

    I can only imagine Monnett was crapping himself at being the subject of this investigation and hence lost the power of coherent thought. They should have strapped Lie Detectors to the buggers, it would have been fun to see the pens arcing across the travelling paper!

  134. To me, the transection technique and paper were interesting PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS. I understand the issue of biological surveying and can appreciate the idea of documenting an apparently unusual event. It may have even been okay to speculate as to possible causation, given the extreme weather event and large ice-free area. That said, sweeping interpretations were made; speculative links to global warming were turned into policy conclusions. This type of work was used to validate assertions that warming is having large-scale, observable effects right now. The assertions were used to speculate on polar bear extinction due to warming, and that conclusion flies in the face of much more fully documented increases in polar bear population through most of their range.
    A judge used the speculative conclusion as part of the justification adopted to restrict development. Given that much more contradictory information was available, it was just plain wrong to do based on such thin evidence.

  135. KR says:
    July 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    …”apparently polar bears have no reflex to keep their head above water if they fall asleep.
    ========
    Do you believe this statement , that you reproduced ?

  136. KR seems to be mistaken on several issues.

    When you run “a transection technique” in biology, it is suited to the population you are looking at.
    In some cases the techniques will translate well between species of whales and fish since these marine animals tend to follow the same patterns as far as swimming go. But not always which is the catch and the cautionary tale.

    But here we have polar bears. They can not swim forever obviously. So obviously any flights would have to track over the maximum range of said polar bears. This means you have to fly a different transection. This also means that unless proven, the whale transection is meaningless for polar bears. I highly doubt its relevant for that reason. As it is, he can not extrapolate at all in this particular instance. That means that any extrapolations are worthless and that what he witnessed can be jotted down to simple coincidence and nothing more.

    As several people noted, the cause of death is not listed. Since that is the case, you can not even begin to assume that three polar bears found together simply died in the specified fashion. Did they get into a massive fight in the water and kill each other and the survivers went to shore? Who the heck knows and that is the point. Without proof of cause of death, you can not assume.

    And of course the assumption that 4 bears and the 3 are the same….just pretty amazing that anyone actually would copy that down. Is he a scientist or a believer? Pretty amazing stuff.

    There are so many assumptions here it is hilarious. A correct study on the issue would allow for extrapolation, but you have to do your fly-bys correctly. They covered 11% over a long time period. Too long for polar bears I am sure. For whales, yes the technique is correct, well covered and I am sure if he had talked about dead whales he would have had a point.

    Then there is his complaints about other people’s data when going into whales. He does not believe their data is correct. Did he give evidence for this? I am not sure what this is about, but after hearing so many stories about how defamation of MMS is going on and how “oil companies” are responsible makes me think this guy either has good support groups or is rather paranoid like most greens.

    Regardless, this guy makes Dr. Mann look good and that is rather funny.

  137. Richard S Courtney says:
    July 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    KR:

    Many thanks for your informative post at July 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm which says:

    “For those of you criticizing the technique Dr. Monnett used, I strongly suggest going to Amazon and doing a quick search on “transect sampling”. This is a very well established technique for estimating biological populations. Or for estimating vegetation amounts, or the number of unexploded ordinances in a region, or…”

    I always wondered why estimates of biological populations, extinctions, etc. are bollocks.
    I now know because you have explained it. Thankyou.

    Richard
    *********
    I would like to add my humble thanks to those of Richard.

  138. KR says:
    July 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    You might also look at http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091112192208AACh5nC, where this question is discussed – apparently polar bears have no reflex to keep their head above water if they fall asleep.

    ====

    I read that before I posted and also some equally unsubstantiated statements that water borne polar bears nap frequently. I don’t believe either is especially credible. What is documented is that bears can make swims of many days. No one actually seems to know for sure whether they need rest and how they rest. I’d point out that biologists are frequently surprised when they observe species they thought they knew well exhibiting unexpected behaviors.

    ====

    “Residence time is really immaterial.”

    ====

    I disagree. It is only immaterial when everything you are observing and comparing has the same or very similar residence times — which is very commonly the case. If you are counting Caribou (and there aren’t any biases) roughly the same number of reindeer will move into your search areas as will move out and you don’t need to consider residence time.

