Another round of questions for polar bear researcher

A polar bear swimming

Image via Wikipedia

From National Public Radio

Polar Bear Scientist Faces New Questions

by Nell Greenfieldboyce

A wildlife biologist is continuing to face questions about an influential paper he wrote on apparently drowned polar bears, with government investigators reportedly asking whether he improperly steered a research contract to another scientist as a reward for reviewing that paper.

“They seem to be suggesting that there is some sort of conspiracy that involves global warming and back scratching that appears to be frankly just nuts,” says Jeff Ruch, a lawyer with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Ruch’s group is providing legal representation to Charles Monnett, a wildlife biologist with an agency of the Department of the Interior. Monnett was flying over the Arctic in 2004, doing a routine survey of whales, when his team spotted an unusual sight — dead polar bears floating in the water.

Monnett’s report on what he observed raised public alarm about the threat of climate change and melting ice, and the sighting of dead bears was cited by Al Gore in his movie An Inconvenient Truth. The dead bears became a potent symbol of the perils that the bears face as the sea ice retreats.

But now Monett is under an official investigation by the Department of Interior’s Office of Inspector General.

In February, agents from that office questioned Monnett about the dead bear sightings and his 2006 report on them in a scientific journal. “We’re not sure why the Inspector General felt it needed to open an investigation on this. They indicated there are allegations,” says Ruch. “We don’t know who they’re from or why, after review, they thought this 2006 note was worth assigning criminal investigators to.”

Investigators again quizzed Monnett about that polar bear paper during a second interview on August 9, Ruch says.

As part of his job, Monnett helped manage contracts for government-funded research. Ruch says in this latest interview, the investigators seemed to accuse Monnett of improperly steering a contract for a new study of polar bears to the University of Alberta. They pointed to the fact that a university scientist who got the contract gave Monnett comments on his polar bear paper.

“They asked whether there was a quid pro quo or whether there was some connection between the University of Alberta professor providing some sort of peer review on the polar bear paper and his getting the award of the contract,” says Ruch.

Ruch says the investigators focused on one exchange between the two scientists about the polar bear paper that took place on the same day that the research contract was being finalized. “That was the big A-ha moment for them,” Ruch says. “And if that’s all they have, then this has been a colossal waste of time.”

The research contract had been in negotiations for months and that Monnett’s supervisors had signed off on it, says Ruch, who added that the University of Alberta was the only organization considered for this new polar bear tagging project because the contract piggybacked on research it was already doing.

And while Monnett asked the university scientist to read his soon-to-be-famous paper on dead polar bears, Ruch says others—both agency officials and the scientific journal—reviewed it before it was published.

The University of Alberta research project being funded by the contract in question received a stop-work order around the same time that Monnett was put on administrative leave by his agency last month. But that stop-work order was rescinded and the research is now continuing.

A spokesperson for Monnett’s agency has stated that “the agency placed Mr. Monnett on administrative leave for reasons having nothing to do with scientific integrity, his 2006 journal article, or issues related to permitting, as has been alleged. Any suggestions or speculation to the contrary are wrong.” The Inspector General’s office did not return calls requesting comment.

Some advocacy groups say, this whole episode looks like political interference with science and it will intimidate other government researchers.

“There’s no way this can have anything but a chilling effect on the ability of other scientists to carry out their work,” says Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute with the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit that campaigned to have the polar bear listed as a threatened species. Her group has teamed up with Greenpeace to ask the administration for an investigation into this investigation.

But others caution against rushing to any judgments.

“We won’t know, until the [inspector general] is done, exactly what the charges are and exactly what they are finding,” says Francesca Grifo, director of the scientific integrity program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

She says in the past, the inspector general’s office has actually uncovered political interference with science. “In previous administrations, we’ve been very grateful for what the inspector generals at Interior have found,” says Grifo. “They’ve brought to light a lot of things that we just wouldn’t have known about or been able to document otherwise.”

Some polar bear scientists worry that, for the public, this investigation has created doubt about both the original observations of dead bears and the threat of climate change.

Steve Amstrup, senior scientist with a group called Polar Bears International, says Monnett wasn’t the only person to have seen those dead polar bears in the water. “But yet, the news that he was being investigated caused some people to right away jump to the conclusion that those observations may be flawed,” says Amstrup.

He says there’s no reason to think that, and that other research also shows that climate change and retreating sea ice is a real danger for polar bears.

h/t to reader bollabob

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93 thoughts on “Another round of questions for polar bear researcher

  1. VC Ponsardin (vcponsardin1) wrote:

    Fortunately, governments can’t legislate science. It either stands the test of academic scrutiny or it doesn’t through the usual channels of peer-review publications. Conservatives can lock up all the scientists they think are lying about global warming, but they can’t stop the process of scientific review. They simply can’t. Sure, they can try to intimidate those scientists they dislike by accusing them of illegal behavior, but again, the science will stand or fall on its own merits–not on some legislative threat or legal action. Until someone scientifically disproves Monnett’s research, his work and his conclusions stand. Period. Meanwhile, poor Dr. Monnett and people like him will probably face a modern-day Inquisition anytime they publish anything that contradicts the conservatives’ shortsighted and flawed agenda…. unless people start standing up and defending science and scientists.

    A post left in the NPR comment section!

  2. Wow, nothing like polling a bunch of left-wing activist groups to get a balanced take on the investigation. I realize the investgating agency can’t comment while the investigation is ongoing, but there wasn’t much of an attempt to keep it neutral.

  3. “an unusual sight — dead polar bears floating in the water”

    Makes you wonder, how unusual it really is. Do polar bears live forever? If they die in the water don’t they float? The species did manage to somehow survive the Holocene Climate Optimum, which was warmer than present climate. Why should the current bit of warming be killing them off?

  4. Committees in charge of allocating research funding are often the recipient of said funding. It goes like this:

    1. The grant committee meets to discuss proposed research. The committee is populated by researchers.
    2. They discuss dollars available.
    3. They determine who on the committee is one of the potential recipients for a proposed research project.
    4. The potential recipients excuses him or herself from the voting by leaving the room. The voting is completed as to whether or not that research proposal will get the funding.
    5. That person comes back in and the next proposal is discussed.
    6. repeat steps 3 – 5

    The deal is, if one proposal is voted down, your own pet project stands a lesser chance of getting voted yes for funding. It is very much you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. I don’t know if this is still the status quo but I know it used to be.

