Newsbytes: Polar Bear Population Growing Despite Declining Sea Ice

Great News! But Where Is The News Coverage?


From The GWPF and Dr. Benny Peiser

Exciting news about polar bears in eastern Canada: a new the peer-reviewed paper concludes that despite sea ice having declined since the 1970s, polar bear numbers in Davis Strait have not only increased to a greater density than other seasonal-ice subpopulations, but it may now have reached its ‘carrying capacity.’ This is great news. But where is the shouting from the roof-tops? This peer-reviewed paper was published February 19, 2013. No press release was issued that I could find and consequently, there was no news coverage. Funny, that. –Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, 10 June 2013


One of the interesting aspects of the current temperature standstill is that it persists despite several El Ninos and La Ninas. Since 2006 the influence of these events has been more pronounced in satellite data; El Ninos in 2007 and 2009-10, La Ninas in 2008, 2010–2012. These events have increased the ‘noise’ of the global temperature data in recent years. Removing this noise is tricky, but without it there is a hint, just a hint, that sans El Nino/La Nina effects and volcanic dips, the global temperature might be reducing. As usual, five more years of data will be fascinating to analyse. –David Whitehouse, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 11 June 2013

Prof. Murry Salby, climate scientist at Macquarie University of Sydney, made a presentation in Hamburg on April 18th as part of a European tour. Prof. Salby is author of the textbook Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate (Cambridge University Press) and Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics (Academic Press) and is renowned worldwide as an astrophysicist. He recently caused excitement with new findings on the relationship of the 12C- and 13C isotopes and the development of CO2-concentration. From the findings he concluded that the anthropogenic emissions only had a slight impact on the global CO2-concentrations. They are mainly a consequence of temperature changes. This relationship is known up to now only from the warming phases after the last ice ages. Prof. Salby extends this relationship to our current climate development. —Die kalte Sonne, 8 June 2013

I did a quick post yesterday on the May numbers on RSS [satellite data], which fell sharply to 0.139C. The RSS figures are anomalies from the 1979-98 baseline, and I pointed out that, against a baseline of 1981-2010, current temperatures are now only 0.039C higher. I also mentioned that the 1981-2010 average had been artificially depressed by the two eruptions, El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991. Take the two volcanoes out of the equation, and it is clear that there is nothing unusual about current temperatures. –Paul Homewood, Not a Lot Of People Know That, 8 June 2013

When the Little Ice Age caused widespread crop failures, mass starvation, and disease in populated Europe some centuries ago, the enlightened ones blamed the climate-related misery and misfortune on the black magic of sorcerers and witches – who were promptly tried and burned at the stake. In other cultures, people performed rain-dances, human sacrifices, or other bizarre rituals, all in a futile attempt to appease the weather gods. Of course the victims of these rituals were often political opponents. Today nothing has changed apparently, as Der Spiegel poignantly demonstrates with its latest online round of hysterics titled Flood Drama in Germany: We’re to Blame! by Jakob Augstein. According to Augstein, today’s German flooding is a result of man’s sins against the climate. Climate deniers are mostly to blame for the “Katastrophe“.Pierre Goselin, No Tricks Zone, 11 June 2013

60 thoughts on “Newsbytes: Polar Bear Population Growing Despite Declining Sea Ice

  1. As far as I remember, North Magnetic Pole is moving same direction-East Canada and further in Russian tundra.

  2. Sorcerers and witches, huh? Funny, that. Nowadays it’s deniers and republicans.

  3. I have yet to find a global warmist prediction or claim which isn’t either misleading, flat out wrong, or 180 degrees wrong. Practically every global warmist is a brainless liar.

  4. Doesn’t matter what the real numbers are. The agenda is what matters and reports will be made to support it whether they are true or not. An otherwise intelligent scientist and self-proclaimed skeptic, Phil Plait, is so bought-into the meme that he can’t evaluate this kind of data (see for example). It’s both pitiful and funny at the same time.

  5. None of this is at all surprising to us, mainly because we’re the only ones paying any attention…

  6. Does that mean “America’s” Polar Bear populations no longer requires protected status? That’s if the very few around Alaska actually constitute a “population”! Humppff! Rent seekers the flaming lot of them!

