Al Gore's 'drowning polar bear' source reprimanded

From the Seattle Times – the end game of ‘polarbeargate’:

Scientist who saw drowned polar bears reprimanded

An Alaska scientist whose observations of drowned polar bears helped galvanize the global warming movement has been reprimanded for improper release of government documents.

JUNEAU, Alaska —

An Alaska scientist whose observations of drowned polar bears helped galvanize the global warming movement has been reprimanded for improper release of government documents. 

An Interior Department official said emails released by Charles Monnett were cited by a federal appeals court in decisions to vacate approval by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of an oil and gas company’s Arctic exploration plan.

The official, Walter Cruickshank, deputy director of BOEM, said in a memo that an inspector general’s investigation contained findings that Monnett had improperly disclosed internal government documents, which he said were later used against the agency in court. He also said the investigation made other findings in regards to Monnett’s conduct, but he wasn’t taking action on those. He would not specify those findings.

Cruickshank called Monnett’s “misconduct very serious,” and said any future misconduct may lead to more severe discipline, including removal from federal service.

Monnett was briefly suspended last year during an inspector general’s investigation into a polar bear research contract he managed. The inspector general’s report, which was released Friday, said its investigation was set off by a complaint from an unidentified Interior Department employee who alleged that Monnett wrongfully released government records and that he and another scientist, Jeffrey Gleason, intentionally omitted or used false data in an article they wrote on polar bears. During that investigation, authorities also looked into the procurement issue.

full story here

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From balance of article on ST webpage:

… investigators had said that Monnett helped a polar bear researcher prepare a proposal even though he was the government official who determined whether the proposal met minimum qualifications. …

Hmmm … confliect of interest.

The article was based on observations that Monnett and Gleason made in 2004 while conducting an aerial survey of bowhead whales. They saw four dead polar bears floating in the water after a storm.
In the article, they said they were reporting, to the best of their knowledge, the first observations of the bears floating dead and presumed drowned while apparently swimming long distances. They wrote that while polar bears are considered strong swimmers, long-distance swims may exact a greater metabolic toll than standing or walking on ice in better weather.

Hmmm …. no autopsy; jump to conclusion.
Nothing to see here, move along (/sarc) …
.

Neo

In the private sector, this chap would have seen the pavement faster than you can say “Bob’s your uncle” but government employees pretty much have to commit the wrong kind of treason to get fired.

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.

Mike McMillan

Suggest he be reassigned to the Post Office in Nome, where he can get up close and personal with the polar bears.

pat

Gee. A money grab by a ‘researcher’ of money grabs. What a surprise. Meet modern American science.

Gunga Din

Something Al Gore said was based on a lie!?!?
So are we or aren’t we all doomed?

LazyTeenager

Gunga Din on September 29, 2012 at 12:06 am
Something Al Gore said was based on a lie!?!?
So are we or aren’t we all doomed?
———–
Since the polar bear reports were not based on a lie and since you are are insisting there was without any evidence what does that make you?

Speaking of Al Gore…..
he has lost a mint in “green” investments:
http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/al-gore-bails-from-green-energy-investment/

So, he gets a slap on the wrist…
As noted, in the real world he would have been canned in short order.

This guy HAD approval to publish from his local office. Now they are going after him years later as the balance of power in his head office has changed.. He reported what he saw. It may not have been great science but it was honnest. The fact it was used for a political agenda does not mean it is acceptable to go after the scientists Only go after the science. We can not complain about luke warmers being punished for thier work or views if you are silent when it happens in the other direction. Some papers will be plain wrong. Some of the observations will be misinterpreted. Mistakes and debate are part of the process. That means giving lots of room to the scientists to work – away from political pressure to get the “RIGHT” answer. .

J Bowers
Disko Troop

Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
September 29, 2012 at 12:43 am
Speaking of Al Gore…..
he has lost a mint in “green” investments:
———————————————————————-
Al Gore: “The Profit of Doom.”