  5. We know the paper is, by rigorous standards, an embarrassment. The math estimating #bears drowned/#tswimming bears is a complete mess, and the inference that they were swimming because there was less sea ice that year is entirely unsupported. But whether there is misconduct in the grant awarding process depends on a fact not covered by the story.

    If Monnett was in discussions with a polar bear guy at Alberta, and asked, “By the way, would you read my paper for comments before, I submit it to the journal for anonymous peer review,” then that seems like normal collaboration. Scientists often seek the opinions of colleagues who work in the same field, even if they are not co-authors, and the fact that the peer review itself was sloppy and ineffectual does not seem to be a result of the request.

    On the other hand, if Monnett said, “I’m submitting a polar bear paper and you’ll probably be asked to review it since you are one of the few experts in the field, plus I suggested your name to the editor so he doesn’t have to work to hard to find someone. By the way, I’ll be making the final decision on your grant next week,” that is clear misconduct.

  6. What do polar bears that can’t swim have to do with climate? The Union of Unemployed Scientists should start a training program of sorts to educate polar bears. Question – Will a Liberal Arts Degree qualify them as swim instructors?

  7. JOhn says:
    August 10, 2011 at 8:43 am
    A post left in the NPR comment section!
    ======================================================
    The preceding public service announcement was brought to you by……

    Scientists Concerned About Money (SCAM)

  8. “Monnett was flying over the Arctic in 2004, doing a routine survey of whales, when his team spotted an unusual sight — dead polar bears floating in the water.”
    As this comes under science is there any photographic evidence of these bears and how many were there?
    How old were they and what was the cause of death?
    Was this is one area or many areas?
    Does this happen every year and is it increasing?

    As polar ice will melt and re-freeze in a non-uniform or erratic way if there were drowned bears this could be similar to the events where whales become trapped by freezing ice and unable to escape to open water. Below are links to two such incidents.

    400 whales trapped in Arctic ice

    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=0636fbf5-25c3-424d-affb-25c8ab88443c

    Over 200 whales trapped in Canadian ice

    http://www.rushlimbaughforum.com/over-200-whales-trapped-arctic-ice-t2547.html

    Freeing The Whales – How the Media Created the World’s Greatest Non-Event

    http://www.highnorth.no/Library/MediaWatch/fr-th-wh.htm

    GRAY WHALES TRAPPED IN ARCTIC ICE ARE NEAR FREEDOM

    http://www.nbcuniversalarchives.com/nbcuni/clip/5112540592_s01.do

  9. If you’re a public institution, awarding or receiving non-bid contracts should be frowned upon. You simply open yourself up to criticism. Most non-bid contract awards are for three reasons:

    a) poor planning – time restraints
    b) award is too small to justify the expense of a bidding process
    c) desire to steer the award to a specific contractor

    Note to Monnett: next time, bid the contract. It’s not your money. It could be a completely legit award, but you placed yourself in a risky position by not following solid contracting governance procedures.

  10. When you consider that polar bears are known to spend an extensive amount of time in the water do they from time-to-time fall asleep in the sea, like a sea otter does?

  11. “Some polar bear scientists worry that, for the public, this investigation has created doubt about both the original observations of dead bears and the threat of climate change.”

    I don’t think people doubt the observations of dead polar bears. Instead they dismiss the immediate association with global warming and the perceived threat of climate change.

    “Steve Amstrup, senior scientist with a group called Polar Bears International, says Monnett wasn’t the only person to have seen those dead polar bears in the water. “But yet, the news that he was being investigated caused some people to right away jump to the conclusion that those observations may be flawed,” says Amstrup.”

    No. The observations aren’t the problem. The conclusion that they died swimming due to lack of ice is the problem.

    “He says there’s no reason to think that, and that other research also shows that climate change and retreating sea ice is a real danger for polar bears.”

    If you asked a polar bear what the major problems facing it were, it would likely point to hunting by humans as the number one problem. How can you claim polar bears are facing extinction and not place hunting above global warming?

  12. It seems the only news about Monnett is coming from Jeff Ruch, a lawyer with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. To me this means –> another advocacy group driven story.

    In the Green press, this is a scandal in which nasty government attacks righteous green-advocate scientist. In the right wing press, this is a green-advocate scientist caught fiddling the data to push the green agenda.

    Another interesting day in science.

  13. Somebody saw some dead polar bears. So what? Where is the evidence that polar bear drownings are unusual? Where is the evidence that climate change, whether natural or man-made, had anything to do with it?

    As for the Inspector General investigation, I’d like to know whether or not anything untoward happened. I presume there is ample reason to have an investigation and I also presume the investigation will be carried out fairly and honestly, unlike the climate-gate whitewashes.

  14. It is telling that Jeff Ruch is in hyper-drive with the public spin while the investigation is still ongoing. Seems that his client would be better served if he kept his mouth shut until there is an official finding.

  15. “They seem to be suggesting that there is some sort of conspiracy that involves global warming and back scratching that appears to be frankly just nuts,” says Jeff Ruch

    There is not a conspiracy when they state their intentions up front and in public (a la the Cancun climate summit). This all has nothing to do with climate, saving the planet, or saving polar bears.

    This is a political agenda with a variety of goals. They are out to create a (false) case (by fabricating, adulterating, or simply lying about the science) for a Draconian takeover of the world’s energy and the lives, activities, and products of every individual, vast redistribution of wealth, huge new revenue streams for certain individuals, banks, and governments, deconstructing the Western World economy, preventing third world development by turning them into nanny states with “climate change damage” payments, lowering the world’s population, and creating a one-world government which would have to be socialist, totalitarian, and very oppressive. The new world “citizen” would be expected to do his/her part by “cooperating”, or else!

    The radical environmentalists love all of this as they can pretend that everybody, including themselves, are bad for even existing let alone having a good life. Thus, they can go off on anything, even toilet paper rolls, cow farts, and cats, and claim its bad. They pretty much hate every form of energy production except their own hot air. I do suggest that they can lead the way with our population “problem” and off themselves now, setting a good example for us, possibly, or not, but it would improve our world a lot!

  16. The paper is obviously dodgy. I should know!

    But I can’t see what the Inspector General hopes to uncover. Unless there is CLEAR evidence of misconduct (which there never is) all that will happen is that the research will be smeared a bit, and the warmistas will all rally round and say he has been vindicated.

  17. mac says: “When you consider that polar bears are known to spend an extensive amount of time in the water do they from time-to-time fall asleep in the sea, like a sea otter does?”

    Very likely. They have nostrils that seal off. I doubt if a polar bear can drown, given the amount of body fat they carry.