  7. Ryan says:
    June 11, 2013 at 7:52 am
    There is tons of news coverage. What does the study say about the value of K longterm?
    Were? If you supply 15 unique links to stories in popular literature you might prove your point. Otherwise your just blowing smoke. The only reason I was aware of this study is that I follow the literature. Carnivore biology is one of my areas of study.
    BTW, I bet you don’t know how K is calculated for carnivores. You obviously don’t know what it means. or how it is used. You showed this by asking such a stupid question in an attempt to distract and confuse while trying to look as if you know something. You really are a one trick pony, just like the rest of your fellow travelers.

  8. Certain contrarian commenters here are fond of dropping cryptic statements and questions, but not so hot at supporting them with data. Information content = 0.

  9. “BTW, I bet you don’t know how K is calculated for carnivores. You obviously don’t know what it means. or how it is used. You showed this by asking such a stupid question…”
    It’s one the questions suggested by the authors. You wouldn’t know it from Anthony’s summary, but the authors actually said that the current depression in growth rate is probably a result of reaching capacity OR declining sea ice. Also, that billboard he posted is pure garbage.

  10. I tend to discount Polar Bear studies of the Hudson Bay sub populations for a host of reasons, but this study is of the far more significant Davis Straight sub population.

  11. @Tom Trevor –
    Obviously what your son saw wasn’t a “science center,” it was a branch office of the Ministry of Truth.

  12. @Ryan, one of the problems when assuming everyone else is stupid, is that is what you become.
    I need you to interpret this article ?
    As for tons of news coverage, of the amazing success of polar bears to adapt to a non problem.
    Please cite away.

  13. Eustace Cranch says:
    June 11, 2013 at 8:49 am
    Certain contrarian commenters here are fond of dropping cryptic statements and questions, but not so hot at supporting them with data. Information content = 0.
    Data please.

  14. Climate doesn’t kill polar bears, guns do. 5 times more bears in 40 years since we stopped shooting them. Sounds like a good idea that worked. Kudos to those who got that one through. Think about what would happen to the bears if we kept shooting them but preserved their environment from melting (like we could if we wanted to anyway).

  15. TRM says:
    June 11, 2013 at 10:27 am
    “Climate doesn’t kill polar bears, guns do. 5 times more bears in 40 years since we stopped shooting them.”
    Concur. The best way to be a REAL CONSERVATIONIST is to become as efficient as possible, both with our energy use and our land use. That will do more to protect the wild critters and the trees more than any tree hugger plan. CAGW is scam to redistribute wealth and nothing more. If Gore touched it stinks.

  16. There are estimated to be more than 5 million harp seals off Eastern Canada … if you add to this the populations of ringed seal, hooded seal and bearded seal, then no wonder the bears are doing so good!

  17. “I need you to interpret this article ?”
    Just the parts that the blogs are leaving out, as mentioned above.

  18. Ryan says:
    June 11, 2013 at 11:26 am
    “Data please.”
    Data that sea ice is a factor in polar bear carrying capacity? Do you really doubt something so obviously true?
    My request was for Eustace to provide data for his claim that others are not providing data to support their claims which, oddly, he forgot to do.
    Since you brought up an curious Straw man argument that I might doubt that, ” sea ice is a factor in polar bear carrying capacity? Do you really doubt something so obviously true?”, I’ll point out that there doesn’t appear to be a published optimum Sea ice amount for the optimum success rate for Polar Bears in harsh climates, such as the Arctic.
    Could there be too much Ice, as perhaps there is in such places as Antarctica?
    Polar Bears seems to have the highest life expectancy in warm zoos with little or no ice.

  19. Ryan says:
    June 11, 2013 at 11:26 am
    ““Data please.”
    Data that sea ice is a factor in polar bear carrying capacity? Do you really doubt something so obviously true?
    Or is it the decline in sea ice that we doubt here? It’s so hard to keep track.”
    Please concentrate, Ryan! Trolling is hard, and you might have to share your spot in the limelight with the competition.

  20. Should history repeat itself with a new mini ice age the media and public are also sure to repeat the cycle as well ? discus.
    what is the casue ? well there is all the pollution ! now thats a theme thats running even now .
    And who is to blame for that pollution? well we all know how the media loves pitch black steam pollution from cooling towers and this is in the good times !
    So the answer is quite simple, industry will be blamed, the bigger, the more so, and with even better photoshops. Even if they have cleaned up their act the dwell time/delay curve will be used by the media as a sharp stick to poke them with as a way of expressing the populations pent up frustration, because “someone has to be blamed”, it does not make a good story if its just a natural change in the weather.
    The best form of defence is then surely attack, and with the science we now have through WUWT and all the other brilliant contributors to the game its time to turn the blame to the wamists for wasting so much time and effort that could otherwise have been spent preparing for the new minimum.

