The polar bear poster that launched a thousand quips

http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/images/polarbear/schliebe_10.jpg

Photo by Scott Schliebe used by Monnett to make a point. NOAA Source: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/images/polarbear/schliebe_10.jpg

Much has been made of the revelation that Charles Monnett is under suspension and investigation related to the issues swirling around drowned polar bears and dubious statistical license used to calculate mortality. I got a request from a reader to locate the poster that started it all. Happy to oblige. See below

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.

Here’s the image and full resolution PDF:

MarineMammalConference-Dec2005 (PDF)

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DaveF

A British teenager was killed and several others injured by a Polar bear just the other day in Norway (it’s all over the British press if anyone wants to check). Those bears are as cuddly as crocodiles.

Louis

Was the teen trying to hug the Polar bear, like in the commercial?

Brian H

Polar bears are the largest, strongest, and toughest bears on the planet. Cuddling is not an option.

EthicallyCivil

I love the comment that the redistribution of bear population could be either (1) being “stranded” on land by melting ice or (2) the disposal of bowhead whale carcasses.
Trying not to be sarcastic, I find it amazing that any one would struggle between the possibilities of the best swimming land mammals being stranded, and one of the best omnivorous scavengers on the planet raiding wouldn’t be motivated by a meat, fat, and bone garbage pile…

Independent

I hear they like Coke though…maybe just share some with them for safe passage?

James Evans

DaveF:
“A British teenager was killed and several others injured by a Polar bear just the other day in Norway…”
But you forgot the punchline. The BBC says this is due to climate change:
“Incidents like this, however, could become more common.
The reason is climate change. As rising temperatures melt the sea ice, the number of polar bears may rapidly dwindle. That could mean that there are far fewer bears surviving for people to come into conflict with. But if polar bear numbers fall, we may revere them even more, with more tourists and adventurers flocking to catch a final glimpse of these animals.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/14422118
Yes, that’s right. Because terrifying climate change is killing all the lovely bears, we will increasingly go out to cuddle them, and get killed. Really. That’s the BBC.

ChE

You walk out you door, and find a dollar in the street. You pick up the dollar, and look both ways for another dollar. You don’t see any, so you go back in your house.
You’re a climate scientist so, you write a report that says that you found a dollar, and could see 100 feet in each direction, so there’s got to be on average a dollar every 200′. You then publish a paper claiming that it’s SCIENCE!!! that there are $25 laying around on every mile.
The logic’s impeccable.

Jeremy

Seems odd that 7 years of averaging on sea ice observations yields *ONLY* 1 observation for nearly all points observed. It’s like nature said, “You shall only have 1 possibility.” And if the sea ice is so rare in that area in September for so many years, why record the absence? It seems like you’d rather note the presence of ice.
They also seem to be melding different years of observations without attribution (though it is only a poster, so it’s no big deal really). In the comparisons between where polar bears are found, they are using work that is clearly not their own (since admittedly their own is from 97-2004).

AnonyMoose

Fortunately, a leader/guide of the group of teens had a gun, and fetched it after the bear attack began. Unfortunately, they had not posted sentries despite having seen a bear. An explosive trip-wire failed.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14415592
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/norway/8687292/Norway-polar-bear-attack-failings-that-left-Horatio-Chapple-at-bears-mercy.html

Polar Bear cubs are cute and cuddly.
Fully grown, they are the largest carnivores on the planet!

DaveF

Louis 11:46:
No, they were all asleep in their tents; the trip wire that was supposed to set off a small explosive didn’t work; none of the four rounds in the Mauser k98k rifle went off when fired – the instructor had to re-use one of them and this time it worked and killed the bear. If they had been more competent nobody would have been hurt, not even the poor bear (which was just doing what bears do).
James Evans 12:04:
Thanks, James, I hadn’t seen that. Why am I not surprised, though?
Best wishes to you both.

