Another 'polar bears are in trouble' story….yawwwn

polarbear_billboard

The reality is: polar bears are doing better than 50 years ago

From the University of Washington and the department of unbearable press releases:

First global review on the status, future of Arctic marine mammals

For Arctic marine mammals, the future is especially uncertain. Loss of sea ice and warming temperatures are shifting already fragile Northern ecosystems.

The precarious state of those mammals is underscored in a multinational study led by a University of Washington scientist, published this week in Conservation Biology, assessing the status of all circumpolar species and subpopulations of Arctic marine mammals, including seals, whales and polar bears. The authors outline the current state of knowledge and their recommendations for the conservation of these animals over the 21st century.

“These species are not only icons of climate change, but they are indicators of ecosystem health, and key resources for humans,” said lead author Kristin Laidre, a polar scientist with the UW Applied Physics Laboratory.

The overall numbers and trends due to climate change are unknown for most of the 78 populations of marine mammals included in the report: beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales; ringed, bearded, spotted, ribbon, harp and hooded seals; walruses; and polar bears.

The paper reviews population sizes and trends over time, if known, for each group, ranging from millions of ringed seals to fewer than a hundred beluga whales in Northern Canada’s Ungava Bay.

“Accurate scientific data – currently lacking for many species – will be key to making informed and efficient decisions about the conservation challenges and tradeoffs in the 21st century,” Laidre said.

The publicly available report also divides the Arctic Ocean into 12 regions, and calculates the changes in the dates of spring sea ice retreat and fall freeze-up from NASA satellite images taken between 1979 and 2013.

Reductions in the sea ice cover, it finds, are “profound.” The summer ice period was longer in most regions by five to 10 weeks. The summer period increased by more than 20 weeks, or about five months, in the Barents Sea off Russia.

The species most at risk from the changes are polar bears and ice-associated seals.

“These animals require sea ice,” Laidre said. “They need ice to find food, find mates and reproduce, to rear their young. It’s their platform of life. It is very clear those species are going to feel the effects the hardest.”

Whales may actually benefit from less ice cover, at least initially, as the open water could expand their feeding habitats and increase food supplies.

Approximately 78 percent of the Arctic marine mammal populations included in the study are legally harvested for subsistence across the Arctic.

“There’s no other system in the world where top predators support human communities the ways these species do,” Laidre said.

The study recommends:

  • Maintaining and improving co-management with local and governmental entities for resources that are important to the culture and well-being of local and indigenous peoples.
  • Recognizing variable population responses to climate change and incorporating those into management. In the long term, loss of sea ice is expected to be harmful to many Arctic marine mammals, however many populations currently exhibit variable responses.
  • Improving long-term monitoring while recognizing monitoring for all species will be impossible. Alternatives include collecting valuable data from subsistence harvests, using remote methods to track changes in habitat, and selecting specific subpopulations as indicators.
  • Studying and mitigating the impacts of increasing human activities including shipping, seismic exploration, fisheries and other resource exploration in Arctic waters.
  • Recognizing the limits of protected species legislation. A balanced approach with regard to regulating secondary factors, such as subsistence harvest and industrial activity, will be needed, since protected species legislation cannot regulate the driver of habitat loss.

While the report aims to bring attention to the status and future of Arctic mammals, the authors hope to provoke a broader public response.

“We may introduce conservation measures or protected species legislation, but none of those things can really address the primary driver of Arctic climate change and habitat loss for these species,” Laidre said. “The only thing that can do that is the regulation of greenhouse gases.”

###

The report was funded by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and NASA. Co-authors are Harry Stern at the UW; Kit Kovacs, Christian Lydersen and Dag Vongraven at the Norwegian Polar Institute; Lloyd Lowry at the University of Alaska; Sue Moore at the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service; Eric Regehr at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage; Steven Ferguson at Fisheries and Oceans Canada; &Ostroke;ystein Wiig at the University of Oslo; Peter Boyeng and Robyn Angliss at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center; Erik Born and Fernando Ugarte at the Greenland Institute of National Resources; and Lori Quakenbush at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The study builds on a 2013 report by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, a multinational group that advises the Arctic Council on biodiversity and conservation issues. Laidre was one of the lead authors for the chapter on marine mammals.

For more information, contact Laidre at 206-616-9030 or klaidre@uw.edu. She will leave March 20 to begin fieldwork in Greenland.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

For Arctic marine mammals, the future is especially uncertain. Loss of sea ice and warming temperatures are shifting already fragile Northern ecosystems.

