Al Gore's "drowned polar bear" AIT source under investigation

"ursus bogus"

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

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

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

Full story:

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

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

Where Are All The Drowning Polar Bears?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

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David

“they drowned because they had first been shot with tranquilizer darts and then slipped into the sea”
Hey this wasn’t the Disney producer who threw the Lemmings off the cliff was it? If nature doesn’t deliver a helping hand will.

Reminds me of 71. There was a tanker accident under the golden gate bridge and they gave all of us school “chillins” off to save the ducks (sea birds). So what kid would not take off and go to the beach??? Anyway, as we approached the birds to capture and clean them, they got spooked and swam out to sea and drowned from the oil on their feathers.
The worst danger to nature is man’s desire to help it. You would think we would have learned by now.

APACHEWHOKNOWS

They can not bear the truth.

pat

You know Polar Bears primarily live on land.

Tom

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

crosspatch

Ok, polar bears eat seals. Seals are mammals. Seals will often use holes in the ice to surface and rest and the polar bears search out those holes and eat them when they surface. Now if there is no ice, the seals will be kept closer to land as they must still surface to rest. The polar bears will have no need to hunt across miles of ice to find seals because all of the seals will be within easy reach of the beach.
If all the ice were to disappear, the polar bears would probably become fatter as they would not have to travel as far to find seals and would be able to catch more of them in a given season. The bears would probably also lose their white coat over time and revert to brown (through selection, the whitest bears would catch fewer seals and have less reproductive success, bears with a brown coat would be more successful hunters as they would be harder for the seals to see against the background).
My guess is that if all the ice disappeared, we would have a lot of very fat brown polar bears in only a few thousand years. The bears would look pretty much as they did before they evolved their current white coat (polar bears are simply an adapted brown bear).
Ice is not a polar bear nutrient. They don’t eat ice, they don’t need ice to survive. They simply use ice as a hunting ground for seals. If there is no ice, then there will be no seals miles out to sea on the ice, either, and the bears will have no reason to go so far to sea.

It is suspicious that an enviro group would charge in during an investigation, trying to rescue the subject of the probe. Whenever there is an internal investigation, the rule is non-interference, to allow the investigation to take its course. When the final report is issued, depending on the outcome, that’s when the lines are drawn and people can take sides.
Interference in a police investigation is a criminal offense. In a civil investigation, outside interests like Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility are expected to not interfere. It will be interesting to find out what their motivation is for stepping over the line in this case.

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

Tom says:
July 28, 2011 at 9:37 am
There’s a lot missing from the story. Monnett is suspended but won’t say why. Jeff Ruch, who is leader of a pro-environment watchdog group, says that the suspension is over the polar bear article, but could that just be smoke and mirrors? And if the article just said, “we found 4 dead polar bears and we imagine that this will get worse in the future” how is that scientific misconduct (other than the usual failure of peer review)? Why would Monnett be responsible for the misuse of his article by others? I get the feeling that something else is going on and that Ruch is throwing up the bears as a distraction or battlefield prep for when the real misconduct comes out.
================================================================
Of course this is all speculation, but it would be misconduct if there weren’t really any poley bears downed, or if it were staged in some fashion. No, it wouldn’t be his fault if some other pinhead abused the article.
As to the poor poley bears themselves…… lol, geez they’re brown (grizzly) bears! They’ll do just fine on the ground as well as on the ice.

Bill Illis

Last week, at the International Bear Association Conference, a paper was presented on the travel patterns of 68 GPS-collared female polar bears between 2004 and 2009. On average, more than half of the bears had long-distance swims over 50 kilometres in 2009. One-quarter of them made that distance in 2004, the year of the drownings. On average, they swam 150 kilometres in the water during a season. Some cubs may have been lost in these swims however since the mother bears where sighted on land later and no longer had cubs with them.
One bear was tracked simming in open ocean for nine days straight covering nearly 700 kms.
It is likely that the solid data presented here and that available over the last few years has called into question the published paper by Monnett on the 2004 drownings.
Polar bears can swim at 10 kms per hour so the nine days straight record means that they should never drown unless very sick or very young or some other unusual circumstance.

Kaboom

“Follow the money” with those 50 million in grant volume would be my best bet.

Frank K.