  18. Interesting network involved here:
    ” Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a national non-profit alliance of local, state and federal scientists, law enforcement officers, …”

    http://www.peer.org/index.php

    They apparently do independent PEER review of government as well:
    “OBAMA WATCH, Change we STILL need”

    http://www.peer.org/campaigns/index.php

    “PEER allows public servants to work as “anonymous activists” so that agencies must confront the message, rather than the messenger”
    Sounds like a plan.

  19. Wait… He’s getting questioned about that 2006 paper? I thought this had nothing to do with the 2006 paper???

    I love this line:

    Steve Amstrup, senior scientist with a group called Polar Bears International, says Monnett wasn’t the only person to have seen those dead polar bears in the water. “But yet, the news that he was being investigated caused some people to right away jump to the conclusion that those observations may be flawed,” says Amstrup.

    He says there’s no reason to think that, and that other research also shows that climate change and retreating sea ice is a real danger for polar bears.

    Last line should read:

    He says there’s no reason to think that, and that other computer models that run contrary to actual hard data concerning polar bear populations also shows that climate change and retreating sea ice is a real danger for polar bears.

    PS. I miss being able to post as Sonicfrog. Will have to find a way to return to my roots!

  20. Something of interest?

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  21. “As a service organization assisting federal & state public employees, PEER allows public servants to work as “anonymous activists” so that agencies must confront the message, rather than the messenger”

    It’s nice for PEER to tell everyone up front that their mission is to subvert public policy by corrupting it anonymously from the inside…

  22. I think we are now beginning to see the point of the IG investigation – I said at the time that a dodgy paper wouldn’t have been justification to fly two agents to Alaska and now it appears the issue is more likely to non-competitive grant awarding.

    Having worked for an arm of the US govt and been in a small way responsible for sub-contracting, I know that there are a whole lot of rules and policies and at some stage pretty much all agencies in receipt of big grants will get audited – with a big emphasis on transparency of the funding process. If someone has complained that projects were awarded without tender (to a non-US recipient at that) then this may have sparked the investigation. Once Dr Monnett pretty much admitted the paper was dodgy, but still got published, focus may well have shifted to who reviewed it and were they in receipt of funds from his group. I can’t remember the timing exactly, but wasn’t the interview quoted at lenght by PEER the other week done earlier this year, but Dr Monnett’s suspension only began in July? This would seem to suggest that further investigations took place after the initial interview before his responsibility for grants was rescinded.

    While it is fun for those of us who are fed up of Chicken Little’s claiming the sky is falling, I don’t think the veracity of the paper is the issue here. In the words of Deep Throat, “Follow the money”.

  23. There’s not a cat in hells chance that this will lead to any disciplinery action if the likes of Jones and Mann can get away with what they did and with documentary evidence as well.

  24. The paragraph in the article text: “A Polar Bear walks on the edge of Hudson Bay ahead of the full freeze-over Nov. 14, 2007, outside Churchill, Mantioba, Canada. Polar Bears return every year to Churchill, the Polar Bear capital of the world, where they remain hunting for seals on the icepack until the Spring thaw.”
    Appears to be a caption from a picture not shown. Perhaps it might be removed?

    [Thanks, paragraph removed. ~dbs, mod.]

  25. If the Arctic were littered with the carcasses of polar bears… wouldn’t the pictures be plastered all over the internet?

  26. Latitude says: “Has there been any more drowned bears spotted since September 2004″

    If you are careful to replicate the exrapolaton, the bear in the above photo has a good chance of being dead.

    Relies on principles of physics colloquially known as “Schroedinger’s Bear”.

  27. Polar bears cannot be all dying naturally on land. Dying at sea must be far more common than is discussed. The assumption of polar bears drowning due to lack of sea ice is deeply flawed on many, many levels. Where does one even begin…? Would it not be unreasonable to believe that polar bears do die at sea, reasons completely urelated to climate change…? Oh silly me, probably not.

  28. Reading between the lines of Ruch’s and Siegel’s remarks, are we to take it that any scientist involved in research with an environmental angle is supposed to be left strictly alone to get on with it regardless?
    That’s certainly the way it reads to me.

  29. I think Rob Potter is correct. Follow the money. Dr Monnett wasn’t very smart putting his wife in her position. That smacks of nepotism and would look dodgy to any outsider. It’s similar to Sen. Dianne Feinstein awarding her husband’s companies $billions in no-bid contracts when she was Chair of the Senate’s powerful Military Appropriations subcommittee (she was forced to resign in disgrace as subcommittee Chair because of that wrongdoing. But because she’s a Senator, she didn’t go to prison).

    I suspect Monnett started treating the $50 million he controlled as his personal assets, instead of as public funds, which he had a fiduciary duty to administer responsibly and ethically. The investigation is probably due to a routine audit or to a whistleblower; maybe both. But the polar bear aspect isn’t why the AG would assign investigators to fly to Alaska, and it wouldn’t explain the length of this investigation, or Monnett’s suspension. Misappropriation of public funds would.

  30. “Steve Amstrup, senior scientist with a group called Polar Bears International, says Monnett wasn’t the only person to have seen those dead polar bears in the water.”

    No cameras? I find that strange.

  31. The number of “interested” parties in this is staggering. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the Climate Law Institute with the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Polar Bears International… The number of professional mouthpieces speaks volumes for how seriously they’re circling the wagons to protect this single, solitary, soldier for the cause. When the number of loudmouthed spin-meisters reaches this level of ridiculousness, you just KNOW you’re getting too close to the truth. Me thinks they doth protest way too freaking much.
    Duke C - You hit the nail straight home with one shot.
    jorgekafkazar - It isn’t just their blubber that keeps them afloat. Their guard hairs are hollow and act like the cells of a cork. I doubt it would be unusual for a polar bear to drown if caught in open water during a serious storm. But Monnet’s assumption that they drowned because they had to swim so far between ice floes was pure conjecture from a preconceived agenda.

  32. DesertYote says:
    August 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Time to defund NPR, along with the EPA.

    You got that right. This is a prime example of the propaganda supported by our taxes. What’s really amazing is what was left out of this report. Was Monnett studying whales? Polar bears? A little of this? A little of that? And of course this report forgets to mention the storm that blew through the area 24 hrs previous.

    De-fund NPR indeed! Don’t spit on me and tell me it’s raining (family friendly version). They can propagate all the crap they want, just don’t do it with my money.

  33. I wonder how many drowned polar bears there were during the medieval warming period? Oh that’s right, mankind didn’t have the internet, and cameras to record it, therefore it must not have happened.