The precarious state of those mammals is underscored in a multinational study led by a University of Washington scientist, published this week in Conservation Biology, assessing the status of all circumpolar species and subpopulations of Arctic marine mammals, including seals, whales and polar bears. The authors outline the current state of knowledge and their recommendations for the conservation of these animals over the 21st century.

“These species are not only icons of climate change, but they are indicators of ecosystem health, and key resources for humans,” said lead author Kristin Laidre, a polar scientist with the UW Applied Physics Laboratory.

A [fat] polar bear is shown on the north slope of Alaska. Credit: Eric Regehr, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A [fat] polar bear is shown on the north slope of Alaska. Credit: Eric Regehr, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The overall numbers and trends due to climate change are unknown for most of the 78 populations of marine mammals included in the report: beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales; ringed, bearded, spotted, ribbon, harp and hooded seals; walruses; and polar bears.

The paper reviews population sizes and trends over time, if known, for each group, ranging from millions of ringed seals to fewer than a hundred beluga whales in Northern Canada’s Ungava Bay.

“Accurate scientific data – currently lacking for many species – will be key to making informed and efficient decisions about the conservation challenges and tradeoffs in the 21st century,” Laidre said.

The publicly available report also divides the Arctic Ocean into 12 regions, and calculates the changes in the dates of spring sea ice retreat and fall freeze-up from NASA satellite images taken between 1979 and 2013.

###

The report was funded by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and NASA. Co-authors are Harry Stern at the UW; Kit Kovacs, Christian Lydersen and Dag Vongraven at the Norwegian Polar Institute; Lloyd Lowry at the University of Alaska; Sue Moore at the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service; Eric Regehr at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage; Steven Ferguson at Fisheries and Oceans Canada; &Ostroke;ystein Wiig at the University of Oslo; Peter Boyeng and Robyn Angliss at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center; Erik Born and Fernando Ugarte at the Greenland Institute of National Resources; and Lori Quakenbush at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The study builds on a 2013 report by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, a multinational group that advises the Arctic Council on biodiversity and conservation issues. Laidre was one of the lead authors for the chapter on marine mammals.

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138 thoughts on “Another 'polar bears are in trouble' story….yawwwn

    • Right on, Max Photon.

      [article] The species most at risk from the changes are polar bears and ice-associated seals.
      “These animals require sea ice,” Laidre said. “They need ice to find food, find mates and reproduce, to rear their young. It’s their platform of life. It is very clear those species are going to feel the effects the hardest.”

      “Duh”, just how many NON-ice-associated seals are there …. that are now living in Arctic waters?
      HA, I guess that Kristin Laidre believes it is far better to tell a few half-truths rather than outright lies or far-flung exaggerations.
      Polar bears do not require sea ice to find food, mates, reproduce or to rear their young. If there was no sea ice …. their food would come to them on shore.
      Seals do not need sea ice to find mates, to birth their young or to rear their young. If there was no sea ice …. the females would come to shore to birth and rear their young (Polar Bear food).
      If there was no sea ice …. the female seals and their pups would be “negatively” affected ……… whereas both Polar Bear males, females and their cubs would be “positively” affected. (Their food has to come on-shore to them)
      Like I posted once before, ….. iffen all the Arctic ice melts, … the most dastardly problem that Polar Bears will have to contend with, ….. is, … like so, … to wit:
      http://vineyardgazette.com/sites/default/files/article-assets/main-photos/2013/ml_skiffs_island_seals.jpg

  1. Accurate data currently unavailable? Or by failing to actually do the field work, while blowing the budget doing activism meetings and wilfully ignoring the work of real wildlife biologists..
    Oh noes.. its a crisis.. we did not bother to do our jobs but we BELIEVE.
    Another incestuous bunch of parasites who would be of greater benefit to taxpayers if placed on the welfare rolls.
    This is the normal practise of modern bureaucracy, policy based evidence manufacturing.

    • @ John Robertson, Before any more of this rubbish happens, the federal government committees on the Environment for all of these countries should Subpoena the diaries and airline info of all these so-called Scientists to see what they are actually doing with the Money we, the Taxpayers, give them. How many Talkfests they attend instead of actually getting out there in the Fields. I would hazard a guess and say not many would be going “out there” but what is a lot easier is mail-listing all your complicit mates in the Climate-Change email List to set the Agenda for the next Talkfest. What an utter Waste of our Money all this is.