“As for them drowning, they can easily swim nonstop for hundreds of kilometers in Arctic-cold seas, their natural habitat, so it takes some pretty extreme weather to drown them. It’s not for nothing that their official name is Ursus Maritimus or sea bear; they actually spend most of their waking time in the sea rather than on ice or land. In an article published in this year’s January edition of Polar Biology, the U.S. Geological Survey gave the details of a bear they’d tagged that had swam for nine days continuously and covered a total distance of 687 kilometers.”
http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/polar-bears-going-extinct-yawn/
The bear in question was a female; the males, being a lot bigger, can swim a lot further.
Pointman

Ursus Oceanus is a remarkable swimmer but shit happens so some must perish at sea. Their numbers are 20-25K so not endangered at all.

D. Patterson

stacyglen says:
September 29, 2012 at 12:51 am
This guy HAD approval to publish from his local office. Now they are going after him years later as the balance of power in his head office has changed.. He reported what he saw. It may not have been great science but it was honnest.

Monnett reported what he wished to see and not what he actually did see. Being in an overflying aircraft, he was in no position to definitively prove the polar bears were killed by drowning due to loss of ice floes, killed by drowning, or perhaps killed at all in all four examples or any examples. Even if all four polar bears were actually killed, and were killed by drowning, Monnett had no evidence whatsoever to conclude they were killed by loss of ice rather than natural causes due to age and/or other natural causes. Even if the polar bears drowned, were drowned due to loss of ice, and were not disadvantaged bby natural age; there is no evidence humans had any significant influence upon the natural variations in Arctic ice extent. In other words, Monnett was being dishonest about his observations and interpretations of his observations in an ill considered decision to give unscientific and untrue testimony in support of the political cause he adopted.
In other words, it not only was not “great science”, it was not science at all. Instead, it was a betrayal and perversion of the science, truth, and political trustworthiness.
The fact it was used for a political agenda does not mean it is acceptable to go after the scientists Only go after the science. We can not complain about luke warmers being punished for thier work or views if you are silent when it happens in the other direction. Some papers will be plain wrong. Some of the observations will be misinterpreted. Mistakes and debate are part of the process. That means giving lots of room to the scientists to work – away from political pressure to get the “RIGHT” answer. .

beesaman

What is really interesting is the fact that his research was academical poor in quality, but then this seems to a growing trend in academics more interested in advocacy than academic rigour.
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/20/opinion/la-oe-ellis-uc-bias-20120520
Aided by less than neutral gatekeepers
http://www.wnd.com/2009/12/119745/

AGW_Skeptic

‘An Interior Department official said emails released by Charles Monnett were cited by a federal appeals court in decisions to vacate approval by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of an oil and gas company’s Arctic exploration plan.”
He “released” emails (without years of FOIA requests and stalling) that resulted in an oil and gas company being denied a previously approved arctic exploration plan.
This is the REAL story.

Olaf Koenders [AU]

“An Interior Department official said..”
Shouldn’t that be “Inferior Department”? Note that it takes just one of his pals to crash his party, but the entire Climate Realist blogosphere complaining about it for years with evidence didn’t make so much of a ripple. Some results are worth waiting for 🙂

Richard Day

I await the warmists claims that he was a whistleblower. In the meantime they can go to Churchill Falls, Manitoba to hand feed the few remaining starving polar bears. I suggest bacon.

The investigation was a farce, and it ending up showing that the entire thing was conducted because he demonstrated that the BOEM suppressed information. They found no scientific misconduct. The issue with the contract was Monnett being asked by a researcher what the BOEM was looking for in a proposal. As it turns out, he was not at the time in charge of approving contracts yet anyway; he started that after the incident in question.
How this can be spun as a win for the BOEM escapes me. The science he conducted was untouched in the final report and his work with contracts was not found to be faulty. The only thing they “got” him with was whistle-blowing, which was the real reason he was attacked in the first place. The BOEM looks vindictive and petty here, while Monnett has been exonerated.

The government isn’t the least concerned with the scientific misconduct such as this ” investigators found that Monnett and Gleason used an incomplete database as their primary source of information to write the article, made conflicting statements to investigators regarding the writing and editing process and understated data in the manuscript” . Just shows what sort of government it is.

