Canadian Harp Seals In New England ("prediction" of cooling?)

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/image/27255120/detail.html

Canadian Harp Seals may have “read” the predictions of the coming decades of stabilization of global temperatures and perhaps some cooling. Animals like the Harp Seal have experienced many millions of years of climatic change and, through the complex processes of evolution and natural selection, may have developed an ability to sense coming changes.

This is from The Boston Channel:

Small numbers of juvenile harp seals are typically found each winter stranded along the coast of the northeastern United States. But this year, well over 100 adult harp seals – not juveniles – have been spotted … In some areas they’re reporting three times the normal number of sightings … we’ve had four sightings of adult harp seals in North Carolina, which we’ve never had before. We typically don’t see them that far south. …

For now, there is no clear explanation for why more seals are showing up in U.S. waters, said Gordon Waring, who heads the seal program at NOAA’s fisheries science center in Woods Hole, Mass.

They could be making their way south because of climatic conditions or perhaps in search of food, Waring said.

“These animals are known to wander a lot,” Waring said. “Whether they’re following food down or whatever, we don’t really have a good understanding of it.”

Garron said she and the seal organizations will look at environmental trends, such as water temperatures, to see if it’s influencing the harp seal range.

Regardless of the reason, biologists are taking notice, Doughty said.

Read more from The Boston Channel here.

Here is a 2009 WUWT item about Henrik Svensmark and his Global Cosmic Ray theory of how reduced Solar activity leads to cooling periods. Svensmark says “In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. And this means that the projections of future climate are unreliable …”

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Robert of Ottawa

Nah, nah, they were pining for the fjords of Conneticut. Or it may have been global warming wot dunnit.

Josh Grella

It’s quite obviously worse than we thought! It’s getting so hot in the north that those poor seals have to abandon their normal territory and look for cold elsewhere. The shame. When will the virus known as humanity ever learn?
/sarc

What do they taste like?

Adam

It’s really hard to say anything about this at this point. We don’t want to be like some and jump to conclusions too early and thus ruin our credibility. It could just be a fluke. Maybe the seals are reacting to our unusually cold winter, or perhaps there is another reason.

Physics Major

“These animals are known to wander a lot,” Waring said. “Whether they’re following food down or whatever, we don’t really have a good understanding of it.”

Isn’t it time to admit that we don’t have good understanding of most of what goes on in the natural world and stop blaming everything that we don’t understand on CO2?

Latitude

knowing that they need thin ice in order to make breathing holes………..

kim

Given the concatenation of the cooling phases of the oceanic oscillations, the curious Cheshire Cat Sunspots, and the apparent weakness of CO2 as a warming agent, global cooling over the near to medium term is a lot more likely than global warming. Bet on it.
======================

Jimbo

Slowly but surely nature is humbling these alarmists. As one Warmist researcher put it about Mt. Kilimanjaro:

“The only opinion that matters is nature’s. Nature has a way of humbling us all. It still remains to be seen just who that will be.”
Source

Don’t be surprised if a pal reviewed paper is produced showing that the seals moved south because of super hot temperatures in the Arctic.

steve

Just fine for the harp seals. But a LIA won’t be so kind to the human species.
Something the warmists keep forgetting.

Andrew30

“…through the complex processes of evolution and natural selection, may have developed an ability to sense coming changes.”
This is basicly incorrect. Creature do not ‘develop’ the ability to survive, natural selection simple kills the ones that were not born with the ability to survive. It is this critical point that answers the question ‘How did the xxx develop yyy?’. The answer is: It did not, the ones born without yyy died out, only the xxx’s with yyy are left.
Species do not ‘develop’ to survive, they develop IF they survive.
(sorry, it just irks me when people mix this up, I think it is a critical point in understanding natural selection )

I am still not fully convinced about the magnitude of the solar activity on the Earth’s temperature. I think there is an intermediate step involving ocean cycles, but that is total conjecture.
I do think cooling will happen, primarily the NH summers will start to be cooler as the obliquity is decreasing. This also means that winters will not cool as quickly. The broad interactions of changing energy to the Earth from the Sun does not result in a neat linear change in temperature, but bursts of cooling and warming that take place over hundreds of years. I do fear that the next cooling phase will make the LIA look pleasant by comparison…
If that doesn’t scare you, nothing will. Feeding 9 billion when 60% of the current cropland is too cold should raise eyebrows more than the idea of more farmland from warmer climate.
Summer is over, Fall is fading. Winter is coming.