  2. “We may introduce conservation measures or protected species legislation, but none of those things can really address the primary driver of Arctic climate change and habitat loss for these species,” Laidre said. “The only thing that can do that is making billionaires out of Wall Street millionaires trading carbon credits.” “That’s the only thing that can save the world.” the regulation of greenhouse gases.”
    There ya go, fixed it for ya.

    • Clearly Photoshopped. The floor beam hasn’t buckled, the train car isn’t tilting from the weight, and the elderly ladies haven’t keeled over from the smell.

      • The shot is of a publicity stunt for a film in London. Two men in an amazingly realistic polar bear costume roamed around on the trains. They had studied how polar bears move in detail and it was incredibly convincing at first glance.

      • Old’un
        A pedant writes:-
        That’s not London. Based on the livery of the train and the destination indicator, I’d say the picture is taken in the Czech Republic.

      • GG:
        You are right!
        The stunt in London a month or so ago (by Sky TV) got wide coverage because it was so well done. If you google it you will see many video clips. They are all on the Underground, but I thought that he had also been on one of the overground services, as the livery looked familiar.

      • Plainly not London Bridge Station – the train is on time, and the bear doesn’t have fourteen dozen people trying to climb on over it . . . .
        Times have not been good at London Bridge Station since Christmas, until (whisper it) the last few days.
        Auto – thoroughly fed-up with the unreliability of commute trains into and out of London Bridge Station [and I know the rebuild will be wonderful when it is finished, about the time I retire!]

  3. The authors outline the current state of knowledge…
    …based on the old false statistics…and flat out lies

  4. Laidre said. “The only thing that can do that is the regulation of greenhouse gases.”
    Her money statement.

  5. You know what people? I’m just going to call bulls### on the polar bear study. But, hey, they got paid by BIG GOVERNMENT right?

  6. So, as I understand it, although Polar Bear numbers are good now and their habitat is fine now, they should be considered endangered because it is predicted their critical ice habitat will soon disappear due to global warming. They are essentially taking that prediction as a fact. Is that reasonable? Well, until the last few years at least the arctic ice has been undergoing a considerable decline, which certainly means there is reason for concern, and at least a reason to keep a close eye on the situation. But considering that most of the other CAGW predictions of catastrophe have so far proven to be overblown, it seems to early to start panicking about the polar bears.

    • Notice how they refer to area of sea ice, not ice volume. Let’s see how much melts this year compared with last. The Arctic isn’t warmer in summer lately, if ever. It is the same miserable 3 degrees C.
      The statement about the Siberian summer being extended “by 5 months” is ridiculous. Summer in Mongolia which is south of all of Siberia is only 3 months long. Mid-June to mid-September and then it starts snowing again. The permafrost starts in mid-Mongolia and runs all the way to the Arctic Ocean.
      I hope Greenland melts. It is a miserable place to live.

    • Since these animals are apex predators dosn’t it rather imply that the whole Arctic ecology is doing very well. Given that generally predators are limited by available prey.
      The only other possible explantion would be something was happening in the past, which is no longer happening.

      • How many eco-loons did they get to snack on last summer when they were trying to get through the “open” Northwest Passage? Those calories should have been good to raise a few more pups as well.

    • Indeed!
      How did these poor creatures in the polar regions survive the first few thousand years of the current Holocene Era, when it was significantly warmer than today?
      How come it is always in those years, when there is a late spring/long winter that the polar bears have the lowest survival rates?
      Alarmist grant addicts are responsible for so much of the climate BS fantasy tales.

      • How come it is always in those years, when there is a late spring/long winter that the polar bears have the lowest survival rates?“. Evidence please.

      • There is an attractive sandy beach with driftwood and shells on the north shore of Greenland that was formed during the Holocene Optimum.
        “”The beach ridges which we have had dated to about 6000-7000 years ago were shaped by wave activity,” says Astrid Lyså. They are located at the mouth of Independence Fjord in North Greenland, on an open, flat plain facing directly onto the Arctic Ocean. Today, drift ice forms a continuous cover from the land here. Astrid Lyså says that such old beach formations require that the sea all the way to the North Pole was periodically ice free for a long time.”
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/08/inconvenient-ice-study-less-ice-in-the-arctic-ocean-6000-7000-years-ago/
        Do these people not do the simple research I just did? The bears and narwhales must have been okay then

  7. “The overall numbers and trends due to climate change are unknown for most of the 78 populations of marine mammals included in the report: beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales; ringed, bearded, spotted, ribbon, harp and hooded seals; walruses; and polar bears.”
    ============
    No matter, lets give millions in subsidies to GE and Siemens to build wind farms that kill thousands of raptors, bats and songbirds.
    It is all about the money, human nature not Mother nature…@#$%,…..if this wasn’t a family blog…I would miss the (barely) constrained comments.