    But that isn’t the case here. I would expect it to be especially important in this case because the cold waters possibly retard decay and possibly keep corpses around a long time. It’s really hard to guess how long as the mix of scavengers in the Arctic surface environment doesn’t seem very clear. A corpse that might be gone in a few days at the latitude of Seattle, might hang around a lot longer in the Arctic … or not.

    The issue with residence time is simply this. Suppose that your study area has 101 polar bears and your 300 hour survey scans 10% of the area. Suppose also that one of the bears dies in the water just as the study starts and its body stays on the surface in the study area for the entire period. Your chance of observing it is 10% (and your chance of observing and counting it again on a different transect might be as high as 1% although I suspect that in practice it’d be a lot lower)

    Assume that a typical polar bear swim is 3 hours out of 300. Even though there are 100 bears and each of them swims, your chance of observing a swimming bear are exactly the same as those of observing the corpse – 10%. Pretty clearly the mortality rate is about 1%, not 50% (2 bears, one defunct) or 100% (one bear and the damn thing died).

  139. Polar bears never die of natural causes? Oh, I don’t know, like heart attacks, cancer or any number of things that all animals contract as they get older? Were any bears spotted on ice or land that were dead? It appears not. Therefore, we can conclude that bears, knowing their time is short, enter the water to die. And this is indicative of AGW how, again?
    As to Monnett’s answers to the investigator, I have heard more intelligent reponses from a nine year old being asked why he wasn’t in school on a given day when he should have been! I know transcription can make one sound foolish at times but, Holy Moly!
    Perhaps the investigators are trying to determine just how competent this man is, at this point, not very, to figure out what he may have done with $50 million? Is any money missing? We don’t know yet, however, I would guess, a lot, based on Monnett’s handling of “research”!

  140. He does not have a paper trail to show an absence of dead bears, before they recorded the first dead bears. Not very surprising that. So he asked a friend, his ex-boss. Hey ex-boss, I saw some dead bears in the water today. Have we ever seen any dead bears in the water? No son, can not say we have. .
    Did he lie or misrepresent to his employer to get it published. No evidence of that. The guy is just an honest Joe with the majority opinion on AGW being maltreated by his employer for a paper they actually peer reviewed, but proved useful to a pro AGW activist group his employer does not like. The fact that no clear charge has been made says it all. The Science is old and in the paper, We have not learnt anything we did not know when it came out. The new element is the haresment. I am franky disappointed that the blogers on this site do not not seem to be up in arms to support this guy. We are the side that claims to be tolerant and want dialogue.

  141. “drowned polar bear researcher” ?? Who was it that drowned? And they grilled him afterwards?

    What has the world come to?

  142. Extrapolating the number of drowned beats in that 603 sq km seach area to the entire Arctic Ocean means 66,976 bears died in that storm. No wonder they are endangered.

  143. This all kind of reminds me of the farce currently going in the US Senate and House over raising the government debt ceiling.

    A bunch of overpaid clowns floundering around, not really knowing what they are doing and desperately trying to persuade anyone who might listen that he, or she, is a responsible rational person who should be listened to.

    In the meantime, it seems to be all about scoring points and no one seems to care about, or want to take responsibility for, the stupidity of their own actions, or inactions.

  144. Who made the autopsy on the dead bears?
    Surely there was was autopsy, otherwise he would not know that the cause of death was drowning.
    Now, tell me, Dr Monnet; who made the autopsy?

  145. I am disappointed by the caliber of the accusations. I was expecting that they would at least have a proof that Monnett poisoned and killed the polar bears.

    Extrapolating from 3 selectively seen dead polar bears after the storm that there are billions of dead polar bears for each minute of SUV that runs is surely junk science but one that everyone in the AGW-related establishment (and maybe beyond) is surely going to defend.

  146. One could hope that this affair would serve as yet another warning about the grand alliance of those who would place their yoke on all of humanity.
    vigilis salutis

  147. “ERIC MAY: So combining the three dead polar bears and the four alive bears is a mistake?

