NOAA Determines Ribbon Seals Should Not be Listed as Endangered – say ice will continue to form

(Note: image above and my emphasis added below. What is unlcear is what climate models the reviewed and whether they accepted or rejected it’s results.  – Anthony)

Contact:          Sheela McLean                                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

907-586-7032                                      Dec. 23, 2008

NOAA Determines Ribbon Seals Should Not be Listed as Endangered

NOAA today announced that ribbon seals are not in current danger of extinction or likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, and should not be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

On Dec. 20, 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned NOAA’s Fisheries Service to list the ribbon seal under the Endangered Species Act. The petition said the seal faced extinction by the end of the century due to rapid melting of sea ice resulting from global warming.  Sea-ice in the Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, Sea of Japan, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea is the seal’s primary habitat. Today’s announcement is the result of NOAA’s review of this petition and the condition of the ribbon seal.

“Our scientists have reviewed climate models that project that annual ice, which is critical for ribbon seal reproduction, molting and resting, will continue to form each winter in the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk where the majority of ribbon seals are located,” said Jim Balsiger, NOAA’s acting assistant administrator for fisheries.

From March to June, ribbon seals use sea ice. As the ice melts during May and June, the seals haul out along the receding ice edge or in remnant patches of ice. Once the annual ice melts, most ribbon seals either migrate through the Bering Strait into the Chukchi Sea or remain in the open water of the Bering Sea during the rest of the year.

Although the number of ribbon seals is difficult to estimate accurately, scientists believe that at least 200,000 ribbon seals inhabit the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.

Commercial hunting for ribbon seals is prohibited in the United States. Alaska Natives take a small number – fewer than 200 – each year for subsistence. Russia allows a harvest of ribbon seals, but there is currently no organized harvest industry and the number of seals taken is likely to be very low.

            NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit

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NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center:

NOAA’s Fisheries Service Alaska Region:

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But the seals are so cute! Surely we can’t forget about the poor little seals! I mean, our funding could depend on this!

Frank Mosher

OT i know, but daily sat. data is again available. It was missing for three days, and withdrawl was setting in. Theoretical discussion is OK, but i am more of a data junkie. SST, ENSO, PDO, etc. That kind of thing. Anthony’s call of La Nina is looking more and more likely all the time.

Let’s see.
1. Seals use the ice when it’s there.
2. When the ice is gone, seals go do something else.
Sounds like a crisis to me. I’m all for huddling around a dung fire in my mud hut so that the seals can sun themselves.


Seals rescued by quick reaction to climate change more CO2 sequestering should insure their future. Currently warming has been masked by seasonal changes.

Power Engineer

Center for biological diversity –
“dude, NOAA, your seriously blowing this for us. You were supposed to say that the seal was in danger and people are to blame. Thats what the deal was!…now we have to make a commercial of the earth exploding because CO2 went up 1 ppm.”

Kum Dollison

What is the status on that little mini-La Nina that was trying to get going?

Richard deSousa

Okay, who’s the joker for painting the seal?… 😉

Frank Mosher

Anna had a previous post detailing geothermal inputs. Well done! Geothermal may well contribute more to Earth’s “heat budget” than is acknowledged. Also, virtually impossible to model. Oceanic “hot spots”, in arctic or sub-arctic waters can not be solar forcing, and are clearly not a result of AGW. I still say that the climate is very complex, and does not lend itself to “modeling”, in any useful way.


Good, there will be ice and seals for the polar bears in that region.

Richard deSousa

Seems like three possible scenarios.
A) – NOAA accepts the claim by the Center for Biological Diversity that the seals face extinction if the ice continues to melt but does not think the ice will melt (or is melting as rapidly as previously believed) and therefore recommends removing the seals from the endangered species list.
B) NOAA does not accept that melting ice endangers the seals.
C) NOAA does not care for ribbon seals

Bill Marsh

Is Homo Sapiens Sapiens subject to consideration for protection under the Endangered Species Act??