  8. Hmmmm…I wonder what part of Applied Physics concerns itself with the ecology of polar bears?
    The last time I was in the Physics building at the University of Washington I saw one of those marvellous pendulums suspended from the high ceiling, but no polar bears.

    • It’s worse than we thought – polar bears are already completely gone from Washington!
      Hard to tell which is worse – scientists publishing this stuff or millions of people still beveling it.

  9. How did these bears survive in an Arctic 2°C to 19°C warmer than now, with sea ice-free summers?
    —–
    http://www.clim-past.net/9/1589/2013/cp-9-1589-2013.html
    The previous interglacial (Eemian, 130–114 kyr BP) had a mean sea level highstand 4 to 7 meters above the current level, and, according to climate proxies, a 2 to 6 K warmer Arctic summer climate.
    —–
    http://www.pnas.org/content/108/47/18899.full.pdf+html
    There was no indication of ice-shelf presence during the early to mid-Holocene, and multiple lines of evidence suggest gradual early Holocene ice retreat in Disraeli Fiord in response to the warm temperatures recorded in nearby ice cores.
    —-
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379110003185
    The combined sea ice data suggest that the seasonal Arctic sea ice cover was strongly reduced during most of the early Holocene and there appear to have been periods of ice free summers in the central Arctic Ocean.
    —–
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091229105913.htm
    The U.S. Geological Survey found that summer sea-surface temperatures in the Arctic were between 10 to 18°C (50 to 64°F) during the mid-Pliocene, while current temperatures are around or below 0°C (32°F).
    —–
    http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/38/7/603.full
    The consensus among these proxies suggests that Arctic temperatures were ∼19 °C warmer during the Pliocene [2.6 to 5.3 million years ago] than at present, while atmospheric CO2 concentrations were ∼390 ppmv.
    —–
    http://www.micropress.org/stratigraphy/papers/Stratigraphy_6_4_265-275.pdf
    Evidence of both mixed deciduous/coniferous and coniferous forests places mean July temperatures 10°C warmer than today (Vincent 1990). In addition, northwestern Alaska air and sea temperatures during peak Pliocene interglacials were considerably warmer than present, by 7 to 8°C, with no permafrost, and absent or severely limited sea ice (Carter et al. 1986; Kaufman and Brigham-Grette 1993).
    —–
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7433/full/nature11789.html
    On the basis of water stable isotopes, NEEM surface temperatures after the onset of the Eemian (126,000 years ago) peaked at 8 ± 4 degrees Celsius above the mean of the past millennium, followed by a gradual cooling that was probably driven by the decreasing summer insolation. Between 128,000 and 122,000 years ago, the thickness of the northwest Greenland ice sheet decreased by 400 ± 250 metres, reaching surface elevations 122,000 years ago of 130 ± 300 metres lower than the present.
    —–
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018212002015
    Rapid glacial retreat of West Greenland ice sheet in early Holocene
    …. large-scale melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) having started prior to 8,600 calendar years BP [before present] and ended at about 7,700-7,500 calendar years BP, when the Greenland Ice Sheet margin had withdrawn from the fjords and become mainly land-based.
    —–
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379114001000
    Several studies suggest that the Early Holocene (∼6000–10,000 years BP) experienced less summer-sea ice than at present (e.g. Polyak et al., 2010, Funder et al., 2011 and Müller et al., 2012), although not all studies are showing the exact same pattern (Dyke and England, 2003). Stranne et al. (2014) show, using numerical modelling, that the sea ice during the Early Holocene potentially could have moved over to a seasonal regime with sea ice-free summers due to the insolation maxima the Earth experienced at that time.
    —–
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379103002956
    Paleoclimate inferences based on a wide variety of proxy indicators provide clear evidence for warmer-than-present conditions at 120 of these sites [West Arctic]. At the 16 terrestrial sites where quantitative estimates have been obtained, local Holocene Thermal Maximum temperatures (primarily summer estimates) were on average 1.6±0.8°C higher than present.
    —–
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6043/747.full
    Arctic Sea Ice extent during the Holocene Thermal Maximum 8,000 years ago was less than half of the record low 2007 level. [S]ummer sea-ice cover, which reached its Holocene maximum during the LIA, attained its present (~2000) extent at ~4000 years before present. Multiyear sea ice reached a minimum between ~8500 and 6000 years ago, when the limit of year-round sea ice at the coast of Greenland was located ~1000 kilometers to the north of its present position.
    —–