  34. It would also explain why he sounded so completely at sea (no pun intended) in the protocol that you posted. He might have been prepared on his handling of funds, but not for something that was unrelated to these issues, while the investigators were looking for instances where Monnett demonstrated clear signs of incompetence and/or groundless overconfidence.

  35. The claim is the researcher is being investigated for reporting seeing some drowned polar bears? And people buy that? How gullible can these people be? Do they ever question anything?

  36. 1. Don E says:
    August 10, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Where do the seals go when there is no ice?

    Beaches and islands.

    2. Is is time for a little speculation about research conspiracies. I read among other things that Monnett’s wife is one of the reviewer of his 2006 paper, and that a researcher from U of Alberta is another reviewer. Following publication, Monnett received and manages $80 million in federal research funds to further investigate the impacts from global warming on polar bears. Some of those funds apparently went to the U of Alberta reviewer.

    There is enough to suggest that Monnett maybe part of network that promotes pro-global warming research. It is also reasonable to suspect that Monnett’s investigation also inquires into his potential misuse or mis-management of the research grants.

    These are truly interesting times.

  37. The good news is that any changes in the polar bear population will not negatively or positively effect penquin populations. But I suspect the alarmist models will show they will.

  38. “They seem to be suggesting that there is some sort of conspiracy that involves global warming and back scratching that appears to be frankly just nuts,” says Jeff Ruch, a lawyer with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

    The sheer audacity!
    /sarc

  39. Polar bear in extremis climbs out of water onto ice floe and drops dead. Ice melts. Dead bear becomes flotsam. I’m just sayin’….

  40. Just a quick question is there any reliable measurement for the number of Polar bears that have drowned over the years other than model speculation and this one accidental and very limited fly bye ?
    ‘Some polar bear scientists worry that, for the public, this investigation has created doubt about both the original observations of dead bears and the threat of climate change’ and of course the danger to the fat or even very fat grants this scare has created .

    Monnett could of course be totally innocent it could just be cock=up in finical control or a COI issue due to poor management, becasue lets face scientists can still be idiots when it come dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s

    But the original research was poor making large assumptions on little evidenced and if it had not ,like the hockey stick, become a icon of the AGW fatih would probable have been quietly forgotten or changed thanks to further research .

  41. How about this? Some polar bears are rooting around making a nuisance of themselves in an Inuit hunting camp along the edge of shore ice that extends somewhat out into the sea. Someone fixes the problem with a rifle. The campers depart on their snow mobiles or whatever and a chunk of the ice along the shore breaks off and floats out to sea taking the dead bears with it. Later on the ice floe melts and Voila dead (drowned!!!) bears in the water. I’m just sayin’….

  42. The original paper was junk science on the face of it. Unless he has done an autopsy and determined the cause of death, he’s jumping to conclusions. And if they drowned, he still needs to show that it wasn’t caused by a polar bear fight in the water or some other damage to the bear.
    As for Jeff Ruch, a lawyer with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility – do you suppose he has a dog in this fight?

  43. “A Polar Bear walks on the edge of Hudson Bay ahead of the full freeze-over Nov. 14, 2007, outside Churchill, Mantioba, Canada. Polar Bears return every year to Churchill, the Polar Bear capital of the world, where they remain hunting for seals on the icepack until the Spring thaw.”

    Here in the “polar bear capital of the world” the ice doesn’t just recede, it disappears for thousands of kilometers for about 5 months!! The bears seem to like this and a large population has developed here. What qualifications do I need to write a paper that says less ice means more polar bears

    Oh, and another thing – if it is true that the Alberta contract was subject to stoppage at the time of the beginning of the investigation then its hard to not see the polar bear connection.

    Such investigation could necessarily become the new “peer review” procedure if these guys don’t get their acts together. You almost have to commit treason for the government to suspend you. While on leave, Monnet should have been sent for remedial statistics as well. Shocking.

  44. Steve from Rockwood says:
    August 10, 2011 at 9:15 am
    “If you asked a polar bear what the major problems facing it were, it would likely point to hunting by humans as the number one problem. How can you claim polar bears are facing extinction and not place hunting above global warming?”

    Apart from hunting I understood the number one problem to be the build of heavy metals, particularly mercury, in polar bears. It is interesting that the EPA has not banned mercury or the fish that have high levels of mercury but instead set a ‘safe’ limit.

  45. “Jeff Ruch, a lawyer with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility”
    Could I take a wild stab at guessing which side of the fence he is on?

  46. According to polarbearsinternational.org, “legal hunting continues to kill more than 700 polar bears a year” throughout the Arctic.

  47. I have to agree with the “follow the money”/conflict of interest folks. Several years ago one of our contracting types was investigated because he invited a contractor to his backyard cook out. Eventually the investigators decided that since 1) the contractor was his next door neighbor, 2) their wives were friends, and 3) the kids played together that probably his actions were acceptable. But he was careful to recuse himself from any actions that his neighbor might have been withing smelling distance of. “Avoiding the appearance of improprity” is just as important (for those outside of DC) as avoiding actual improprity.

  48. Would someone who has actually read the polar bear research paper have mercy on me and tell me if any of the dead bears were recovered and had impartially conducted necropsies to determine cause of death? I’m betting not, but would be nice to know.

    In addition to causes of death mentioned already in other comments, I’ve got to suspect that there are occassional shark, jellyfish, or other types of kills that occur too.

  49. Why is the lawyer for a pressure group like PEER allowed into an internal BOEMRE investigation?

    “Monnett was interviewed a second time by investigators from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement’s (BOEMRE’s) inspector general’s office.” “Jeff Ruch, the director of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility in Washington, D.C., who monitored the interview via teleconferencing.”???

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/08/senator-inhofe-has-questions-abo.html?ref=hp

  50. I was once in a trial and the judge told that jury that lawyers were born story tellers and their words were not to be trusted. I’ve found this to be good advice.

  51. That article states that this was the first time ever they had noticed dead polar bears since they started their program in 1979. It involved overflights of Arctic during which they took notice of other wildlife besides the whales that they were supposed to be observing. No dead bears have been reported since that time which makes it also the last time. At the time they were also unsure about whether it was three or four bears they saw. According to them there had been a storm just before it which could be what drowned the bears. It is likely that without that storm the bears would have survived as did the others swimming around. They state that their flight path covered only eleven percent of the area where bears are found. From that they concluded that there must be more dead bears that they missed and estimated that there were probably 36 bears that drowned in that storm. This was based on seeing the three dead bears they were sure about. It is that estimate of 36 dead bears that grabbed the activists’ attention. To me that is just speculation. Presence of the storm could have drowned more or less than that but the extrapolation from the area surveyed to the area missed is unreliable and too simple a statistic to rely upon. A more significant observation is that this is the one and only observation of drowned bears within a twenty five year period of Arctic overflights. To base a decision that polar bears are an endangered species on just one such observation of dead bears within a twenty five year period of Arctic overflights is simply an irresponsible action by the EPA.