Peter Walsh

Louis says:
August 8, 2011 at 11:46 am
“Was the teen trying to hug the Polar bear, like in the commercial?”
Louis, that comment may appear to be funny but believe me it is not.
I (here in Dublin, Ireland) have been following this tragedy where a young man with obvious great potential was tragically killed by a polar bear and several of his companions were seriously injured. One of these actually had teeth from the bear embedded in his skull.
A family in the United Kingdom is in mourning for their son and all that you can do is to make pathetic jokes.
Your comment is far worse than that which trolls are so fond of posting on various blogs and it should be deleted by the moderators. Even trolls would not be so crass.
Total and absolute shame on you.
Perhaps others who read here and post comments might try to remember this young man.

dtbronzich

Actually, Polar Bears are the only modern bear that is 100% carnivorous, while all other bears are closer to being omnivorous. Remember, you are meat. The opposite viewpoint of course, is “with Polar Bear numbers on the rise, incidents of this type will become more common, as tourists seek closer contact”!
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1ea8233f-14da-4a44-b839-b71a9e5df868
http://www.redstate.com/kjl291/2009/06/28/polar-bear-population-on-the-rise-according-to-scientist-not-declining-%E2%80%93-as-the-al-gore-crowd-tells-everyone-polar-bear-expert-barred-from-testifying/
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,138346,00.html
Polar Bears are also cannibals in the true sense of the word, actively hunting and killing their own kind.

Speaking of climate change and polar bears, there was a horrifying incident at Barrow, AK when a polar bear attacked and killed the National Weather Service employee launching a weather balloon.

Mike Jowsey

@ James Evans August 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Because terrifying climate change is killing all the lovely bears, we will increasingly go out to cuddle them, and get killed. Really. That’s the BBC.

Unbelievable! If it weren’t such a tragic waste of space, time, ink and paper, it would be funny.

anorak2

On the Svalbard archipelago carrying a rifle outside of settlements is mandatory. You pay a hefty fine if officials meet you not carrying a gun. So it’s not a fortunate coincidence that they had rifles, they were bound to. Tragic that it didn’t work out for whatever reason.

cirby

Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
“Fully grown, they are the largest carnivores on the planet!”
Naah – just the largest land-based carnivores.
Sperm whales are much, MUCH bigger. As in 25 times the size of the biggest polar bear ever found.

Ray

I don’t see any dead polar bear in that picture….

Tom in Florida

Peter Walsh says:
August 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm
“Perhaps others who read here and post comments might try to remember this young man.”
While the loss of the life of a young man is tragic, I cannot also help feeling that the shooting of a polar bear doing what comes natural while in it’s own natural environment that has been invaded by humans is even more so.

DesertYote

Mike Smith
August 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm
Speaking of climate change and polar bears, there was a horrifying incident at Barrow, AK when a polar bear attacked and killed the National Weather Service employee launching a weather balloon.
###
One of my NCOIC was stationed in Alaska during the 60’s. He has nasty scars on his back and on his arm, and a bear skin rug on his floor. He’s lucky to be alive. The short lived mauling came after the bear had taken the four slugs that eventually killed him.

Doug Proctor

The danger that polar bears present is why the population of polar bears around Churchill is the highest it has been since the ’40s: the army at the Churchill DEW station shot those wandering around the base and the Churchill garbage dump, that is the ones the visiting generals etc. didn’t shoot for sport.

Every year 700 bears are legally hunted. An unknown number are poached. No apparent problem, but find 4 “drowned” and there is uproar. Do I smell the stench of double standards?

Fred from Canuckistan

The people who lead that Arctic camping trip and didn’t bring a dog/s along should be charged with Criminal Stupidity.
I used to live in the Arctic and a BIG rule was always bring the dogs . . . best Polar Bear trip wire you can get.
The only way you’ll get time to use the rifle.