For Lazy Teenager and any others questioning this, as D. Patterson pointed out and I will repeat, the writer did not report factually. Factually, he found four dead polar bears floating in the ocean after a storm. That’s all. Anything beyond that is just speculation unless the guy has photos of the bears swimming for days and days and actually drowning plus footage of their prior activity to put the swimming in context. He would also need many more examples of polar bears actually drowning, plus a count of floating polar bears from the early 1900’s to show warming in increasing drowning bear numbers.
When one presents wild speculation as fact, as was done here, that is called a lie. So anyone using this story to push global warming lied. Straight up, they lied.

polistra

Semi-related: BBC’s “More or Less” program has an excellent debunk of another media extinction story. The UK Telegraph had stated that North Sea Cod were basically extinct, with only 100 left. Terrible! Horrible! We’re killing them all!
The debunk began with a phone call from an actual fisherman who said this number was bizarre; that the cod catch this year was the best in living memory, and keeps increasing. They tracked down the 100 number as follows: The Sunday Times had used a UK government database of cod population estimates. The database tried to account for cod of all ages, up to the age of 13 which is the oldest age ever recorded. By normal curves, the database guessed there might be 100 of those cod codgers still around. Sunday Times, seeing only extinction, took this number to be the count of “adult cod”. When the Telegraph picked up the story, they dropped “adult”, leaving 100 as the total count of all cod in the North Sea.
How many cod are actually in the North Sea? “More or Less” used the same government database CORRECTLY and came up with 460 million, which is just slightly more than 100.
Nobody ever bothered to check with a fisherman, or a fish wholesaler, or anyone who might have direct knowledge of actual fish. It was all statistics and wishful thinking.

Resourceguy

Was he in the anti-Islam production as well?

Jack Simmons

_Jim says:
September 28, 2012 at 10:53 pm

The article was based on observations that Monnett and Gleason made in 2004 while conducting an aerial survey of bowhead whales. They saw four dead polar bears floating in the water after a storm.

Maybe the bears died on the ice from natural causes and were subsequently washed into the ocean by the storm.

Sam Glasser

The entire transcript of the investigation can be read at: http://www.peer.org/docs/doi/7_28_11_Monnett-IG_interview_transcript.pdf

Latest Fish and Wildlife population count has polar bears at an all time high of 25 to 30,000, up from 5 – 10,000 during the 1950’s and 60’s. We’re up to our ears in polar bears. And those who claim absence of sea ice during the summers (if it ever happens) will doom the bears is obviously not aware that the bears have lived thru ice-free Arctic seas in the past. The fact that a simple
observation of some bears drowned in a storm has grown into a preposterous sequence of lies
and misinformation says a lot about the inability of our media to handle science news. They
do far more thorough vetting of philandering husband stories (unless they’re a political friend).. Scare stories about dying polar bears sell newspapers and air time, while stories that say everything is normal do not. Guess which story they’ll going to go with? It’s called Yellow Journalism, environmental style. Thank God for the Internet, flawed though it may be.

Craig Moore

If one relied on NPR, they would not know of the reprimand: http://www.npr.org/2012/09/28/161987243/scientist-cleared-in-polar-bear-controversy

Craig Moore said:
“If one relied on NPR, they would not know of the reprimand”
One would if they read the article:
“…except for an official reprimand for an unrelated matter, the improper release of internal government documents back in 2007 and 2008.”

Gunga Din

LazyTeenager says:
September 29, 2012 at 12:42 am
Gunga Din on September 29, 2012 at 12:06 am
Something Al Gore said was based on a lie!?!?
So are we or aren’t we all doomed?
———–
Since the polar bear reports were not based on a lie and since you are are insisting there was without any evidence what does that make you?
======================================================================
I stand corrected. It’s what he did with the reports that was the lie. Evidence of that lie? I would have thought you’d have “An Inconvienent Truth” memorized.

J Bowers

“I await the warmists claims that he was a whistleblower.”
If MMS hadn’t been riddled with corruption then this alarmist wouldn’t be thinking of Monnett as a whistleblower. Renaming MMS to BOEM was hardly a whimsical decision, more a purge and an attempt at a fresh start.