    • Just to make sure non-skeptics understand this:
      Sea level peaked 4 to 6 meters higher during Eemian (130,000 – 115,000 years ago). This is told in Wikipedia also, see
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eemian#Sea_level
      Now, that was not man-made, and since it was natural we’d better be prepared for it rather than imagine we can prevent it.

  10. If you really like wilderness field work paid for with other peoples money, ya gotta keep the taxpayer funded gravy train running rich. And that ain’t gonna happen by acknowledging that natural cycles are having natural effects on the natural flora and fauna in the arctic regions.
    This is carefully crafted propaganda, designed to keep the catastrophic climate coffers brimming:
    “We may introduce conservation measures or protected species legislation, but none of those things can really address the primary driver of Arctic climate change and habitat loss for these species,” Laidre said. “The only thing that can do that is the regulation of greenhouse gases.”

  11. I’m pretty sure that I’m in potential trouble should I find myself too near a Polar Bear. I’ll leave wrestling the Polar Bear to Jim, while I watch from the helicopter…..

    • Wrestling polar bears is a losing proposition. Suggest a 44 magnum caliber rifle with a 44 magnum side arm, as a medium range to ‘get outta my face’ defense system for tundra brush and ice pack security system. Why the same caliber for both rifle and pistol? Maximum knock power with interchangeable ammunition – Keep It Simple Simon! Polar bears and brown bears (grizzlies) are ‘climax predators’, and are to be taken very seriously, with the most effective self protection methods that man has devised.

  12. Why is NASA funding this? I guess they took care of all that space stuff and had some money left over.

  13. Why should we care even if polar bears were in trouble? They’re not below us on the food chain, so unless they perform some function I don’t know about, I don’t see why they need to exist.

  14. The article repeats the whole text — it’s twice as long as it needs to be.
    [Reply: Much extraneous subject matter deleted. Thanks, ~mod.]

  15. The overall numbers and trends due to climate change are unknown for most of the 78 populations of marine mammals included in the report
    So…. they don’t have enough data to draw any conclusions, following which they state the conclusions they don’t have enough data to support, followed by stating without ambiguity what the only possible course of action is to mitigate the problem they don’t have the data to show exists.
    I’ve been studying my family income. I have no data on my family income. I’ve concluded that I am living in poverty, and the only possible solution is the for the government to give me a million dollars.

    • David,
      That was the sentence which caught my attention as well. If you don’t have data on numbers and trends, how are you able to draw any conclusions, let alone come up with recommendations? Personally, I’d be embarassed to be associated with a study like this.
      The other one was her reference to “icons”. That should be a giveaway that science takes a back seat. Exactly what do media icons have to do with science research? (Besides their usefulness in raising money.)

  16. Seems that Bill Hooke’s words (via Judith Curry – On the social contract between science and society, http://judithcurry.com/2015/03/18/on-the-social-contract-between-science-and-society) are just as true for polar bear science:
    How have we faced these new stresses? Unfortunately, many scientists have responded by resorting to advocacy. Worse, we’ve too often dumbed down our lobbying until it’s little more than simplistic, orchestrated, self-serving pleas for increased research funding, accompanied at times by the merest smidgen of supporting argument.
    At the same time, as we’ve observed and studied emerging natural resource shortages, environmental degradation, and vulnerability to hazards, we’ve allowed ourselves to turn into scolds. Worse, we’ve chosen sides politically, largely abandoning any pretense at nonpartisanship.

  17. This is an example of the [trimmed] that Sen. Ted Cruz asked Adm. Bolden if Bolden had the balls to stop.
    Bolden is an appointed Federal bureaucrat and by nature has no [trimmed also ] President.
    Ha ha

  18. How special. Kristin says more management, monitoring, study and mitigating is needed.
    Dear Kristin,
    Shut up.
    Good day.