    CHARLES MONNETT: No, it‟s not a mistake. It‟s just not a, a, a real, uh, rigorous analysis. And a whole bunch of peer reviewers and a journal, you know –”

    Yes it is a mistake. Dead bears certainly spend a lot more time in the water than live ones moving from one location to another. One cannot make any conclusion whatsoever till you know what percent of all bears were in the water swimming and for how long. That wasn’t done. To do that you need to know lot more info than one can glean from the information he collected.

    “CHARLES MONNETT: Well, no, I didn‟t think so. I thought that was perfectly reasonable to ask them, since it isn‟t something – remember, the reason it‟s not in the database is because it, it doesn‟t happen. You know, you don‟t see it, so – and there‟s a reason, uh, why it‟s changed, which is in, in, in a lot of the early years, there was a lot of ice out there, and there just weren‟t opportunities for there to be dead bears. You know, bears don‟t drown when there‟s ice all over the place.”

    So he is interjecting his assumptions not using observations to come to your conclusions. Perhaps bears do drown all the time for other reasons when there are plenty of ice floes. Perhaps they drown when weak from old age or lack of food, perhaps they drown when pinched between colliding ice floes. When there is a lot of ice does it not become difficult to impossible to spot live bears let alone dead ones between ice floes? Isn’t it much more likely that a storm would drown a bear in a situation with less ice floes than one with floes. Did he repeat his observations when there were no storms, and did he find dead bears at drown at that point?

    His studies are garbage and about as useful as reports on the effectiveness of prayer in curing sickness from priests. As a scientist he has to be skeptical of his own conclusions, and test them. They were not tested at all, period.

  148. benfrommo

    Transect analysis is only valid for the region sampled – absolutely true. The study was designed for whales – also true.

    However, for that sample area there were (a) an anomalous number of swimming bears, and a week later (b) a number of never seen before dead bears in the water.

    “And of course the assumption that 4 bears and the 3 are the same…” Monnett did not claim these were the same bears, and in fact stated they were likely not intersecting groups (he had to correct the investigators on that) – but from the sampling you can reasonably make the estimates of 36 swimming and 27 dead (+/-). Did you actually read the transcript?

    “They covered 11% over a long time period. Too long for polar bears I am sure.” I have no idea what you are even trying to say here. Random sampling is random sampling – they often flew considerable distances to the next random transect, not a progressive coverage; the statement “We noted X events of Y in the sample area, extrapolating to X * 100 / %coverage +/- in that period” is completely justified.

    So there was a big change from previous data, previous years of observation (including direct observation by Monnett), and that was reportable. In a “Note”, as a small bit of science. Monnett did not go out of his way to publicise it, and in fact appeared to have been keeping his head down due to MMS attitudes on the subject. It could well be argued that those convinced of AGW overinterpreted the data, but that’s hardly Monnett’s fault… he was the one calling for better study methods.

    Don K

    I actually feel that a lot of the objections here are unreasonable. A scientist observing marine mammals saw a change in behaviors, something he had never seen before. The study wasn’t designed for polar bears, but that does not eliminate the fact that a change was seen. He qualified his data extensively, pointed out that more study and in particular study better designed for polar bears would be helpful to see if this was an ongoing issue. Your residence time issue affects the numbers – it doesn’t mean that a change was not seen.

    So – residence time, study design, and that for matter whether or not there was a dead bear entry column prior to ’99 when Monnett started observing (he had 4-5 years of his own observations at that time) – none of these refute the fact that Monnett observed a change.

  149. “Your residence time issue affects the numbers – it doesn’t mean that a change was not seen.”

    Sure. All I said was that the math seemed deficient to me. I don’t have any problem with the notion that Monnett observed a change. He may have.

    But, I’m far from convinced that the data supports the assertion of change with any great confidence.

  150. Don K“But, I’m far from convinced that the data supports the assertion of change with any great confidence.”

    I would agree with that. He spotted a change, and it’s probably worth looking into further to see if it is significant with a study actually designed to look more fully (fluffy?) at polar bears. Some of the more interesting science comes from these “Hey, what’s that” moments when you’re looking at something else entirely. I don’t think that MMS (or it’s descendents, based upon this investigation) are the folks to do it, though, and I don’t know who else would be able to fund such a study.