Peter Walsh

Tom in Florida says:
August 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm
Peter Walsh says:
August 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm
“Perhaps others who read here and post comments might try to remember this young man.”
While the loss of the life of a young man is tragic, I cannot also help feeling that the shooting of a polar bear doing what comes natural while in it’s own natural environment that has been invaded by humans is even more so.
Tom, I do agree with you but you misquoted me in that you only copied and pasted part of my comment.
Here is the completer comment:
I (here in Dublin, Ireland) have been following this tragedy where a young man with obvious great potential was tragically killed by a polar bear and several of his companions were seriously injured. One of these actually had teeth from the bear embedded in his skull.
A family in the United Kingdom is in mourning for their son and all that you can do is to make pathetic jokes.
Your comment is far worse than that which trolls are so fond of posting on various blogs and it should be deleted by the moderators. Even trolls would not be so crass.
Total and absolute shame on you.
Perhaps others who read here and post comments might try to remember this young man.
Now, please comment on the full comment and don’t be selective.

Duster

Tom in Florida says:
August 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm

It is also our natural environment and has been for 30 of thousand years or more. Both parties did what “comes natural.” As often as I grumble about development, I find the “green” perception that humans are somehow “invading” parts of the environment where they don’t belong to be profoundly ignorant. The human race reached every significant land mass before the end of the last glacial epoch, arriving in fact in Australia more than 30,000 years ago and in the Americas more than 16,000 years ago. There is no significant landmass except antarctica that does not have (or in some modern case “had”) an indigenous human population.

Jeremy

Peter Walsh says:
August 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm
…Your comment is far worse than that which trolls are so fond of posting on various blogs and it should be deleted by the moderators. Even trolls would not be so crass.
Total and absolute shame on you.
Perhaps others who read here and post comments might try to remember this young man.

I’m not telling you what to find offensive, but I do think you should spend more time online. Thick skin doesn’t begin to cover its affects on me and others I know.
Lets take a reasoned look at what the internet does to us. It bombards us with human tragedy every hour. It sends news of non-existent scientific achievement before the papers are ever published. It implies to us that we should know all about Kate Gosselin’s next boyfriend while downplaying the future effects of the first ever lowering of the U.S. credit rating. It shows us faces of people who died before their familes know. It puts corporations with secret deals with marketing companies in charge of our personal information while blasting any request for government to ask for personal information. It promises a great future where all humans are plugged in and a homogeneous social network exists, while protecting no ones privacy.
Now while it’s never pretty to crack wise about someone else’s death, it’s not exactly something that any human online enough has the emotion to deal with as fast as the stories come in. To do so would be to turn oneself into an emotional basket case. So, having said that, Please cut the guy a little slack (just a little).
For future reference, if I should ever die in a hilarious way, I will haunt you all for NOT creating an internet meme about it.

Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
August 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm
Polar Bear cubs are cute and cuddly.
Fully grown, they are the largest carnivores on the planet!

They might be the largest carnivore on the ~surface~ of the planet, but I think Orcas are bigger.

A family in the United Kingdom is in mourning for their son and all that you can do is to make pathetic jokes.

Maybe your self-righteous sanctimony looks pretty in Ireland, but here it just looks like someone who can’t find anything better to do.

DaveF

Hey, fellas, no need to get into unpleasant arguments. It is a tragedy, of course, but it looks like they went out with an ancient rifle, ancient ammunition and insufficient amounts of it. Foolish. I suppose my original point was that perhaps people are lulled into a false sense of security by the ‘aaah’ factor of the cute bears, whereas they (sensibly) naturally recoil from those ‘ugly’ crocodiles, and take more sensible precautions.

P.F.