  19. Oh my goodness . . . Dr. Susan Crockford ought to have a FIELD DAY with this post . . .!
    Polar Bears in trouble . . ? NOT ! ! ! ! ! . Now I can’t say about the rest of the speices mentioned, but LOSS OF SUMMER ICE ISN”T an ISSUE . .! As I recall from Dr. Crockford’s website, IT’s TOO MUCH WINTER ICE that can cause problems with the Seals bearing young, followed by effects to the Polar Bears.
    When will this madness end . . ? ! ?

  20. . . .awwww crap . . . I misspelled Dr. Crockford’s first name ( . . SuSan, not Suan .). ( . . sorry Dr. Crockford . .

  21. “The overall numbers and trends due to climate change are unknown for most of the 78 populations of marine mammals included in the report”
    OH WELL, it’s UNKNOWN, definitely time to PANIC then…..
    It’s unknown how often I might be attached by a unicorn here on the North Coast of the USA (southern shore of Lake Ontario) so my normal reaction would be to PANIC about unicorn attacks….
    Heck, I better prepare a unicorn defense strategy right away, can never be too careful when it comes to UNKNOWN risks in your day to day life….
    What will I do about unknown Sasquatch’s here ??? ON NOES…..
    Cheers, KevinK

  22. I read this paper but couldn’t be bothered with a post…
    However, in response to a SCIENCE magazine news item (“Breaking news and analysis from the world of science policy”) http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2015/03/first-comprehensive-review-arctic-s-marine-mammals-highlights-policy-challenges
    I left this comment, in part:
    “There is no mention of the role of natural variability in sea ice conditions mentioned in this paper: not of the effects of the AMO in the Barents Sea, nor of the well-documented influx of heavy spring ice that affects the Southern Beaufort Sea every ten years or so (which was the cause of the recent decline in polar bears in that region).
    Implying that all the blame for changes in population size of AMM (noted recently or expected in the near future) can be placed squarely on global-warming-caused sea ice declines is unscientific and unsupportable. Arctic sea ice is not a naturally stable habitat.
    The message of this paper seems to be: “Protect Arctic Marine Mammals even though we don’t really know how much (or even if), many of their populations have been affected by recent sea ice declines that we blame on global warming (without any consideration of natural variability) – and afterwards, give us the money to find out what’s happening.”
    But I note also that a similar paper (“Quantifying the sensitivity of arctic marine mammals to climate-induced habitat change”), written by a subset of the same authors (Laidre, Stirling, Lowry, Wiig, Heide-Jørgensen, Ferguson), was published in 2008 ahead of the 2009 IPCC meeting in Copenhagen.
    Its concluding sentence said:
    “Although it remains difficult to accurately factor in the consequences of climate warming on assessments of population sizes and trends for most species of Arctic marine mammals, it remains critical to do so because the available evidence suggests alterations to Arctic sea ice and species ecology will be significant, assuming the climate continues to warm as predicted by the IPCC.”
    The concluding sentence of this 2015 paper, published online ahead of the upcoming 2015 IPCC meeting in December, says:
    “We suggest that common ground can be found if all stakeholders recognize AMMs [Arctic Marine Mammals] as iconic species with inherent value and as resources connected to the well-being of humans who harvest, interact, and live with them. Accurate scientific data—currently lacking for many species—will be key to making informed and effective decisions about the conservation challenges and tradeoffs facing AMMs in the 21st century.”
    [List of authors: Kristin L. Laidre, Harry Stern, Kit M. Kovacs, Lloyd Lowry, Sue E. Moore, Eric V. Regehr, Steven H. Ferguson, Øystein Wiig, Peter Boveng, Robyn P. Angliss, Erik W. Born, Dennis Litovka, Lori Quakenbush, Christian Lydersen, Dag Vongraven, and Fernando Ugarte]
    Politics or Science: what do you think? Or just a plea for continued grant support?
    Dr. Susan Crockford, zoologist

    • of course it’s a self-serving plea for grant support… in an era of declining US science budget outlays.
      To succeed in today’s hyper-competitive grant chase by young university govt grant-supported researchers, anything that can distinguish oneself from the field with the political overseers monitoring political correctness makes statements of fealty to the CO2 AGW religion too common.

    • You mean iconic isn’t a scientific term?
      As I mentioned above, Dr Laidre’s use of the term icon was a dead giveaway this paper was not about science. And how anyone can reach conclusions and suggest solutions when they admit to not having any data is beyond me. Unless they possessed their conclusions and solutions prior to conducting their research. In that case who needs data?
      Also interesting is how they apparently haven’t moved their research forward in the 6 years since their 2009 paper. They didn’t know enough then and they still don’t know enough.