Tim Walker

LazyTeenager says:
September 29, 2012 at 12:42 am
Gunga Din on September 29, 2012 at 12:06 am
Something Al Gore said was based on a lie!?!?
So are we or aren’t we all doomed?
———–
Since the polar bear reports were not based on a lie and since you are are insisting there was without any evidence what does that make you?
Tim says:
Sometimes it’s all in the name. Eh, Lazy.
Some people look beyond the apocalyptic news stories to find the truth. Polar bear populations increasing. Polar bears survived a time of much higher temperatures in the past.
I hope the fact you posted on here means you are considering not being lazy. Maybe you will look at the facts. I hope so.

Grizzled Bear

Lack of understanding about polar bear physiology seems to constantly lead people to inaccurate anthropomorphic conclusions (remember the pathetically uninformed but trying-to-prove-a-point inventors of the life jacket for polar bears? – http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/nov/14/network-poles). Polar bears, like ducks, witches, and very small rocks, float in water with no effort expended. The Seattle Times quoting the report: “while polar bears are considered strong swimmers, long-distance swims may exact a greater metabolic toll than standing or walking on ice in better weather” is the conclusion one might be expected to make if you have a lack of knowledge of basic polar bear biology. A truer conclusion might have been “while polar bears are considered strong swimmers, trying to maintain buoyancy while trapped in open water during an Arctic storm may exceed their abilities”. The only energy a polar bear has to expend when it’s in the water is to propel itself forward. If they stop swimming, they stop moving. But they don’t sink. How much energy do you expend sitting in a floating lounger in your swimming pool? Now let’s strap a life vest on you and set you adrift in open water during an Arctic storm. Even with the life vest, do you think you’ll survive (ignore the hypothermia aspect)? I think there’s a good chance you wouldn’t survive and that the cause of your death would be drowning. It seems that the 4 unfortunate bears cited were destined to give their lives so that a couple of pseudo-scientists could use their deaths as part of a political statement.

Go Home

Amino,
That is a great read on Gore losing mucho money investing in green energy. Just hope alot of it was his, not just all the unions that invested with him. Just hope Al does not find out where Hoffa was buried.
Might make a great post here at WUWT.

Jack Simmons: I believe:the dead bodies were seen after a storm. He was flying over the area regularly for other research and saw some dead bears. He had not see dead bears on earlier flights. He asked around and no-one else could remember seeing dead polar bears. He got permission in writing from his local office to published this very minor factoid. On this slim basis a myth was born.
If you are reprimanded in 2012 for something in 2007 and 2008 or 2004, you have to ask why was there was no reprimand in 2009, or 2010. What has changed if it is not office politics.

Pointman, any references?
I found this: http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/polar-bears-long-distance-swimming-and-the-changing-arctic/
90 miles is still impressive, but quite a bit short of your claim of 687 km?

Steve R

So just to be clear…….there was no rainforest found in the Mojave?

john robertson

Did he actually see 4 bears same day? Or one bear 4 flights?

Grizzled Bear

bikedude says:
September 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm
Pointman, any references?
I found this: http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/polar-bears-long-distance-swimming-and-the-changing-arctic/
90 miles is still impressive, but quite a bit short of your claim of 687 km?

Reported by the pro-AGW BBC no less:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9369000/9369317.stm
“This bear swam continuously for 232 hours and 687 km and through waters that were 2-6 degrees C,” says research zoologist George M. Durner.

Jimbo

bikedude says:
September 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm
Pointman, any references?
I found this: http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/polar-bears-long-distance-swimming-and-the-changing-arctic/
90 miles is still impressive, but quite a bit short of your claim of 687 km?

Here you go.
I even recall a peer reviewed paper about polar cubs riding on its mother’s back in the sea. I’ll see if I can find that too.

Abstract
“….Between an initial capture in late August and a recapture in late October 2008, a radio-collared adult female polar bear in the Beaufort Sea made a continuous swim of 687 km over 9 days and then intermittently swam and walked on the sea ice surface an additional 1,800 km. Measures of movement rate, hourly activity, and subcutaneous and external temperature revealed distinct profiles of swimming and walking…….”
http://www.springerlink.com/content/032201r34q534455/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/07/110720-polar-bears-global-warming-sea-ice-science-environment/

bikedude

Cheers guys, I’ll put those bookmarks to good use.

Jimbo

bikedude says:
September 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm
Pointman, any references?