Jimmy Haigh

The seals have obviously been listening to the ‘experts’.

R. Shearer

Florida sounds like a good destination.

Joshua

Just curious. I remember seeing reports that of observed changes in migratory patterns in animals and zone changes in plants, the vast majority are consistent with global warming. I’ve also seen studies that very high percentages of animals studied showed temperature related changes consistent with global warming.
Does this post suggest that you believe those studies to be false, or that there will be some kind of dramatic turn-around?
Or, would you just be cherry-picking?

Here is a 2009 WUWT item about Henrik Svensmark and his Global Cosmic Ray theory of how reduced Solar activity leads to cooling periods. Svensmark says “In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. And this means that the projections of future climate are unreliable …”
The long-term changes in cosmic ray intensity have been so small [e.g. http://www.puk.ac.za/opencms/export/PUK/html/fakulteite/natuur/nm_data/data/SRU_Graph.jpg ] that one cannot blame the cooling on the cosmic rays. But we don’t have to, any complex system fluctuates all by itself.

Gary Hladik

Maybe we should have a harp seal or two on the IPCC. Considering some of the current appointees, that would be an improvement.
My first choice, of course, would have been the late Knut, the polar bear.

Anything is possible

The thought that the humble Harp Seal has a better ability to predict future climate changes than the combined “intelligence” of all the worlds Climate Scientists and their GCM’s with gazillions of mega-bytes of processing power, is one that I find absolutely freaking hilarious. Please let it be true.
Oh! The humility!

Clive

Interesting story. Wonder how this will be spun by warmers?
I also wonder if the seals opted for the pat down search or the body scanner when they crossed the border. ☺

Jeremy

You can see the immediate faulty logic in the article.
We have not seen this before therefore there must be a “reason”.
If there is a reason then it might be bad.
If it is bad then it is probably caused by man.
OMG we have simply got to study this!
Who knows? Maybe the Harp Seals are simply smart enough to go where they please.

Jeremy

After all, plenty of other types of Canadians go south to Florida for the winter?

P.F.

I don’t believe that photo of a seal is a harp seal, at least certainly not an adult. Coloration is not right for an adult harp and isn’t that close to juvenile harp either (known as “beaters” or “bedlamers” depending on age). Head shape is wrong too. I believe it is a harbor seal.
Vagrant harps are known to Virginia, so North Carolina isn’t a surprise. There have been some reports of Caribbean monk seals (extinct species for a hundred years) in the Caribbean that were thought to be harps on further consideration.

Well as we know from the examples of William Shatner, Steve MacIntyre of hockey stick fame (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_MacIntyre) as well as Steve McIntyre of anti-hockey stick fame, Ross McKitrick and humbly yours truly, many Canadians are a discerning bunch, so welcome your Canadian Harp Seal Overlords with open arms and embrace Canada’s best export yet to your shores: the Arctic Climate Zone. It’s brisk and crisp isn’t it? It’s the best way that Canada will ever export it’s unique identity, other than beer, hockey, or touks, that is eh. Now what color of touk do you want to go with that sub freezing chill you got?
While often mistaken for being too polite Canadians have an analytic bite that digs deep and hits the target and once one of us gets deep into it we just won’t let go, as exemplified by folks like Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit, seemingly polite to a fault (he won’t call data fabrication a scientific fraud) but tenaciously stubborn when he senses tasty fraudulent data fabrication aka blood aka false claims of those who should know better (Mann, Jones, Briffa, Walh, et. al.). The Harp Seals are on a mission to provide a more direct Canadian experience for those south of 49.
We Canadians do have one apology to make…. Please forgive us, we had to get rid of him and that means sending him south: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GueojgiM-cg.
Oh and with the Harp Seals you can eat a few of them but save us the baby seals as they are the best. So cute.
[:)] Now what color of touk works for you?