  23. They say polar bears are “indicators of ecosystem health”? Well then it’s obvious that the ecosystem is in great shape!

  24. Rather than this constant barrage of garbage on the declining populations of polar bears, I would like to see a real life article on WUWT from a couple of Inuits who live and work in areas where polar bears are to be found.
    Even better if the Inuits were of the older generation and from different regions and could recount their experiences and opinions on past and present polar bear numbers.
    Even a transcript of an interview with a few inuits would go a long way towards clarifying the whole deal on polar bear numbers. and on a blog as prominent as WUWT it would be very hard to counter any points the locals raised on polar bear numbers based on their personal anecdotal and /or written experiences.
    As seems so usual today with the dismal depths that so much of science has now sunk to a point where models have become the new reality in an almost total disconnect with real time reality and real time science in so many disciplines, the actual people on the ground, the locals are rarely if ever quoted or I strongly suspect ever even consulted and asked for their experiences and opinions
    After all why ask them ?. They don’t have a university degree. They aren’t eligible for any funding and are therefore just ignorant yokels such is the apparent contempt now evident in so many scientific circles for anybody not self designated as a “Scientist”.
    A case of; O’ Bow humbly all ye of lower caste .
    Well lets just suggest that out here and far from the climate and polar bear fairies at the bottom of the University garden the former respectful attitude towards all things science is fast being reversed.
    For many of us out here in that “wilderness”, those far back blocks that can only be reached after an hour’s drive from the city on the freeway, the new and ignorant “yokels” are increasingly being seen as those “out of this world”, ivory towered, lavishly funded and thoroughly ignorant of real life, degreed “experts” who do little but look at their computer screens and play with their models in their A/C ivory towers and then proclaim that they are the ones who know the truth and that truth is to be obeyed to the smallest tittle.
    It shall be handed down from the Ivory Towers on the tablets of the various scientific Pravdas and all shall look and read and marvel at the wisdom and knowledge of the Great Ones in their Ivory towers.
    Cynicism about the increasing avalanche of scientific vapour ware pronouncements is rising very rapidly out here in streets of those same “back blocks”.
    The natives know damn well that their hard earned is being splurged mightily and almost exclusively for the climate science troughers benefit and they are liking it less and less.
    A good friend of mine who was delegated to put Australia’s contribution into the Doomsday Seed Collection Millennium Vault on Spitzbergen told me that in Spitzbergen at least, nobody went anywhere anymore even as a group without carrying a rifle to hopefully frighten off the burgeoning numbers of polar bears which are becoming very aggressive.
    Mostly a shot or two will frighten one off but if the “frightening” fails and the bear keeps coming it’s a case of shoot to kill or else!
    If you really want to know what is happening out there it’s always a good idea to ask a few of the knowledgeable locals.
    Sometimes the answers will surprise the “experts” no end and create quite a few very red faces.

      • But it will not be for much longer if their plea to restrain greenhouse gases by various taxes and the donation of 100s of billions/yr of tax dollars to India , China and Russia goes ahead as planned.
        I do not believe that these and similar authors , funded by the US taxpayer, realise that their researches can only be conducted on the present scale in a thriving economy based in part on a reasonable cost of energy and raw materials. Clearly human interference in the Arctic needs a careful approach , but the proposed financial measures will not help, IMO.

  25. Any news on how successful the Russian icebreakers have been in keeping their Arctic sea routes open?

  26. Distribution of ozone in the stratosphere is that shared the polar vortex over the North Pole. Circulation in the stratosphere over North America is completely reversed. This means that the influx Arctic air to southeast US and to Europe.

  27. But, but, but. What about the poor Arctic hares, foxes, and wolves? I’ll bet next years wages these twits haven’t even been north of 50. And no. Seeing a poly bear isn’t the last thing you do, unless you are totally stupid. Been there, and you give them a wide berth. Besides, seals taste better to them.

  28. “The summer period increased by more than 20 weeks, or about five months, in the Barents Sea off Russia”
    How do these people define ‘The summer period’ ? If it increased by five months in the Arctic, it must have done the same everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere, no not five days, or even five weeks, but a blistering five months!!!.So it’s far, far worse than we thought. Question: Did anyone else find their summer had increased by five months? How do these people come to such ridiculous conclusions when we know, amongst other things that this year’s melt is not a record? And even if any element of their scaremongering prognostications have any merit, I’m quite sure the Polar Bears, which are at record numbers at the moment, will have the common sense to move a little further North to breed and find their food if their skating rink becomes a tad smaller. I wonder whether Kristin Laidre would help my understanding of her research by answering my queries through these columns?.