  52. If polar bears were to be listed as an endangered species, I wonder what effect that might have on the ongoing oil and gas exploration in the arctic region.

  53. ” “There’s no way this can have anything but a chilling effect on the ability of other scientists to carry out their work,” says Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute with the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit that campaigned to have the polar bear listed as a threatened species. Her group has teamed up with Greenpeace to ask the administration for an investigation into this investigation. ”

    * * *

    Also see;
    Giving the fox a shotgun and telling him to guard the chicken coop.

  54. Multiple dead bears in a single sighting? All together? Or separated by X kilometers? What are the chances of simultaneous drownings? In the highly unlikely event, what are their chances of drifting together till discovery? Once discovered, would not every attempt be made to recover them and determine the cause of death? If this was not done, would this not in itself be cause for suspicion?
    Like peregrine falcons diving at 240mph, we would prefer to have witnesses other than the professed observer, preferibly witnesses with names, GPS coordinates, details, explanations for lack of recovery, etc. Other swimming bears were sighted during the same flight? How many? Do we have a mass migration? Have so many bears ever been spotted in the water in a single flight? The whole thing stinks of fraud. –AGF

  55. Rational Debate said

    “Would someone who has actually read the polar bear research paper have mercy on me and tell me if any of the dead bears were recovered and had impartially conducted necropsies to determine cause of death? I’m betting not, but would be nice to know.”

    In addition to causes of death mentioned already in other comments, I’ve got to suspect that there are occassional shark, jellyfish, or other types of kills that occur too.

    * * *

    Excellent critical thinking. And the answer is, of course, ” No.”
    The dead polar bears were supposedly unrelated to the paper they were working on, ( Whales were the main topic, I believe) and the dead bears were simply flown over by a float plane. The team never stopped to examine the bears, nor did they autopsy them. Therefore, any idea on the cause of death is extreme speculation nothing more.

    As for your second question, I live on the West coasts, ( BC) and come from a long line of fishermen. I’ve heard stories of killer whales and sharks sometimes attacking anything that moves. Some sea lions can grow to almost 1000 pounds, not much smaller then the average polar bear. ( Around 1200-1400). Sea lions are occasionally ate by killer whales, ( if the killer whale is gutsy enough, sea lions can be notoriously vicious) so your theory that some other animal took down the bears spotted in the study is very likely.

  56. my opinion. prison time for the professor. hard labor. learn to be respectful of public money and stop lying.

  57. Hey All, Might be worth reading the article. Go to and click on “2006 paper”. It is really interesting. I learned a lot about polar bears and what they’ve been doing and not doing over the last decade or so (at least between 1993 and 2004). It’s pretty clear that “climate change” issues were not even mention per se (the summer retreat of the Arctic ice sheet is mentioned peripherally). The key point about the “deaths” is, “Our observations suggest that polar bears swimming in open water near Kaktovik drowned during a period of high winds and correspondingly rough sea conditions between 10 and 13 September 2004. No other deleterious environmental conditions were present that might have led to the deaths of those polar bears. The only human-related activity in the near-shore marine environment in the eastern Alaskan Beaufort Sea during the relevant time period was limited subsistence whaling which was also hampered by weather conditions during the range of dates above.”
    So the article says the bears drowned in a wind storm. What’s the big investigation about?

  58. LOL. Too funny. The incestuous corruption rampant in the save the world industry (Conservation Biology division) is exposed and the usual suspects are acting shocked.

    The University of Alberta is a joke in this field. If you don’t get this you need to ask what Mark Boyce is doing there, with his track record of pathetic pseudoscience in the Big Lies about Yellowstone.

    But this doesn’t get to the most systematic corruption involved, with the so called ‘species at risk’ listing business. When a species or (real or invented) subspecies or (invented) ‘distinct geographic population’ gets listed at the level of Threatened or worse, somebody has a job potentially for life. Thus the conflict of interest potential for these assessments is too obvious to ignore, but everybody does. The process is simple. Get somebody, anybody, to suggest that species x could be in trouble. Best if an environmental group does it (or even better if Biodiversity Mafia Central in AZ does it because they are a lawyers club). Then send out ‘researchers’ who always seem to find what they are looking for… and then, since those ‘researchers’ become the ‘experts’ in doing that ‘research’ they logically get the lifetime jobs to save what they decided needed to be saved. In the meantime, the environmental group who sponsored this process goes on about what distinguished experts the ‘researchers’ are – for finding what they were expected to – while at the same time the enviro groups promote the ‘threat’ to raise money plus other agendas.

    It is hard to imagine a more inbred self-serving corrupt system but the public ignores it because they think that these missionaries are saving the world. This also explains why so many ‘species’ are listed and why those lists keep growing. The eco-crisis industry is a growth industry, not because of any real need but because of a gross oversupply of indoctrinated ‘researchers’ and green lawyers being pumped out by junk faculties.

  59. I guess this site does not like http addresses or links. I’ll try again with some “spaces” and stuff (no “www” needed. If you really want to read some neat stuff you’ll figure the link out —
    news. sciencemag. org/scienceinsider /2011/07/suspended-polar-bear-researcher. html

  60. Fact is there is an endless chain of interviewees, enough to keep a generation of Inspectors General in work.
    =============

  61. Don E and Don S.

    If a penguin land on the beach and found a polar bear that would really be news – they both live in opposite hemispheres. Although in the Climate Science anything seems to be possible

    Don H Southern Hemisphere inhabitant)

  62. “Some polar bear scientists worry that, for the public, this investigation has created doubt about both the original observations of dead bears and the threat of climate change.”

    Ya think? Maybe rephrase that: Some polar bear scientists worry that, for the public, this investigation has confirmed doubt about both the original observations of dead bears and the threat of climate change.

  63. Beesaman asks “What film had the quote “Follow the money”

    I go to I http://www.imdb.com/ and enter in the quote then select ‘Plot Summaries’ in the ‘More searches for Follow the money’ section and find the following;
    Deep Throat eventually tells him to “follow the money”, which leads them to uncover that the burglars had moneys in their bank accounts that were originally donated to the Committee to Reelect President…
    The movie is of course ‘All the President’s Men (1976)’.