Pamela Gray

Painted? Take a closer look. Who skinned a penguin down South and zipped it onto a seal up North?

Kum Dollison

WHAT Polar Bears? They’re going to be extinct due to all the ice melting. . . . . . Oh, wait . . . . . .
puzzled, scratches head

John Galt

Next thing you know, they’ll proclaim something silly like Polar bears aren’t threatened just because their population keeps growing. Don’t they realize computer models prove the Arctic is in danger?

Bill Illis

Maybe they were too quick with this decision.
NSIDC says the arctic ice started melting again about 2 weeks ago: -25C temperatures but apparently there is no freezing at these temps.

OLympus Mons

Hi all,
OT: how come canada is at risk of having the first total “white Christmas” since 1971 and the AMSR-E is showing that huge regression. Can someone explain. thanks.

Patrick Henry

Surprising that ice can form at -30F. They must have hired some genius recently who figured that out. Another Nobel prize perhaps?


So. There IS enough ice for seals, but NOT enought for polar bears?


Anthony, have you been able to find any current graphical data from NASA Goddard’s Earthshine measurements? I am curious to see what the recent trends have been, and wonder if anyone has tried to correlate sunspot activity with earthshine data.


Currently warming has been masked by seasonal changes.
I wasn’t aware that seasonal changes could last 10 years.

John W.

Breaking: World doesn’t end. News at 11.
BTW, what do Ribbon Seals taste like?

Tee Jay

Garbage in, Gospel out


“Our scientists have reviewed climate models that project that annual ice, which is critical for ribbon seal reproduction, molting and resting, will continue to form each winter in the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk where the majority of ribbon seals are located,”
Notice how they qualify that statement to include only two specific areas. That bails them out of the polar bear paradox (seals are ok because there will be plenty of ice but polar bears are endangered because there won’t be any ice).
What tangled webs we weave …

That seal is so BEAUTIFUL… that black-and-white Arctic energy, those incredibly circular curves and sharp delineations… Anyone here know about the seal legends?
OT dear friends.
Sometimes I just can’t get to WUWT before it’s gone those two or three critical days out of date – when there are so many interesting topics emerging that people want to discuss. I’m using our forum as a place to deepen discussion – much the same topics we find here. Please feel free to pick up items started here and continue them there if you need a longer time frame to develop ideas. Some already exist. Same courtesy rules and same concern for good science! It’s still only a little forum but it seems to be growing almost by itself now.

anna v

More on geothermals and the arctic
this is from 2003:
Marine scientists on a maiden voyage to the remote area near the North Pole discovered at least nine submarine vents spewing sizzling fountains — and portending the possible existence of exotic life — along the Gakkel ridge, a barely budging mid-ocean mountain chain 3 miles below the Arctic icecap.
The researchers were caught off guard by the series of undersea vents belching steamy sprays from Earth’s belly in the deepest, most remote portion of the global system of ocean ridges.

Gakkel ridge, which snakes for 1,100 miles from far north of Greenland to the Laptev Sea off the coast of Siberia, creeps along at less than 1 centimeter a year. As a comparison, the bulging ridges in the Pacific Ocean widen 20 times faster.
No one had previously looked for hydrothermal vents on the Gakkel ridge because of the time and expense involved in breaking surface ice to analyze the water below. Edmonds searched the ridge for vents as an extra on an expedition with the primary purpose of dredging rocks from the ocean floor to study how the Earth’s crust forms.
In this fashion, Edmonds obtained 145 water “profiles,” located nine hydrothermal vents to within a few miles and pegged three other areas as likely hot springs sites.
The findings point to how much humans still have to learn about their home planet, scientists said.

At least they didn’t paint bulleyes on their sides.
I have concluded that by the time this winter is over, the hoax will be toast. How can it get so cold with the CO2 rising.


I don’t get it. Polar bears are on the endangered list because ice WILL MELT IN THE FUTURE, but seals are not going on the same list because ice WILL NOT MELT IN THE FUTURE. !?!