  151. I want to thank the various skeptical web sites for educating me on these things, but I also want to thank the alarmists for their defense of the “science” behind all this.

    Because of their defense and my readings I now know that climatology isn’t as simple as looking at a thermometer and drawing conclusions…no the apparent temperature is merely a single component of a long process, like flour in cookie dough. Sugar is added, white or brown depending on the researcher’s beliefs, nuts or not, choco or butterscotch chips, flavorings or colorings added as desired, then the whole creation is baked to it’s proper conclusion. And this is accepted as proper climatology.

    Now I’ve learned from Loyal Defenders of the Faith, that this 3 dead bear model is acceptable for biological studies. 3 bears, allegedly dead, allegedly by drowning, allegedly because of a storm, allegedly having to swim great distances, allegedly because the ice is melting, allegedly caused by global warming, which is allegedly caused by too many SUVs and not enough AlGores. And this is modern science!

    I suspect that if a marketing dink somewhere in a small car company, grocery store, bank, etc, proposed a $Millionad campaign based on the 3 dead bears model, he’d soon be marketing for the IRS or EPA, since only the governemnt would hire such a person…and then be unable to fire him.

    And isn’t government-funded “science” where most of this research is coming from?

  152. So, these rare and very rare, not ever seen before, events can be extrapolated up as if normal populations? This is what is doing my head in. That anyone can defend such a paper or this method and see nothing wrong, especially to continue to do so when two posters have already shown the absurdity by taking the extrapolations to logical conclusions…

  153. Wow! Reading that transcript, I wonder what Monnett REALLY got into trouble for; I can imagine, given how he got his biologist job with Minerals Management Service in the first place – he’s had a much too cozy relationship with contractors as a govt employee, and a much too cozy relationship with the government as a contractor. As a layman, I can tell you that this is the grossest piece of scientific incompetence I’ve ever seen. As a lawyer, I can hoot because depending upon the issue in dispute here, I could have a real good time cross-examining this guy. As a taxpayer, I am outraged because this is the prime example of “good enough for government work.” And it’s pretty sorry government work these days.

  154. @Larry in Texas
    “Good enough for government work”! Hilarious statement after reading the transcript, even if it is a golden oldie! It bears (couldn’t help it!) keeping in mind, climate science is practically all “government work”!

  155. He does not have a paper trail to show an absence of dead bears, before they recorded the first dead bears.

    Actually, he does. It’s tabulated on pages four and five of the study (18 years of observations). You may have been implying this with your following comments, but I thought I’d comment just to make it clear.

    Here’s the study. Goes without saying that it’s best to read it before commenting (not saying you haven’t Sean).

    http://www.alaskaconservationsolutions.com/acs/images/stories/docs/Polar%20Bears-ExtendedOpenWaterSwimmingMortality.pdf

  156. barry Thanks for the link to the actual article.

    The bears apparently died during a stretch of bad weather, when a lack of sea ice required long swimming distances – if the weather had been fine, they might have been OK. IMO Monnett’s methodology looks good, and the numbers worth considering. It was a significant change in observations.

    Changes in habitat (in this case, ice coverage, sea conditions in part dependent on those, and swimming distances) will drive changes in animal populations dependent on those habitats. Saying that isn’t the case is just silly.

    REPLY: YBS 3 bears does not a trend nor paper make. It’s a single data point.

  157. YBS 3 bears does not a trend nor paper make. It’s a single data point.

    There is NO trend analysis on polar bear mortality in the paper. T18 years of data is not a ‘single data point’. It appears many people do not understand the paper (most seem not to have read it) and hence misrepresent it.

    Extrapolation of events to a larger area is common methodology. As long as the calculations are presented as suggestive, rather than conclusive – which is exactly how it is presented in Monnett’s note – no problem. Happens all the time in astronomy.

    The language, “if”, “suggest”, “speculate” and the like is all through Monnett’s note. But it is being talked about here as if firm conclusions were made. This is the primary misrepresentation. Nor is the paper trying to ‘prove’ global warming.

  158. barry:

    At July 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm you say;

    “Extrapolation of events to a larger area is common methodology.”

    Your error is that you fail to understand that extrapolation of a SINGLE event to a larger area is NOT ACCEPTABLE methodology in SCIENCE.