  64. @Al Gored says:
    August 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Thats the problem for the scammers they where hoping that the tropical hot spot would give them all a chance to go and study AGW in the tropics but when it turned out the only place they can actually go and study animals that maybe/(are) affected by AGW was the Arctic they all decided to stay at home and play with models instead.

  65. “There’s no way this can have anything but a chilling effect on the ability of other scientists to carry out their work,” says Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute with the Center for Biological Diversity,

    Why?

  66. According to Monnet these bears were spotted swimming along way from shore. Now most people would assume that they were lost and had swum too far out from shore until they were out of sight of land and didn’t know how to get back, thus they drowned. Monnet seems to be suggesting that they went for a little swim, turned around and all the ice had melted. Say what?

    There is absolutely no likelihood that ice melting had anything to do with this single sighting of polar bears drowning. The fact that this ridiculous nonsense was then used as a pathetic excuse to make a money grab for public cash clearly deserved to be investigated and as an outcome at the very least the public deseve to know that their money is being used to fund science based on reasonable hypthesis. If this is not done then next year the same group will be claiming millions of dollars in research grants for following up sightings of leprachauns in Dublin on St Patricks day.

  67. Still no word on the autopsy report, Monnett?

    Or was it just some pieces of ice you saw from that high-flying helicopter?

  68. What is the statistical uncertainty of extrapolations from a single event?
    e.g. on seeing four polar bears from 1500 ft, then assuming they had drowned – with no hard evidence, and then assuming that all other flights by other observers hand not seen any?

    Global Warming Link to Drowned Polar Bears Melts Under Searing Fed Probe

    For example, there was some confusion as to whether it was three or four dead bears used in the calculation to determine the ratio of survival, and whether Monnett assumed that four swimming bears seen the week earlier were the same polar bears recorded as dead in the next survey. The statistic in question was the percentage of bears likely to survive when swimming in a storm—Monnett estimated it to be around 25%, whereas investigators put the number at more than 57% . . .

    The actual survey Monnett was conducting when he observed the dead bears in 2004 was the migration of bowhead whales. Investigators questioned how he later obtained data for a table listing live and dead polar bear sightings from 1987 to 2004.

    “So how could you make the statement that no dead polar bears were observed” during that time period? May asked.

    “Because we talked to the people that had flown the flights, and they would remember whether they had seen any dead polar bears,” Monnett said.

    Asked whether he had any documentation to back that up, Monnett said that he did not.. . . .

    Dr. Rob Roy Ramey, a biologist who specializes in endangered species scientific issues for Wildlife Science International, Inc., reviewed Monnett’s paper as well as the inspector general’s interviews for HUMAN EVENTS and said that the authors made unwarranted assumptions and large extrapolations based on a single event.

    They did not know if the polar bears actually drowned, they assumed that they had drowned. There were no statistical tests, just extrapolations made with no accounting for measurement error,” Ramey said.

    “The paper gives the appearance that rigorous surveying was done for polar bears, when it was not,” Ramey said.

    “They were flying at 1,500 feet with the purpose of looking for bowhead whales, which are much larger and easier to spot.”

  69. Funny how “drank the kool-aid” politicians and save-the-planet governmental agencies seem all too ready to accept very poor research conclusions based on very poor research methods regarding climate change, yet other politicians and agencies involved in other areas of research require gold standard research endeavors before any endorsements are made. Know why? Money potential.

    To wit: The government sponsors a website called the What Works Clearing House. This website reviews published research on educational interventions and regular school programs in all the content areas. Its purpose? To weed out poorly designed studies and nefarious conclusions to such an extent that few studies get through their process and are then recommended as solid evidence of efficacy in improving educational outcome. To be sure, there is no potential for money. Taxing schools for using questionable methods cannot be an incentive for the governmental agency, and providing tax breaks or giving extra funding for using gold standard proven methods has no money return potential for government agency coffers.

    So, because of the potential for tax collecting, any old study will do when it comes to AGW. Hypocrites.

  70. Steven Kopits says:

    August 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    According to polarbearsinternational.org, “legal hunting continues to kill more than 700 polar bears a year” throughout the Arctic.

    This looks like science from another Greepeace brochure.

  71. Speaking of govt interference in media coverage – take a look at the loonies who are reporting – National Public Radio – a longtime haven for left wingers. There was a much more balanced reporting of this by a conservative website. They actually provided more data about the nutty
    behavior of these “scientists.” I would call them “observers,” not scientists, since that would imply a competence not in evidence.

  72. Hi! We’re the polar bears Monnett claimed were floating dead in Arctic waters.

    As you can see, we aren’t really dead. Not then, not now. When Monnett claimed to to have seen us, we were merely asleep on the waves. We do that all the time. We polar bears practically live in the water. But even if we didn’t sleep in the water all the time, it would be pretty hard to tell if one of us was dead or asleep from a moving aircraft traveling at an altitude of 1,500′. Too much distance, dude.

    Anyway, we’re real glad that Monnett didn’t bother to conduct necropsies on us. That would have really been painful, with us not being dead and all. But all the same…you guys should get every last penny back from this Monnett guy. He’s just another grifting “climate change” hack.

  73. This is very encouraging as it suggests that finally government agencies are no longer viewing “global warming scientists” as untouchable.

  74. I don’t know how they could call it an unusual sight. My understanding is they kept no records and were actually counting live whales, not dead polar bears. From this sighting of 3 (or was it 4?) dead polar bears, they extrapolated at death rate of 75% of polar bears due to drowning because of ice loss due to global warming.

    I am not making that up; 3 (or 4?) dead bears equals a massive death toll for the entire population, and it’s because of the decline in sea ice. I know they did not mention climate change in their paper, so they’re off the hook for that outright falsehood, but to extrapolate from such limited data is scientific fraud. No matter how you look at it. In fact to refer to the sighting as data is fraud; it’s an anecdote.

    To use it as the basis for a statistical analysis is beyond absurd. For it to survive peer review is outright damning of the peer review process.

    For the alarmist to claim this is some kind of witch hunt is comical. Wait ’til the masses realize they’ve been snookered and that snowball get’s rolling downhill. Then they’ll see what a witch hunt really looks like.

    The funny thing about that is; climate science just about resembles witchcraft at this point; a pinch of brisle cone, toasted just so to get the right flavor, hair of a polar bear drowned in the arctic ocean, a touch of inverted thermometer and say the magic incantation; IPCC science is settled deniers funded by big oil, IPCC science is settle deniers funded by big oil and POOF; you’ve got Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    And the people will pay you to keep it away. Not so different from the witchdoctors of old.