  21. @Lyan;
    Currently sea ice is at the baseline average, higher than the last several years. Maybe it’ll crash again this summer, forcing the Dear Polies to survive on berries and goslings, again.

  22. Actually, these are mythical polar bears, the real ones having gone extinct during one of the many previous warmer-than-now periods, especially during the Eemian interglacial, some 110-130k years ago.

  23. We know that polar bears survived an ice free Arctic. Here are some reasons why they have proved to be so resilient over the past 10,000 years.
    Alternative Foods

    Estimating the Energetic Contribution of Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Summer Diets to the Total Energy Budget
    The analysis indicated that it is possible for polar bears to maintain their body mass while on shore by feeding on arctic charr and seal blubber. Polar bears of body masses up to 280 kg could gain sufficient energy from blueberries to match the daily energy loss.
    Food habits of polar bears on land during the ice-free period in western Hudson Bay were examined between 1986 and 1992. In contrast to previous studies, feeding on vegetation during the ice-free period was common……
    Analyses were made of 233 scats collected from islands in James Bay and 212 scats gathered on the southwest coast of Hudson Bay. Birds, primarily Anatidae, were the most commonly used summer and autumn food of bears in James Bay. Marine algae and grasses were the foods most often eaten by bears on the mainland….
    Bears which fed in the dump were significantly heavier than those which did not. There was no evidence that bears using the dump gained either reproductive or survival advantages….
    …During spring and summer, polar bears in some areas increased predation on migratory harp seals and beluga whales. In Western Hudson Bay, bearded seal consumption declined between 1995 and 2001 for both male and female bears and continued to decline among females up to the most recent sampling (2004)….Overall, our data indicate that polar bears are capable of opportunistically altering their foraging to take advantage of locally abundant prey…

    Swimming Abilities

    Consequences of long-distance swimming and travel over deep-water pack ice for a female polar bear during a year of extreme sea ice retreat
    ….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…..The extraordinary long distance swimming ability of polar bears, which we confirm here, may help them cope with reduced Arctic sea ice……
    Polar bear cubs may reduce chilling from icy water by sitting on mother’s back
    …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….

  24. arthurpeacock says:
    June 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Ryan says:
    June 11, 2013 at 11:26 am
    Do you really doubt something so obviously true?

    That’s the warmist religion in a nutshell.

    “It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.”
    Will Rogers
    Will Rogers also said something along the lines of, “Everybody’s ignorant….only on different subjects.”
    Ryan, hang around on WUWT. You may become less ignorant on this subject.

  25. If sea ice was contracting, it would mean that the polar bears have to go less distance to get a decent feed of seal steak. Also the density of seal steaks on the edge of the sea ice would increase.
    Feast time !! No more 200km trek to get a steak, Hog’s Breath is just round the corner.

  26. Ryan, are you referring to “K” as “The Equilibrium Constant,” or as a “Strike Out?”
    We need some polar bears down in New England, as the seals are becoming a royal pain. The only thing that eats seals now is Great White Sharks, which are becoming more common and also eat tourists. Therefore, if the bears ate a few tourists, it would be OK, because bears are much cuter. It’s a price we’ll have to pay to increase the stocks of codfish. (100,000 seals eating five codfish a day is 182.5 million codfish per year.) Seals aren’t so cute, when seafood is no longer affordable, and polar bears become cuter.

  27. Chris B says:
    June 11, 2013 at 8:19 am
    “Maybe not despite, but rather because of declining Sea Ice?”
    I believe this to be true. Hunting seals on ice is a two dimensional problem. Hunting with no ice and you have linear shorelines as your hunting grounds – the seals need the ice, too, otherwise they would have to conduct their fishing and birthing activities on land.
    I’m not sure what CAGW proponents think the polar bear did during much hotter times in the Holocene and in warmer interglacials. They didn’t magically appear during the little ice age, for example, but rather are 600,000yrs old – and were brown bears before that. Hate to break this news to the bulk of alarmists and even to “experts”.

  28. JabbaTheCat says:
    June 11, 2013 at 11:52 am
    Thanks JabbaTheCat. If anyone bothers to read the paper you find that polar bears appear to be ‘managed’. ‘Harvesting’ is allowed if populations are thought to require it for a variety of reasons.
    God save the polar bears from conservationists.