    Richard

  159. If Monnett had said there were definitely x dead bears based on his calculations then there’d be something to complain about. But he didn’t. The extrapolation is not definitive, and he points that out. It’s obvious anyway.

    You are reading too much into the study, like others. It is not a formal analysis of polar bear mortality.

  160. As someone said earlier, the transect method used is a pretty normal thing, especially as it was designed to COUNT WHALES! That’s the problem with Monnett’s crappy paper. He and his organization were hired and funded to COUNT WHALES, not bears.

    The thing that elevates Monnett’s actions to the level of a criminal investigation is the use of Government funds to take on projects that are not approved by the custodians of our tax money. No wonder his supervisors were antsy about this idiot paper.

    This misuse of Federal funds may called many things, but it is in my opinion a criminal act. It is akin to SEC attorneys looking at porn for eight hours a day when the financial system is being looted by crooks and government bureaucrats.

    Suppose they lost some whales while playing poker, surfing porn, or counting dead polar bears. Who answers for that?

  161. REPLY: YBS 3 bears does not a trend nor paper make. It’s a single data point.”

    It’s a change – take a look at the actual paper, and see.The maximum number of swimming bears/survey observed prior to that was 5 in 1995, most years zero, no dead bears recorded at all. In 2004 there were 14 bears swimming (from 3 in 2003), and 4 observed dead (one in transit, off the transects) – a change in observations.

    So is it a trend? Perhaps it’s an anomaly? Good question – Monnett suggested additional surveys aimed at answering that question, and consideration of swimming stress as a mortality factor. Is it science? Absolutely – an unexpected change in observations, a paper on those containing some hypotheses as to why that occurred, pointers to future study – that’s how science works. It certainly warrants a paper noting what occurred, and suggests followup work that could confirm or invalidate the data shown here.

    I’m still waiting to see if the IG actually presses charges, and what those charges might be. The questioning in the transcript is entirely on this paper, after all. But it seems clear to me that if the IG is after him over the paper, it’s simply because somebody found the conclusions upsetting to them. And and not with any scientific backing, or they would have just published a comment or paper showing why they thought Monnett was wrong.

    If the IG is after him over this paper, the proper term is “political witchhunt”.

  162. bob“The thing that elevates Monnett’s actions to the level of a criminal investigation is the use of Government funds to take on projects that are not approved by the custodians of our tax money.”

    Oh – I see… Monnett should have steadfastly ignored odd data in his observations, not analyzed data collected in the course of whale studies WRT the bears, not spent any time (a couple of weeks?) writing up a paper and a poster presentation on it. Said paper having been approved by his supervisors at the time, which rather invalidates your claims of unapproved misuse.

    I’m curious, “bob” – have you ever been prescribed an antibiotic? Like, for example, penicillin? (http://inventors.about.com/od/pstartinventions/a/Penicillin.htm) You obviously have no idea how the scientific approach leads to considering your observations, looking at the outliers, to new data, to significant new discoveries, etc. With your approach we would still be in the Stone Age.

  163. polistra says: July 29, 2011 at 10:18 am
    “Monnett automatically and leftishly assumed they would behave like air molecules, and couldn’t see the problem with his assumption.”

    This is exactly why the transect model fails miserably. Polar bears pick and chose where they jump off from and have at least a feel for where they are going, e.g., their excellent sense of smell indicates upwind seals. Some may have made the trip before and there may even be “established” routes. How arrogant to underestimate the power of evolution.

    Indeed, the assumption that they need ice is false as some colonies inhabit rocky shores where walrus haul out. Ice is not a factor. And, it is also known that polar bears can mate with brown bears to produce hybrids, and brown bears DO NOT go out on the ice. Where do they meet? Bears bars?

  164. a paper on those containing some hypotheses as to why that occurred, pointers to future study

    Exactly. It’s a hypothesis, not a formal study on polar bear mortality, that calls for more research in this area.

    But people are erroneously treating it as if it was a definitive study. Like this;

    “Monnett automatically and leftishly assumed they would behave like air molecules, and couldn’t see the problem with his assumption.”