  75. Polar bears live around 25 years, which is about 9000 days. If there are north of 20,000 polar bears alive today, then they die off at a little over two per day.

    It seems reasonable to me that, over the decades of research in the arctic, eventually somebody will see a couple of these dead polar bears floating around in the water.

  76. So Monnet’s paper was peer reviewed by his wife and Andrew Desrocher, who disinvited polar bears world specialist Mitchell Taylor in 2009… and who received a research grant from a committe in which Monnet was an influent member.

    Here is Desrocher’s 2009 claim to fame:
    “Hi Mitch,

    The world is a political place and for polar bears, more so now than ever before. I have no problem with dissenting views as long as they are supportable by logic, scientific reasoning, and the literature.

    I do believe, as do many PBSG members, that for the sake of polar bear conservation, views that run counter to human induced climate change are extremely unhelpful. In this vein, your positions and statements in the Manhattan Declaration, the Frontier Institute, and the Science and Public Policy Institute are inconsistent with positions taken by the PBSG.

    I too was not surprised by the members not endorsing an invitation. Nothing I heard had to do with your science on harvesting or your research on polar bears – it was the positions you’ve taken on global warming that brought opposition.

    Time will tell who is correct but the scientific literature is not on the side of those arguing against human induced climate change. I look forward to having someone else chair the PBSG.

    Best regards,
    Andy (Derocher)”

  77. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding this issue.

    Firstly, the observational note was a hypothesis – that is, an Inference to the Best Explanation, a bog standard fundamental in rational thinking and science. It took what data there was and constructed the most parsimonious (economical) explanation relating the phenomena observed. Using only the information available, the likeliest explanation is that the polar bears drowned during a storm. It’s possible they died under different circumstances, but there is no available data for the period to support a different conclusion. They may have been shot by hunters, but none were observed, therefore a hypothesis postulating hunters as cause of death is much weaker. There is no data for that.

    The first paragraph of the study makes it clear that the hypothesis is concerned with natural mortality of polar bears. Climate change comes into it as part of the consequent prediction (remember, a good hypothesis has to be falsifiable), and the prediction is this: if Arctic sea ice continues to recede, we should see more dead polar bears in the water. The possibility of sea ice decline is mentioned as a potentiality. Climate change in the Arctic is a premise, not a conclusion.

    To make that clear, the mongraph doesn’t argue that climate change is definitely occurring, or that global warming caused polar bears to drown. It says that if the Arctic ice edge continues to retreat, more floating dead polar bears fshould be observed. This is something that can be tested, and indeed there are current research projects, at least one of which Monnett was overseeing until he was suspended, where bears have been collared so they may be tracked.

    If this was a criminal investigation, Monnett’s note would analagous to a detective finding evidence and constructing a case. Not a proven case, just a lead that bears (no pun intended) further investigation – and that is what Monnett recommends.

    There is also some misconception regarding the polar data. It is referenced in the monograph, and again in the interviews with Monnett and with his co-worker, Gleason. Both refer to a computer database and hand-written notebooks from which observational data was taken. Monnett could not remember if the notebook data had been transferred to computer. Gleason vouched that it had been. Observed data included, “date, time, latitude, longitude [of the aircraft], aircraft heading, species, total number, observer, behaviour… size… habitat… sea ice type, sea ice coverage, sea state, visibility, weather, glare and response to aircraft” of bo2w whales and polar bears (that’s a direct quote from the 2005 monograph). The database extends over 36 years (from the Gleason interview), and Monnett referenced data from the period 1987 – 2004, presumably because that period had sufficient information on polar bears. Researchers included more and more detailed data of sightings over the years. You can easily see in the monograph annual figures of bear sightings and distance from land when in the water. Obviously, this was not gleaned from Monnett querying previous researchers on the flyover program – that was something he did in addition to formalizing the data for the study. And it was a responsible thing to do because, as many here have noted already, polar bears were not the primary interest on the field trips. Basically, talking to other researchers about it was double-checking.

    Finally, Monnett does not say that there have never been polar bears floating in the water before. From the monograph: “To our knowledge we report here the first observations of polar bears floating dead off-shore and presumed drowned..”

    There is no substitute for going to the source material. Speculation is fine, but worthwhile speculation should be based on facts, whether you are Charles Monnett or an internet blog commenter.

    Out of curiosity, if anyone has fully read the 2005 study prior to this post, could you say so? I hypothesise, based on the comments here (that’s my data source), that virtually no one has done so, and I’d like to test that against honest replies.

    (Of course, I have no way to test for honesty, so the results would be provisional)

  78. Bob Shapiro says:
    August 12, 2011 at 10:01 am
    Polar bears live around 25 years, which is about 9000 days. If there are north of 20,000 polar bears alive today, then they die off at a little over two per day.

    It seems reasonable to me that, over the decades of research in the arctic, eventually somebody will see a couple of these dead polar bears floating around in the water.

    Strange that no one has seen/photographed any dead polar bears floating in the sea since 2006 though
    “not counting the one shot two weeks ago in Svalbard”

  79. For anyone interested in a ‘cooler heads’ take on this, globalwarming.org, a conservative blog on global warming policy, gets the facts straight.

    http://www.globalwarming.org/2011/08/11/is-boemre-harrassing-polar-bear-biologist-charles-monnett/

    Don’t be put off by the site name – this is the opening paragraph form their ‘contributors’ page.

    Globalwarming.org is the blog of the Cooler Heads Coalition, an ad hoc coalition of more than two dozen free market and conservative non-profit groups in the U. S. and abroad that question global warming alarmism and oppose energy-rationing policies. GlobalWarming.org is one of the Coalition’s principal educational outreach activities.

    The article on the investigation of Monnett concludes:

    * The IG agents’ claim to be investigating “allegations of scientific misconduct” flatly contradicts the DOI spokesperson’s claim that the investigation has “nothing to do with scientific integrity.”

    * The IG agents in the Feb. 23 interview bumble and stumble over basic algebra and utterly fail to reveal evidence of scientific misconduct.

    * If the transcript is indicative of the larger IG investigation, we may infer that Monnett is “likely” a target of political harassment.

    * If that proves to be the case, climate change skeptics, many of whom have been on the receiving end of threats and bullying, should roundly condemn the abuse.