I was at that conference. During the business meeting of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, Vicki Cornish proposed an official SMM Resolution on Climate Change (available here: http://www.marinemammalscience.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=66&Itemid=184)
The proposal came at the end of the meeting and did not allow time for response or comment as was required by the SMM Bylaws. It was expected to be brought up at the next conference in Cape Town, SA. I wrote the SMM president asking about the opportunity for member comment. I was assured there would be an opportunity to comment before formal passing of the resolution. There was a good number of members (including Charter Members like myself) interested in commenting. The Resolution appeared without the required membership comment period.
Partly in response to that move, I produced the Conference Commemorative Poster for the next conference held in Quebec City. The title was “Marine Mammals of the Northern Cryosphere” and included a reconstruction of the Arctic sea ice conditions for the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age, and present conditions. The poster was released just days following the CRU email release event in November 2009. When presented to the membership, I drew attention to the “Climategate” event and noted that the MBH1998 hockey stick was loosing credibility and it was time to look carefully at the empirical evidence of historical Arctic sea ice for the Holocene Interglacial. I caught Holy Hell for that, including serious criticism from the present and past SMM presidents.
The next SMM Conference to be held in Tampa, Florida, this November will include a workshop entitled “How Modern Marine Mammals Evolved — Revelations from the Confluence of Genetics and Climate Change” on the confluence of genetics and Pleistocene – Holocene climate change. There we hope to bring to light what climate change looks like over meaningful time periods (multiple glacial/interglacial cycles) and the affect it has on speciation of marine mammals. Monnett hasn’t signed up for that workshop yet.

Kasuha

There’s something disturbing on that poster… how comes they didn’t find any bears on dry land?!?

Tom in Florida

Duster says:
August 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm
“It is also our natural environment and has been for 30 of thousand years or more. Both parties did what “comes natural.” As often as I grumble about development, I find the “green” perception that humans are somehow “invading” parts of the environment where they don’t belong to be profoundly ignorant. The human race reached every significant land mass before the end of the last glacial epoch, arriving in fact in Australia more than 30,000 years ago and in the Americas more than 16,000 years ago. There is no significant landmass except antarctica that does not have (or in some modern case “had”) an indigenous human population.”
The big difference is that these humans were not living there, they were not searching for food there, they were there on a lark. And now they have killed a polar bear with a gun, nothing natural about that. So while I am no bleeding heart liberal nor am I an advocate of any kind of gun control, I simply commented on the fact that it is truly a tragedy that a polar bear had to die so some humans could have some fun.

DirkH

Peter Walsh says:
August 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm
“”I (here in Dublin, Ireland) […] great Now, please comment on the full comment and don’t be selective.”
They went up there to sleep in tents in the place with the highest concentration of Polar Bears on the planet; didn’t bring a dog, had difficulties with their Mauser, had a non-working alarm system. In other words, criminally negligent on part of BSES. Shut’em down for good and sue them.

Todd Brophy

Polar Bears are not far removed from Grizzlies. Given a White environment and enough time, I am sure we could recreate them.

KnR

We do not know as yet what Monnett is being investigated about , it could be simply be poor book keeping or project control leading to COI and he could be innocent. So lets not be in a rush to form a hanging jury in the way the hard core AGW faithful are, for once we start taken their approach we lose the right to attack such approaches . And that right is all important , for the public may not understand the science but they do understand and disapprove of spinning and lies , and its the public where the fight needs to be won.
Frankly like the Hockey stick , Monnet ordinal Polar Bear work seems to be another poor piece of science, large assumptions made on little evidenced, which if that has not become political useful would have been forgotten about or quietly modified. Something that can’t happen now as its become an icon of the AGW fatih and where as you change science, you can’t change icons.

SC-SlyWolf

They shot and killed the polar bear in Norway.
“The attack took place on the Svalbard archipelago, which is home to about
2,400 people and 3,000 polar bears …”

pablo an ex pat

Maybe just a bit o/t but it got me thinking about the guy who liked to live with Grizzlies. It worked great for 13 years then he met a hungry bear he didn’t know and he and his girlfriend got eaten.
The bear was subsequently shot which I consider to be most ironic, the guy regarded himself as being a protector of these animals but his death resulted in one being killed after it did what comes naturally to Grizzlies. Apologies for the Wiki link, I try to avoid using Wiki but oh well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Treadwell

Chuckarama

It’s what I’ve been saying all along. Obviously Monnett is a shill for big soda. Without ice, how are the Polar Bears supposed to keep their cola on ice? Nobody wants their mascots drinking warm sodas for the cameras, that’s just not going to sell sugar water. Big Soda is behind all this melting ice crap, except where it’s not.