    Of course, he didn’t assume any such thing. The closest he gets to a definitive statement is:

    “Our count of dead polar bears related to the 2004 wind storm almost certainly represents an underestimate of the actual number of bears affected.”

    Translation: it is almost certain that more than 4 bears were affected. Monnett assumes nothing about the actual number of dead bears, merely makes a tentative and very simple extrapolation to illustrate a potentiality regarding the hypothesis.

    It’s not definitive. It doesn’t claim to be, and it should not be cast as such.

  165. Well, I read most of the 96 pages. Light reading.

    They should file this under the Lonely Lives of Scientists.

    Monnett is a global warmer who works for the Minerals Management Service, not some wildlife service. He does these perfunctory surveys of whales to prove that the drilling up there is not disturbing the traditional native lifestyle. (I think I know where to save money for deficit reduction already.)

    One year of record low ice he saw a bunch of polar bears swimming way out from shore to try to get to the ice, and, after a big wind event and high wave event (global warming, like hurricanes he explained.) some obviously drowned (4 in total observed.) Since then, there have been few repeats. He published his one year’s observation as a short note, but obviously couldn’t resist piling on with the warming stuff. Others really ran with it. Can’t blame him for that, can you? Talk about speculation from a small amount of data. For unclear reasons now somebody has sent the IG after him. It is odd, because he claims to be persecuted by the management of MMS and he does nothing anymore to irritate his bosses. They should make him publish his latest data on polar bear drownings, which would show none or very few. He didn’t. He only published his positive findings. They call this science. I think that is misconduct. To only publish findings which support your views.

    What a far cry from the the solar physicists who insist their work has nothing to say about climate change. Now, that is a climate of fear.

  166. One year of record low ice he saw a bunch of polar bears swimming way out from shore to try to get to the ice, and, after a big wind event and high wave event (global warming, like hurricanes he explained.) some obviously drowned (4 in total observed.) Since then, there have been few repeats.

    That’s interesting. Could you link to any post-2004 data on this?

    I read an article from 2008, IIRC, where 9 bears had been spotted in the open water in summer. This was quite a lot compared to previous years, but not as much as seen in 2004. I don’t know if the area examined, or the time frame, was anything similar to Monnett’s 2004 overflights.

    He published his one year’s observation as a short note, but obviously couldn’t resist piling on with the warming stuff.

    What ‘piling on’? It’s pretty clear the globe has warmed, and no one doubts (not even Lindzen, Spencer, Christy, and Pielkes Snr and Jr) that it will continue to warm to some degree if CO2 concentrations continue to rise. The Arctic had been warming through the study period and before, the ice had retreated, and Monnett refers to expert opinion that it will continue to do so. A hypothesis on bear stress and mortality based on these observations is quite reasonable. Whether or not you agree with any of the above is immaterial. Monnett simply refers to expert opinion on Arctic climate.

    Others really ran with it. Can’t blame him for that, can you?

    Exactly.

    Talk about speculation from a small amount of data.

    Yes, that’s exactly what the note is. That’s why the authors recommended further study – to test the hypothesis.

    They should make him publish his latest data on polar bear drownings, which would show none or very few. He didn’t. He only published his positive findings.

    Monnett participated in the overflights for 2 summers after the 2004 sightings, then took a new position in the company. He published this finding because it was the first recorded observation of the phenomenon. There is already data for the previous 17 years, which shows no dead bears in the water. I don’t think that there is a dedicated flight program like BWASP for polar bears. Do you reckon more funding for such research would be a good idea?

  167. @barry

    Oh come on now, if I find three or four dead sparrows in my garden I would hardly make the assumption that this was due to climate change and write a paper calling for further study. Monnett had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA why those polar bears were dead, why they had swum so far away from shore or whether they were in any way representative of a larger population. He more or less made it all up on the flimsiest of pretexts. Then a bunch of other jokers blew it up all out of proportion while Monnett sat back and said nothing.

    Monnett is a joker and so is Al Gore. I take it your jumping right into bed with them Barry. The credibility of all three of you is in the toilet, however.

  168. @KR

    “Some of the more interesting science comes from these “Hey, what’s that” moments when you’re looking at something else entirely.”