Ed Scott

Cognative dissonance update.
More On Cognitive Dissonance
“The End Of The World Is/Is Not Nigh!”
“…this is precisely what is happening to our media with respect to the increasingly unequivocal ‘knowledge’ that we have now entered a cooling period in climate. They are starting to experience a powerful dissonance because of their strong promulgation over the last 20 years of the doomsday, catastrophic view of ‘global warming’.
“Media reaction to the new ‘cognition’ is thus classic. It involves, above all, ignoring the cooling, but also mis-reporting the cooling, denying the cooling, or trying to create a new consonant cognition, one in which the cooling actually becomes a part of the catastrophic ‘global warming’ belief.”
“If the cooling phase in climate continues, media and political dissonance will increase to stress point.”
“…some media may become even more rabid in their presentation of ‘global warming’ disasters, showing yet more drowning polar bears, plunging ice sheets, dangerous mosquitoes, flooded cities, and barren lands. For this to happen, Festinger states that two conditions must be met:”
“(1)The belief must be held with very deep conviction, and it must have relevance to promoted actions, that is, to what the believer does, or how they want people to behave. For the ‘global warming’ cult, and for those in the media who have uncritically adopted editorial positions as champions of the ‘Green’ agenda, this is precisely the case, ranging from changing light bulbs to recycling, from abandoning SUVs to wearing hemp undies, from wind farms to solar panels; and,”
“(2) The person holding the belief must have committed to it. Such is worryingly true of some media that have abandoned their normal critical stance as journalists in favour of preaching.”
“Historians, long hence, will surely have a fascinating time analysing the rise and fall of the cult of catastrophic ‘global warming’. Even now it is possible to detect close parallels with the pattern of many traditional doomsday cults. And, it is particularly interesting to note that scientists are just as susceptible to such cults as non-scientists.”

Just imagine an electronic game called “Climate Change”…It would be a real success at the stores..(something Al Gore didn´t think)

Frank Mosher: I still say that the climate is very complex, and does not lend itself to “modeling”, in any useful way.
I’ll tell you a story about that. I have a friend who has been building a very complex model for the last 20 years or more. Apparently, every week there are two “draws”, where 6 balls are chosen from a random pool of 49. The benefit of correctly predicting which 6 are chosen is a substantial financial reward.
Twice a week he inputs the latest observations, and draws upon 20+ years of data in order to create a prediction. Every week he purchases a few of these “lottery” tickets with his predictions. He has attempted to use several methods, including statistical, weight of ink on the balls, when they replace the ball sets, predicting static electric charge on the ball selection mechanism (ie. tracking humidity at the draw location!), and a bunch of other things I can never remember. To date he has never yet achieved better than 2 in 6 accuracy.
Oddly enough, he constantly adjusts his models. Saturday’s draw, for example, is correctly predicted by his tweaked model… unfortunately, it is only predicted AFTER knowing Saturday’s results.
My own method is to wait until the “jackpot” is over $10 million, then allow the “lottery” computers to randomly choose for me 2 or 3 tickets. I have achieved a best result of 4 of 6, and have several times achieved 3 of 6.
His model is currently over 4Mb compiled of C++ code, with several Gb of data. Even on a 3GHz QuadCore, it takes almost a full minute to spit out a prediction. I have no idea exactly what his voodoo model is doing, but it’s complex and in depth. Unfortunately, it also does not work, and cannot work.
Anyway… those seals look mighty tasty! Usually seal meat is quite fatty, you have to cook them fairly long and drain the fat several times. Kind of like Canada Goose. But they’re good nourishment if you’re out snowmobiling on the tundra or something like that.


I just double-dog-dare anyone who doesn’t remember the joke to google “monkey bar penguin seal” and not laugh at the video.
Go on. Double-dog-dare ya 😉


Are monkeys endangered now too???