Andrew

Something tells me that soon GreenPeace will announce that this has nothing to do with cooler temps, ’cause that can’t be happening’, but rather the repeated ‘stick shampoo’s’ the baby seals are getting up in The Great White North!

Curiousgeorge

Spring break? 🙂

Sean Peake

Harp Seals: the essential ingredient of a Club Sandwich?

Caleb

More seals mean less fish. Seals prefer fish over six inches long, which means there will be less big fish eating little fish. This may explain recently reported population explosions of small herring in Maine, which in a few cases have migrated up rivers in such numbers that they used up all the oxygen and died in droves.
However a single codfish can lay over a million eggs. Hopefully many millions of little codfish are now growing up. Once they get over six inches they will start eating herring, and there will not be enough seals to put a dent in the exploding codfish population.
Anyone who has lived by the sea has witnessed the amazing increases and decreases in the populations of everything from clams to squid to herring to codfish to seals.
Anyone who has been at a university knows the thing to do is to blame man, and especially fishermen, for any variation from a fictional steady-state population. Then you follow by claiming you can “properly manage” the wild sea, if you are given the power to boss fishemen, and mankind, and the ocean, around.
Anyone who has been at sea knows you don’t boss it around. The sea bosses you.

Pamela Gray

And guess what animal loves to EAT these seals?

This is all part of a cunning plan to take over New England. First we send in the Harp Seals, then the Mounties. It will be ours before long!
Mwa ha ha…

Kevin says:
March 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm
What do they taste like?
Awful.

But… but… Henrik Svensmark being right would mean Leif Svalgaard being… wrong?
Leif is a world’s foremost solar scientist, right? Leif told us all what real science is, and what homegrown voodoo amateurish blah-blah is everything else…
Poor, poor us, ignorant unpublished masses! We are left in total confusion.

Steve from rockwood

Could they be escaping polar bears?
/sarc

Ed MacAulay

Just so many of them up here with the lack of predators, they have swamped the ocean and are moving out to find elbow or flipper room.
Perhaps an opportunity for a new green, renewable, sustainable industry for the New England folks who need employment. Some experienced Newfoundlanders could perhaps be enticed to come South for a wee bit and train some Yankee sealers.

Andrew30 says:
March 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm
Species do not ‘develop’ to survive, they develop IF they survive.
That needed to be said.

Elizabeth

For all the stories of shrinking harp seal populations, their numbers have been steadily increasing since the early 70s (dept of fisheries and oceans Canada): http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/seal-phoque/seal_hunt-chasse_phoque-eng.htm
In Canada, their numbers have increased from less than 2 million in the early 1970’s to 9 million in 2010. Not the perspective environmentalists would offer, but increasing population could be an explanation for increased sightings further south. Furthermore, the fact of increasing populations contradicts the assertion that warming is bad for harp seals.

Al Gored

Ed MacAulay says:
March 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm
“Just so many of them up here with the lack of predators, they have swamped the ocean and are moving out to find elbow or flipper room.”
Exactly. There are vagrant individuals in all animal populations. The higher their populations, the greater chance of vagrants. That is the underlying ’cause’ of this, which may be helped by this winter’s weather, or not.