“But, truth be told, we have been withholding a piece of information this whole time. There were reports of drowning polar bears in 2007, and they were directly attributable to human activities. But they didn’t drown because of global warming, instead, they drowned because they had first been shot with tranquilizer darts and then slipped into the sea and were unable to be recovered.
Truth be told!? Why start now?
In happier news, I’m sure Charles Monnett’s substantial government funding will remain intact while he’s “on leave”…

When you say “where are the pictures of drowned polar bears”, its like suggesting to the environmental wackos that they go drown a few and take pictures to rebut the implication. On the other hand, this is why I’d like to see climate science litigated in court so people can see how flimsy and inadmissible much of the evidence is. If this were a common normal occurrence, it would be much better documented. Were others with Monnett when he saw the drowned bears that would help confirm the story? Scientists aren’t beyond making stuff up. They want attention and whatever they are doing isn’t getting them any, so they make up a story, fake a specimen or observation.
One example I’m familiar with is the range of the Utah Mountain Kingsnake. There is a specimen in the BYU collection, allegedly collected in Wallsburg, which is around 10 miles east of where I live in Orem, Utah. It is the only specimen that far north. Aside from it, all other specimens come from the Canyon Mountains by Oak City/Scipio area around 100 miles further south, and from there south into Arizona. In 2002-2004 the Utah Division of Wildlife funded (by paying mileage) for a dozen amateur herpetologists to locate as many of them as possible. This is by far the largest single effort to establish the range for this animal. Yet nobody found any further north than Canyon Mountains. Most of us who have an interest in this animal believe it was a faked location specimen caught somewhere else and reported as being from that northern location.
Also, I wonder why it would take so long for them to act on that particular story seven years later. I’m guessing there is something more recent that he’s done. Until we find out the reason, we’re just making stuff up.

gnomish

heh – so the protected polar bears killed in 2007 were whacked by the politicians in lab coats?
monnet loved the attention and now he’ll say it was nothing to do with him, eh?
[snip]
once the first confirmed, adjudicated and convicted fraudster is a matter of public record, it becomes definitional. watch how the rest collapses in short order.
you can count polar bears all your life, but get convicted of this fraud and nobody will greet you ‘hey poley.bear counter!’
it’s a shame that government certification of fraud is the token needed for this to become mainstream, but it is.
if this fraud is certified, it becomes extremely newsworthy. whitewashes have been saving them from redefinition for so long now.

R. Shearer

[snip – off color joke – Anthony]

ChE

I agree of Tom. This smells all shades of fishy. Something else going on.

Austin

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

PaulH

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

grayman

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

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

In 2008 I did a little cartoon on this topic. It can be found at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dennisyork/sets/72157627302339214/

Bloke down the pub

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

Gary Pearse

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

Frank Kotler

I’ll bet he drowned those bears himself. Held ’em underwater with his bare hands until they drowned! An ensemble of runs with my computer model shows that scenario. What more proof do you need?
… or maybe we could wait and see what, if anything, the investigation turns up…
Best,
Frank

Kelvin Vaughan

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

Rob Potter

The Alaska Daily News article quotes Ruch saying the Obama administration is persecuting Monnet – seems like only yesterday this was a Bush thing that would never happen under a Democrat. (snark mode_OFF_)
I agree there is something else strange here, such as misappropriation of funds or something – it is unlikely an investigation into scientific misconduct would involve the Inspector General.

Heads up!
OFF TOPIC:
“NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted…”
http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-global-warming-alarmism-192334971.html

Tom

This is sounding very strange. I’ve now read the article, and the complaint filed by PEER, which is here.
http://www.peer.org/docs/doi/7_28_11_Scientific_Misconduct_Complaint.pdf
The article is fairly dull actually. The Alaska Minerals Management Service send out a plane every year to count bowhead whales; they also count other wildlife they spot, and note the Lat and Long. In 2004 they found 4 dead polar bears on survey flights made a few days after a really big storm. The main point I can see from a biological point of view is that polar bears, assumed to be strong swimmers, are vulnerable to severe storms and this may be an under-estimated source of polar bear mortality.
Now, there is at least one clear scientific error in the article. The authors use the length of the survey flights (transects) as a percentage of the total area to estimate the total number of bears swimming, the total number drowned, and the mortality rate for bears that were swimming during the storm. But they failed to take into account the fact that the survey flights were designed to measure bowhead whale habitat, not bear habitat, so finding 3 dead bears after the storm in 1/9th the survey area does not necessarily mean that 27 bears drowned. There are a lot of other things they don’t discuss, such as the fact that most swimming bears were found close to shore and the drowned bears were found far out at sea, presumably due to wind and current drift in the 1-6 days after the storm. Or, why would the bears be swimming anyway? What would they be looking for? And since the surveys were done in September at min ice, how does this really relate to declining max ice? The AGW stuff is confined to 1-2 paragraphs at the end of the discussion, and its the sort of speculation without data that would be removed during peer review if this was a higher-ranked journal or the topic was something else.
But the PEER complaint makes it clear (using information that could only have come from Monnett himself) that the investigators were asking specifically about this paper. Monnett has been given no formal statement of the allegation against him. Unless the PEER complaint is outright fabricated or is leaving out some other kind of serious allegation, the investigation really does sound like a witch hunt. Unless he actually fabricated the finding of the dead bears, I don’t see what the problem is here. This is still looking very strange.