John Whitman

I have read several links on the internet and recall a nature cable show about animals on earth that, as normal behavior of healthy individuals, deliberately hunt and kill humans for food as a normal behavior under normal conditions.
The view seems to be common that the two species are polar bears and saltwater crocodile. But between the two there may be a distinction about what is deliberate behavior for healthy animals.
Crocodiles lie underwater and essentially hit anything the see above the water that moves. On the other hand polar bears are known to deliberately track a human for many miles and kill them for food as a normal part of their wild behavior. Polar born and bears raised around human settlements have an un-wild behavior (at least in part).
Note: Of course sick or old tigers have been known to kill and eat humans. But not a normal behavior for healthy tigers. Also, people talk about sharks, but it appears that when they attack humans it is a case of mistaken identity . . . they think we are seal-like.
John

Michael Jankowski

Thinking people might want to direct their anger towards the green, feel-good polar bear commercial with the hug instead of people mocking the absurdity of it in light of the attacks.

James Hein

Is this the photo where the uncropped version shows ice sheets not that far away?

TimC

@Stark Dickflüssig:
Just to repeat Louis’ exact words: “Was the teen trying to hug the Polar bear, like in the commercial?”
And Peter Walsh’s (to Louis): “A family in the United Kingdom is in mourning for their son and all that you can do is to make pathetic jokes.”
The “teen” (let’s show a little respect – his name was Horatio Chapple) was asleep in his tent, as was the whole party since there were no lookouts posted, when the bear came into their encampment and killed him. This is clear from the most cursory look at any of the reports in the UK press.
We will get to know more about the circumstances – the reason for the Svalbard trip, the trip-wire failure, the misfiring rifle, the organisers’ responsibilities (all of which Horatio must have relied on for his safety being new to the arctic), the wounds suffered before and after he died – when his body is returned to the UK and the coroner’s inquest is held.
At best Louis’ comment was crass – but yours about Peter Walsh was equally crass before any of us can know the full circumstances of this young man’s untimely death.

Chris in Ga

BBC wasn’t the only one that spun the climate change story – NBC did the same thing on the Today show.
@ Chuckorama – “Big Soda” … classic

Rob R

Duster
From your comment it would appear that New Zealand is not a significant land mass. If that is the case then the UK isn’t a significant land mass either.
NZ was not settled till around 800 to 1000 years ago.

Dave N

Here’s another shot of him, posing in front of some mountains:
http://www.bundabergrum.com.au/original/images/snippetWatch.jpg

Duster

Tom in Florida says:
August 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm
….
The big difference is that these humans were not living there, they were not searching for food there, they were there on a lark. And now they have killed a polar bear with a gun, nothing natural about that. So while I am no bleeding heart liberal nor am I an advocate of any kind of gun control, I simply commented on the fact that it is truly a tragedy that a polar bear had to die so some humans could have some fun.

I understand, but it really isn’t a big difference. First both bears and humans explore (go on “larks”). It is a basic behaviour essential in all animals, particularly predators – that includes both humans and bears, who tend to need to better knowledge of their territory than herbivores, so both species are born to do that. In fact, in dietary terms humans, bears, wolves and dogs, and – to a degree – pigs all compete for much the same territory and food resources. Both bears and humans frequently regard each other as edible too, though humans tend to be over-lean for bears and generally a calorie poor reward for predatory effort. Competition breeds conflict and there are usually winners and losers in that. Human-bear conflict has been documented over 100,000 years ago. Also, humans adapt culturally (technologically) so the bear encountering an armed group was not new event between the species. There was no “unnatural” element in any part of that small history. Sad, perhaps, but not unnatural in any form.

clipe

Fred from Canuckistan says:
August 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm
The people who lead that Arctic camping trip and didn’t bring a dog/s along should be charged with Criminal Stupidity.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-550612/Killer-polar-bear-Im-just-big-teddy-really.html

Bruce Cobb

In the climate wars, it was their stranded bear.