    Defending the indefensible again KR. Maybe government money could be spent on a study of leprechauns, or fairies at the bottom of the garden. Far more observations of these than of dead polar bears so on that basis plenty of government cash should be made available for these studies. But what I really love is the way you have tried to focus attention on exactly what this money grubbing idiot Monnett was saying rather than the pious nonsense that Al Gore was able to spout unchallenged as a result of this tripe. The whole global polar bear drowning meme is based on just three unrecovered corpses. Maybe they just ate a bad seal?

    It’s pretty clear that this “witch-hunt” is very well justified, because the flimsiest of pretexts is being used to justify the biggest revolution in global politics since Lenin took power in Russia (and that revolution didn’t end nicely either).

  169. Ryan

    “But what I really love is the way you have tried to focus attention on exactly what this money grubbing idiot Monnett was saying rather than the pious nonsense that Al Gore was able to spout unchallenged as a result of this tripe…It’s pretty clear that this “witch-hunt” is very well justified”

    Ignoring the ad hominem components of that, I’ll note that exactly what Monnett was saying was quite reasonable, qualified for uncertainty, and presented as a “Note” with suggestions for future study. It was also reviewed and approved by his supervisors at the time. A “witch-hunt” based on that work is nonsense. If you have reasons to disagree with the science, write a comment or a paper on it and put your evidence forward. That’s how scientific disagreements get resolved – not via administrative actions.

    Al Gore incorporated some of this into his “Inconvenient Truth” movie – which you seem (ahem) quite upset about. That’s certainly not Monnett’s fault.

    No, the “witch-hunt”, if Monnett is being prosecuted for the polar bear paper, is completely unjustified.

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  171. Monnett had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA why those polar bears were dead

    He made a pretty reasonable assumption. Dead bears in water. The Pistachio family made a hit? Got run over by a truck perhaps? Used for footballs by bow whales? Hmmmmmm. Dead bears. In water. 30 to 100 kms from land. It’s the season when bears swim out to the ice to hunt fish. There was a storm through the area. They’re in the water. Likeliest cause of death?

    why they had swum so far away from shore

    Let’s see now. Do polar bears swim for some reason? Do they ever swim long distances (yes). Do they swim from land to sea ice to hunt (yes)? Is this the time of year they do it (yes)? Do they swim this far our for any other reason that we know of (no)?

    or whether they were in any way representative of a larger population

    He had the choice of assuming that in the 10% of the storm area they’d observed they’d seen every dead bear in the area, or speculating that there may have been more dead/exhausted bears in the other 90% of the storm area they didn’t observe. The first choice is not supportable.

    He more or less made it all up on the flimsiest of pretexts.

    Don’t tell me you haven’t read the paper either?

    Then a bunch of other jokers blew it up all out of proportion while Monnett sat back and said nothing.

    How was his study distorted by others, and who were they? Links to examples would be appreciated.

  172. I see two drowning scientists, but if you want to compare them, then let’s do this little ratio estimator and correct for the percentage of the scientists under investigation. And just doing that, then there might be as many as 2735 scientists out there who are drowning in their own slop. There might be as many as 3669, plus or minus. There could be 5043. We don’t know. But the way I am posing it is that it’s serious, because it’s not just two. It’s probably a lot more. And then I say that with the further assumption, you know, that the scientists will be exposed or, you know, the ones we will measure later that are carcasses out there, it looks like a lot of them, you know, won’t survive, so – but it’s, it’s discussion, guys. I mean, it’s not in the results…

    When you read it like that, it’s quite plausible. I’m sure Monnett and Ruch would agree.

  173. Four dead polar bears. How long do they think polar bears live? A generous estimate would be 15 years and a total population of 20,000. That’s 1,300 polar bears dying each year. Total ignorance about life.

    Then again, these people appear to think that humans only die of climate change. There are 7 billion of us and we are all going to die. Climate change is not necessary for that to happen. The conceit of every generation is to believe they are the most important generation living in the most important time in history. These people can’t stand the idea that life will still go on after they are gone.

  174. So here’s a nervous scientist being badgered by a guy who knows nothing about science. That’s the message I’m getting. The rest of you seem to be taking away something a little different.

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