David Schofield

“crosspatch says:
July 28, 2011 at 9:58 am
Ok, polar bears eat seals. Seals are mammals. Seals will often use holes in the ice to surface and rest and the polar bears search out those holes and eat them when they surface. Now if there is no ice, the seals will be kept closer to land as they must still surface to rest. The polar bears will have no need to hunt across miles of ice to find seals because all of the seals will be within easy reach of the beach.”
Watched a BBC documentary sometime ago filming a polar bear hunting. It walked across endless stretches of ice for days looking for a seal hole. Never found one. Almost starved to death. If it had a choice I’m guessing it would have preferred no ice!

Billy Liar

Jeff Mitchell says:
July 28, 2011 at 10:30 am
When you say “where are the pictures of drowned polar bears”, its like suggesting to the environmental wackos that they go drown a few and take pictures to rebut the implication. …
I’d like to see an environmental wacko try to drown a bear!

Al Gored

Great to see my favorite corrupt ‘science,’ the thing called Conservation Biology, get some exposure. This is just the tip of an extremely rotten iceberg.
This story was always BS because polar bears drown in any case – not unprecedented at all – and because it was so obvious they used these anecdotes to spin a huge ‘Drowning Polar Bears!!!’ Big Lie.
Some intrepid investigator may want to look at that recent story about the cougar that allegedly traveled from South Dakota to Connecticut… all allegedly ‘proven’ by DNA evidence. These folks have been messing with DNA evidence for years – google ‘Lynxgate’ – and that story is simply impossible yet incredibly convenient for the Conservation Biology missionaries.

David Schofield

As clear a case of Ursacide I’ve come across in all my years in forensics!

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

Latitude

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

D. King

First they lost the missing heat and now they’ve lost the dead polar bears.
What’s next?

Juice

The worst danger to nature is man’s desire to help it…
…after Man douses Nature with oil.

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

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

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

AnonyMoose

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

Juice says:
July 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm
The worst danger to nature is man’s desire to help it…
…after Man douses Nature with oil.

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

Jim G

Juice says:
July 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm
“The worst danger to nature is man’s desire to help it…
…after Man douses Nature with oil.”
Not so much as nature douses nature with oil, continuously, through seepage but somehow goes on.

dave38

Kelvin Vaughan says:
July 28, 2011 at 11:48 am
How long before we get “Save The Polar Bears – please give a donation each month” Charaties are big business.
that’s aleady happened! there have been tv adverisments by the WWF soliciting money “to save the polar bear!”
now changed to saving the jaguar as the amazon rain forest is dissapearing!

Interstellar Bill

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

Steve from Rockwood

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

rbateman

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

Rob Potter

Tom says:
July 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm…
||||||||||||||||
I agree that the whole process looks strange – that is why I was questioning whether the issue really is this study or if there is something else the IG is looking at.
The interviews included in the link from your post were quoted by PEER who are defending Monnett so I expect they are pulling the bits that make it look most damming (this is a legal process after all – selecting evidence to convince people of your case). I am wary of accepting anything based on only one side of the story, however damming it seems at first glance. While I expect many people are happy to jump on bureaucratic incompetence, I still can’t see why two criminal investigators were dispatched to Alaska to ask about polar bear counts.

Tom

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

Hu McCulloch

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

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

Tom

It is reasonable to expect that some polar bears will die in water. It is less reasonable to expect that we would easily stumble over their corpses. Hop in a boat in Hudson Bay and travel 100 km off shore and tell me what you see. Then go out 200 km. Then go out – well you get the picture.
The Minerals Management Service does an aerial survey of the Beaufort Sea every year looking for bowhead whales, during which they also count other animals they spot, including polar bears. The airplane flies in straight lines (transects) at an altitude of 500 meters and a groundspeed of 250 km/h. Three observers watch out of bubble windows (left, right and bottom) and count whales and other animals. In 2004 the plane made 29 flights and surveyed about 20,000 km. Assuming you can see 1 km on either side of the plane, they covered 40,000 sq km, or 10% of the Beaufort sea. On four different flights they observed one dead bear each.
Looking at the map they provide, it is possible that two sightings were the same bear, they don’t provide enough information to exclude that possibility (such as wind and current direction). So probably 3-4 dead bears spotted in 2004.

Very apropos – Polar bear on Polar Bear Island http://goo.gl/WxINt

APACHEWHOKNOWS

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