Leon Brozyna

Turning down of the petition is only temporary.
Obama’s appointment of that marine biologist to NOAA will ‘fix’ this problem and we’ll probably see the petition resubmitted next year with the seal being listed. I expect we’ll see a push via the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to raise the stakes on AGW. This will probably help to further the AGW agenda in Congress.


Little Ice Age Hastens Fall of Incas and Aztecs
I know this is off topic but the silliness continues. Just like the silliness about Ribbon Seals going extinct this article describes how when the Europeans came to Central America they spread disease which killed the indigenous people which reforested the lands the indians denuded and this reforestation sucked enough CO2 out of the atmosphere to cause the Little Ice Age!!!! Huh? I can’t believe stuff like this gets published. I would love to get the original work described here by Richard Nevle of Bellarmine College Preparatory School (yes College Prep School), in San Jose, Calif. and co-author Dennis Bird of Stanford University. This is compliments of the Discovery Channel.

Steven Hill

Too much ice causing Polar bear to stuggle in finding food. Global Warming blamed for the ice increase.

Wow, ribbon seals endangered, wow. They sure are pretty. If I had known about them before, I would have turned the heat down and quit driving to work a long time ago. I sure don’t want them little guys to become overheated because I’m emitting carbon. Endangering ice-loving animals is sure to be a great disaster to all of us. I’m not sure how, but hey, that’s what the media tells me. I believe everthing they say.

Ed Scott

Record Low Temperatures for The Past Week

Maybe NOAA hasn’t heard — the seas are going to boil! That’s what Hansen says, and he’s a scientist. Boiling seas can’t be good for Ribbon Seals.

Bill Marsh

When did NOAA start making determinations about whether animals should be protected under the Endangered Species Act?

Ed Scott

I wonder if there is data available from the CINDI-C/NOFS observations that would enable a comparison with the data from with the QST monthly propagation data and a possible correlation?
The K7RA Solar Update

Frank Mosher

The mini-La Nina is progressing. SOI is still positive, hovering around 13. SSTs in NINO 4 have been persistently cool, and now NINO 3, and to a lesser extent 1and 2 are showing signs of a La Nina developing. Upper ocean heat anomalies are cool and trending lower. Good weekly analysis is available at NCDC, under ENSO monitoring, at the weekly discussion. Updated on Mondays.

Mike Bryant

I applaud the commom sense displayed by NOAA. Do you suppose it might be contagious??? NAAAAAAAHHHHH…..


Frank Mosher
Do you have a link to the geothermal input posting?

Kum Dollison

Thanks, Frank.

Dave Andrews

OT but I thought this might be of interest. Tamino is running a thread on snowfall based on Rutgers University Snow Labs report of snowfall since the 1970’s. I asked how they got their results and how accurate they were. He responded with a section from their website. What struck me was the following
“Another advantage of the NOAA snow maps is their portrayal of regionally-representative snow extent, whereas maps based on ground station reports may be biased, due to the preferred position of weather stations in valleys and in places affected by urban heat islands, such as airports.”

james griffin

Is someone going to call Al Gore and tell him the good news (bad)


Mr. Baisiger is an “acting assistant administrator” does he have the authority to make a proclamation of this magnitude? Has he been briefed and is he up to date on policy? Has Doctor Hansen weighed in? This is all very confusing and way to complicated. I’m not sure of what to believe anymore.

Bill Marsh (12:10:35) :
When did NOAA start making determinations about whether animals should be protected under the Endangered Species Act?

I was under the impression NOAA chose animals… two by two… 🙂


Quote by TerryBixler
“……Currently warming has been masked by seasonal changes.”
And,,,so my friend “TerryBixler”,,,, the flip side of that coin is,,,,,,,,,,,,,
A cooling period is eventually temporarily masked by seasonal changes as well;
we call that two sided coin “weather”
It warms up, it cools down, it warms up, it cools down,,,,,,,over & over & over.
These “seasonal changes” have varried in length, varry in length now, and
will continue to varry in length long after you donate your last nickle to Gore and friends.