  29. Oh, I forgot, the conservationists also pull a tooth from every polar bear they capture. So if you hear a polar bear with a lisp it’s been ‘researched’by a conservationist.

  30. To clarify my prior comment: Polar bears are cuter than Great White Sharks, (and also many tourists, but tourists have wallets.)

  31. “Currently sea ice is at the baseline average, higher than the last several years. Maybe it’ll crash again this summer, forcing the Dear Polies to survive on berries and goslings, again.”
    Well it’s a good thing polar bears reach maturity and reproduce in one quarter of a season…

  32. Chris B says:
    June 11, 2013 at 8:19 am
    Maybe not despite, but rather because of declining Sea Ice?
    More likely no HUNTING allowed. Humans are the main predators of Polar bears. Also bears are feeding at human dumps and even invading cabins/houses.

  33. The quote from Dr Murry sadly still needs reflecting upon….”It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with the data, it’s wrong!” Feynman
    There are some who still don’t get it. Their imagination is greater and more supreme than truth.

  34. Ryan says:
    June 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm
    Did you not read any of those links and abstracts which Jimbo posted, above? None of those studies pierced your bubble?

  35. I know someone posted this before.. but what the heck.
    A daddy polar bear and a baby polar bear were walking across the ice and the baby polar bear said to the daddy polar bear, ”Dad, am I a polar bear?,
    ”Yes” said the daddy polar bear, “you are”.
    After a while the baby polar bear asked again, “Dad am I really a polar bear?”
    and the daddy polar bear said, “Yes, you really are a polar bear, why do you ask?”
    and the baby polar bear said………..
    “because I’m b***dy freeeezing

  36. Thank heavens for this. I heard somewhere credible that polar bears were driven into prostitution by ACW.

  37. I have some urgent news regarding Arctic sea ice…
    Having studied the satellite-sourced graphs daily on the Sea Ice Page at Wattsupwiththat, I can make the following prediction:
    ‘Arctic sea ice trends in 2013 will be incredibly average…’

  38. Wayne,
    The main food source for PB’s is around the very edge of the ice.
    If sea ice expands the PB’s have to travel much further to get a feed.
    If sea ice contracts, its like having a MacDonalds just around the corner. 🙂

  39. All polar bear populations increased from the 1970s, because that was when international regulations on polar bear hunting were enacted. This is clear from the literature, and nothing to do with climate change.
    Like land glaciers, it appears that most, but not all, populations are in decline or at risk. A proper analysis of polar bear population would include all data available.
    The data for the Peacock study comes from 2005 – 2007 (per their abstract). They point out that reproductive rates have declined, possibly as a result of sea ice changes. Commensurate with previous reports, this suggests that, because of lower reproductive rates, that community is at risk, along with others. Some populations do not seem to be at risk at this time.

  40. “barry” admits that the rise in the Polar bear population has “nothing to do with climate change.”
    That argument cuts both ways: climate change had nothing to do with the past polar bear decline, either, which was due to hunting [Polar bear skins have doubled in price over the past 3 years].

  41. dbstealey,
    the point is that the article omits information like the things you mention, and thus is spurious. Data should be investigated properly, or it is misleading. Clearly, hunting prior to the 70s was the primary cause of polar bear decline, and regulations the primary cause of population increase. That should not be confused with climate change effects, as is the case regarding the top article.

  42. barry,
    You have absolutely no proof that ‘climate change’ [which always happens] has any effect on PB populations, and you sound ridiculous even implying it.
    I provided evidence of the reason for the decline and recovery of the PB population, while you emit your opinion — which stems from your climate alarmism.
    Polar bears are not dying off due to climate change.

  43. dbstealey, I was not trying to ‘prove’ anything, just pointing out the deficiencies in the article. I’ll take it you accept my point, seeing as you have not contended it.
    Your article says warmer temperatures are responsible for polar bear deaths. Not sure it corroborates your point.
    The following institution is the foremost authority on polar bear populations (repository of studies, research and observations, ongoing).
    If you know of another resource that is as comprehensive, I will check it out and add it to my bookmarks.

  44. barry says:
    “Your article says warmer temperatures are responsible for polar bear deaths. Not sure it corroborates your point.”
    barry, it is hard to respect your point of view when you take this article seriously. FYI, it was a comic parody of your polar bear nonsense.
    But the comedy went right over your head. I’m sure the other readers understood that I was making fun of your polar bear alarmism. [For more parody of climate alarmists like yourself, see here.]

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