Further to my last reference here is the polar cub on mother’s back. Shall I go on? 😉

Abstract
The principal habitat of polar bears Ursus maritimus is sea ice where they hunt seals. Much of the sea ice habitat is scattered or with leads of open water. Adults are good swimmers. They are well adapted to cold water, while small cubs do not yet have fat layer sufficient to avoid chilling if swimming in icy water for any prolonged period of time. An important question is thus how female mothers and their cubs may behave to avoid that cubs get chilled, but at the same time making it possible for the families to hunt is those areas. We describe an observation of a polar bear cub on its mother’s back while the mother was swimming among ice floes in Svalbard, Norwegian Arctic. Similar observations are to our knowledge not earlier described in the scientific literature. We point out that this behaviour minimize exposure to cold water and hence significantly may reduce chilling of the cub. It may also be a way for the mother to transfer cubs not yet able or willing to swim. The behaviour may be necessary to allow the families to get around in areas of sea ice with many open leads.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/8051204vu73l320w/

Jimbo

Polar bears are survivors. Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise. Check it for yourself.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.08.016
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUFMPP11A0203F

Jimbo

Al Gore is just trying to scare the children. I don’t believe anything these nutty scaremongers have to say. I check it out myself.
“Observations of a wild polar bear (Ursus maritimus) successfully fishing Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) and Fourhorn sculpin (Myoxocephalus quadricornis)”
http://www.springerlink.com/content/2740177qk8425851/
“The early bear gets the goose: climate change, polar bears and lesser snow geese in western Hudson Bay”
http://www.springerlink.com/content/5g5756162w677hl4/
I feel sorry for human survival not Polar Bears. They are survivors. As for Al Gore he just can’t help telling fairy tales to the children.

Keith W.

“stacyglen says:
September 29, 2012 at 9:53 am
Jack Simmons: I believe:the dead bodies were seen after a storm. He was flying over the area regularly for other research and saw some dead bears. He had not see dead bears on earlier flights. He asked around and no-one else could remember seeing dead polar bears. He got permission in writing from his local office to published this very minor factoid. On this slim basis a myth was born.
If you are reprimanded in 2012 for something in 2007 and 2008 or 2004, you have to ask why was there was no reprimand in 2009, or 2010. What has changed if it is not office politics.”

Stacy, you didn’t read the report accurately. The reprimand has nothing to do with the polar bear report. The reprimand was for releasing government documents without authorization. That can be a serious offense. Attention was drawn to the polar bear report in connection to this because the observation flights where he saw polar bear bodies were connected to generating the documents that he released without authorization. The flights had a different purpose than looking for polar bears, an environmental impact study that dealt with oil exploration. Monett released the reports of that study to the exploration opponents without receiving permission first. That was what was investigated and what he was reprimanded for.

In the last 8 years the agw crowd has nothing to show but these same old four polar bears that died in the Beauifort Sea after a storm.
By now these bears must stink to high heaven.
Don’t they have any bears that died more recently? Is there a dead polar bear shortage?
/sarc

Carter

So basically the report was correct! And the polar bear did die, but because he released the truth he was found guilty. Hmm, it would seem to me that under different circumstances AGW sceptics would be crying, ‘cover up’. if the truth had not come out. Come on you guys, play fair!
REPLY: The issue is mostly with Gore’s ridiculous claims, AGW had noting to do with the dead polar bear and a dead polar bear does not a trend make. Monnet didn’t speak out when Gore took his observation and turned into into a bogus sympathy pitch -Anthony

joel

Our govt is just all screwed up. He was flying a regular route counting whales to satisfy some reg to keep the Eskimos happy about the number of whales in the area. Imagine the money wasted for years doing this sort of nonsense whale counting, and then he saw some dead bears one day, hooked up with a climate alarmist, and the rest is history. He published his dead bear observation knowing full well how it would be spun by the alarmists. He is guilty of being party to a scientific fraud.
BTW, the best explanation is that the bears drowned during a storm. The interface between the ocean and the air in a storm is extremely foamy and not breathable. BTW, the number of dead bears seen that one year was never equalled, AFAIK.

clipe

For some reason I can’t connect to the internet unless via expat shield.
I’m stuck with UK TV.
BBC 4
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BzIOEP4fsmZ8d2J6Z3dDX3l6YUE