    As an aside, It is supremely difficult in this debate to reach across the political divide and have a conversation that progresses from simple facts. Political differences and self-interest mire contributors in a game of sides, where winning is more important than understanding, and the talk focuses on character rather than content. Demonizing the target du jour is a much easier, self-satisfying pursuit than wrestling with the complexities and the result is that the basics are so distorted the conversation is almost always worthless. And this applies across the spectrum of views on climate change. I would love to see a post at WUWT, as there have been at other climate blogs, where the nature of the debate itself is examined critically as a way to improve it. As it stands, most of it is cowboys and indians firing bullets and arrows with ‘science’ etched on them. There has to be a better way.

  80. Knut, the Berlin Zoo polar bear died of an apparent aneurism and fell into the water dead on the spot. Nothing to do with “global warming”. Now whilst I’m not making light of any animals death in the wild, to observe bears floating in the ocean (no mention of how far out to sea the bears were observed) and not being in a position to do study on the corpses to find out the cause of death, it appears awfully presumptuous to link their death to “global warming”.
    And Al Gore has been proved time and time again to be an A class Richard Cranium, so no great surprises there that he tries to make a story out of unproved data.

  81. to observe bears floating in the ocean… and not being in a position to do study on the corpses to find out the cause of death, it appears awfully presumptuous to link their death to “global warming”.

    Monnett didn’t do that. Who did?

  82. POLAR-BEAR-GATE 2011 – That Feb 23rd Grilling …..

    An Actor reads the Charles Monnett Grilling Transcript

    In this audio recording, an actor reads the transcript of the interview between
    Special Agent, Eric May from the US Government, and Dr. Charles Monnett,
    the so called, “Polar Bear Expert” who caused such a panic with regard to reports
    about several bears deaths, which he claimed at the time, were caused by AGW

    At the time Dr. Monnett was supposed to be studying Bowhead Whales

    When you hear this read, the disingenuous nature of this “research” becomes obvious

    The recording lasts for about 2 hours & 30 minutes. Hear it at the website Linked to
    the name “Axel”. – The Fraudulent Climate of Hokum Science – Loads of other recordings.

  83. @barry (August 15, 2011 at 1:52 am)

    Monnet unjustly exaggerates the number of dead bears by extrapolation. Furthermore he attributes the scarcity of sea ice to man’s activities. He then goes on to claim that they must have died as the result of high seas, due to a storm, and that they must have drowned because of the shortage of ice. In this roundabout way he alludes to these conclusions.

    However the interview reals a level of scientific ineptitude that is hard to comprehend. Monnet was supposed to be studying the Migration Habits of the Bowhead Whale, yet he seems to have been bumbling along, with almost a contempt for proper scientific accounting. Unable to even take photographs because he couldn’t see (“my eyesight has gone you know”). “Some of the data recorders were better than others”, Monnett tells us casually, that the computer program wasn’t any good for recording the things they wanted to.

    Then instead of employing a professional photographer, he sent “Jeff (Gleason) to take pictures of ducks, at the hotel”, in an effort to learn to use the camera, and that Gleason’s pictures of Polar Bears were blurred and looked like a “Pillsbury Doughboy”, ( http://is.gd/doughboy ).

    His explanations of how he arrived at the extrapolated figures for more than 20 dead Polar Bears, which he never even saw (imaginary) are a muddle of gobbledegook, and seem like an attempt to confuse the investigators with pompous jargon. Neither Monnett, nor any of his advisors appear to have realised just how incompetent and ineffectual he is revealed to be. Monnett & Gleason’s Arctic “research” antics comes across like an episode of “Pingu”.

    $50 million dollars of disbursements, for that sort slapdash farcical “research” is not good value for the taxpayer, quite apart from anything else. The fact that Al Gore and others used this as proof is reprehensible, deplorable, and probably criminal.

  84. Axel,

    Monnett reports exactly how many dead bears he saw, and multiplies that number by the percent of area hit by the storm but not overflown, to suggest the possible number of bears that may have been affected. The first number is that observed. The second number is hypothetical as he clearly states. And that’s what you do when making a hyothesis. What would have been faulty reasoning was if he had said that the bears that he had observed represented the actual total number of dead bears for the entire research area.

    Furthermore he attributes the scarcity of sea ice to man’s activities.

    At no time does he attribute the scarcity of sea ice to ‘man’s activities’. Or if you think I am wrong, please cite from the study where this is done.

    He then goes on to claim that they must have died as the result of high seas, due to a storm, and that they must have drowned because of the shortage of ice.

    Wrong language. The hypothesis is constructed from only the data at hand, and the methodology is straightforward, bog standard scientific speculation – Inference to the Best Explanation. Less ice means choppier water during a wind storm and more distance for the bears to swim, four bears are discovered in the one week after the storm, this is the first time floating dead bears have been observed – simplest, most economical explanation of the deaths is that they drowned in high water. It is speculation, not what ‘must’ have happened, as you put it.

    The paper doesn’t say “this is what happened”, it says, “this is the most likely explanation based on the data.” It’s not about ‘claims’, or what ‘must’ have happened, it’s speculation. A hypothesis.

    You are mistaking the political consequences of this paper with the science that underpins it. Climate change activists are guilty of stretching components of this study way beyond its scientific limits, and they certainly have made bold ‘claims’. The monograph itself is properly caveated as speculative. Monnett is the wrong target here.

  85. $50 million dollars of disbursements, for that sort slapdash farcical “research”

    Axel, you are also conflating two separate issues. The $50 million is the alleged total funding for the research portfolios Monnett is overseeing in his recent capacity as projects manager. That figure has nothing to do with the original polar bear study, which was managed by someone else.

    His explanations of how he arrived at the extrapolated figures for more than 20 dead Polar Bears, which he never even saw (imaginary) are a muddle of gobbledegook, and seem like an attempt to confuse the investigators with pompous jargon.

    The maths is so simple even a maths dummy like me can do it. But I’ll simplify it even more here.

    In the transect area representing 11% of the total study area affected by the wind storm, there are four live bears in the water, and three dead ones. Multiply 11 by 9 to get 99 (virtually 100%) per cent of land area. multiply 4 by 9 (36) to estimate potential total number of live bears, and 3 by 9 (27) to estimate potential total number of dead bears in the water. This is extrapolation in its most basic form, and this is what was done in the paper.

    It’s junior school maths, and if the investigators had trouble understanding it, that raises concerns about their fitness for the investigation, and about the premise for the investigation itself.

    And the figures are hypothetical, remember, not meant to be actual. Nor are they presented as actual. It’s all part of the ‘what if’ nature of hypothesis.

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