Clive

Joshua says: Just curious. I remember seeing reports that of observed changes in migratory patterns in animals and zone changes in plants, the vast majority are consistent with global warming. I’ve also seen studies that very high percentages of animals studied showed temperature related changes consistent with global warming.
Like frinstance Joshua? What papers have shown unequivocally that changes to habits are based solely on global warming? Or maybe the changes were merely assumed to be caused by GW. And how do contemporary changes differ from changes in animal and plant habits in other decades and centuries? And how would we know in a mere 20 or 30 years that these were unique shifts in habits vs. natural shifts and fluctuations that come and go with the decades and centuries?
Just wondering about this and look forward to your reply Joshua.
Thanks and regards,
Clive

Paul Vaughan

What southward species are normally the main competitors? And what is happening with them recently? Mountain hemlock, for example does well down in the warm valleys (as an ornamental), but is relegated to the wintery peaks (in nature) due to inability to compete for prime habitat. Species don’t end up living with snow & ice (i.e. on the fringes) because the “like” it; on the contrary, tolerating physical adversity is a way to avoid intense biological competition for prime resources.

Paul Vaughan

…Also, are there southward species that are normally hostile, aggressive, &/or predatory towards the seals? And what is happening with these species recently?

Randy Links

Elizabeth beat me to it…perhaps nothing at all to do with warming, cooling or whatever atmospheric. Maybe. the environ”mentalists” were so successful with a media campaign that the population has exploded and many animals are just moving south to find space and a feed in a less competitive setting..

P.G. Sharrow

It appears that Harp seals are smarter the Climate Scientists and their computers. pg

DonS

A Canadian species with which I am familiar, namely the donna, insegnante di scuola, regularly appeared as far south as Fort Walton Beach, Fl, in the late 1960s and early 70s, during both summer and late fall months. I can tell you that my research into this phenonenem was detailed and rewarding. I conclude that the harp seal is following similar south-centric behavior.

D Caldwell

Joshua said:
“Or, would you just be cherry-picking?”
Most of us here are in agreement that there has been at least some bit of global warming in the last 150 years. Why and how much are the real questions. Most of us here are also well aware and weary of all the reports (credible or not) of plant and animal behavior consistent with a warming world. Why would it not be of interest to also note animal behavior that is not consistent with a warming world?
Perhaps it is not the participants on this forum who are cherry picking.

Kirk W. Hanneman

Must be too warm in the Arctic for them. After all, if it’s cold here, it’s because it’s super-warm somewhere else, I’m told. Perhaps this isn’t the year for an Outer Banks vacation.

Rattus Norvegicus

A baby harp seal walks into a bar.
Bartender says: what’ll it be?
Baby harp seal: anything but a Canadian Club!

Paul Vaughan

Another factor to consider: Loss of birthing grounds, which would create intraspecies competition that would encourage dispersal. There was an MSM article alluding to this a few months ago. The issue at that time was a lack of ice [Gulf of St. Lawrence] (related to AO pattern at the time) and a shortage of beach space. There were concerns that storm surges would kill seals resorting to use of limited beaches. I’ve never worked on seals and I’ve never read the literature on them, but I know from first-hand research on other species that it isn’t always known to ecologists whether factors such as nesting site availability (for one example) are a stronger limiting factor than food availability.

JDN

They may be following the fish. What are the fish doing up north?

Animals like the Harp Seal have experienced many millions of years of climatic change and, through the complex processes of evolution and natural selection, may have developed an ability to sense coming changes.>>>
Or maybe something changed in the place that they were, they didn’t like it, and so they went somewhere else. Building climate cycles centuries long into seal DNA…that’s a stretch…. wait… when you said “read”, you didn’t mean…
That’s it. They can read. Probably the clams taught them.

Trevor

I personally don;t believe this has anything to do with global warming or cooling but closer to the option of following the food supply. Not quite however, it’s more along the line of the harp seal population has been steadily increasing and they have to go further afield to find enough food for them all. Just ask the cod fishermen in Eastern Canada about the shrinking fish stock. This is not because of over fishing by man as the limits allowed have steadily decreased, but caused by a larger population of seals eating the cod. Despite this constant harp seal population increase, our lovely old friend Greenpeace and their fellow eco terrorists insist on interfering with the legal harp seal hunt every year and spend fortunes lobbying against the hunt.

Paul R

Pamela Gray says:
March 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm
And guess what animal loves to EAT these seals?
Oh no, that means the cute and cuddly Arctic Koala’s will not be too far behind.