  29. “…The overall numbers and trends due to climate change are unknown for most of the 78 populations of marine mammals included in the report: beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales; ringed, bearded, spotted, ribbon, harp and hooded seals; walruses; and polar bears.
    The paper reviews population sizes and trends over time, if known, for each group, ranging from millions of ringed seals to fewer than a hundred beluga whales in Northern Canada’s Ungava Bay.
    “Accurate scientific data – currently lacking for many species – will be key to making informed and efficient decisions about the conservation challenges and tradeoffs in the 21st century,” Laidre said…”

    We don’t know! But it is important!
    Doubletalk by the clueless who are only doing what NASA demands.

    “…The publicly available report also divides the Arctic Ocean into 12 regions, and calculates the changes in the dates of spring sea ice retreat and fall freeze-up from NASA satellite images taken between 1979 and 2013.
    Reductions in the sea ice cover, it finds, are “profound.” The summer ice period was longer in most regions by five to 10 weeks. The summer period increased by more than 20 weeks, or about five months, in the Barents Sea off Russia…”

    From Northern sea ice maximums through to 2013 when the increase in sea ice just starts.

    “…The species most at risk from the changes are polar bears and ice-associated seals…”

    Based on false advertising, Nat Geo and it is part of the NASA requirement to say so.

    “…The study recommends:
    •Maintaining and improving co-management with local and governmental entities for resources that are important to the culture and well-being of local and indigenous peoples.
    •Recognizing variable population responses to climate change and incorporating those into management. In the long term, loss of sea ice is expected to be harmful to many Arctic marine mammals, however many populations currently exhibit variable responses.
    •Improving long-term monitoring while recognizing monitoring for all species will be impossible. Alternatives include collecting valuable data from subsistence harvests, using remote methods to track changes in habitat, and selecting specific subpopulations as indicators.
    •Studying and mitigating the impacts of increasing human activities including shipping, seismic exploration, fisheries and other resource exploration in Arctic waters.
    •Recognizing the limits of protected species legislation. A balanced approach with regard to regulating secondary factors, such as subsistence harvest and industrial activity, will be needed, since protected species legislation cannot regulate the driver of habitat loss…”

    And isn’t it amazing what looking at pictures of sea ice reveals to the emotional and gullible. So of course we need legislation that targets the driver of habitat loss; whatever that might be.

    “…While the report aims to bring attention to the status and future of Arctic mammals, the authors hope to provoke a broader public response.
    “We may introduce conservation measures or protected species legislation, but none of those things can really address the primary driver of Arctic climate change and habitat loss for these species,” Laidre said. “The only thing that can do that is the regulation of greenhouse gases.”

    Alarums and disaster!! Disaster upon disaster! Give us your money and allegiance!

  30. The only thing that can do that is the regulation of greenhouse gases.” [Laidre said]
    That’s a very very strange statement, given that the study did not at any point or in any way look at greenhouse gases.

    • “The only thing that can get more government funding do that is the</strike advocating for the regulation of greenhouse gases.”
      There, that’s more truthful (but since when has truth mattered when it comes to trillion dollar government solutions to non-problems?).

  31. You really have to wonder how these animals managed to survive through 100 of thousands of years of climate change , given that they now seem to be unable to survive changes.
    Meanwhile
    ‘The overall numbers and trends due to climate change are unknown for most of the 78 populations of marine mammals included in the report: ‘ not that will stop them from making claims of ‘doom ‘

  32. Isn’t it time NASA went to the Moon or something? Leave the critters alone–they’ve adapted to sea ice changes a hundred times before. Want to do something for them, maybe shoot fewer and quit dumping plastic trash in the ocean would be a start!

  33. Reblogged this on Norah4you's Weblog and commented:
    When will they ever learn? IF NASA:s figures this time is accurate, Which isn’t proven, Their own lines regarding lowest sea-ice is false!
    According to official figures for Polar Bears counting, not interest organisations of CO2-believers, there are around 22 000 polar bears, not 25 000, but that doesn’t matter –
    In March 2011 each Polar Bear alone (counted on 22 000 individs) had 634 square kilometers alone to walk on.
    Today they have 636 square kilometers….. As far as I know 636 is more than 634? 😛
    Anyhow you can compare with Manhattan 58,8 km² respectively New York City 783,66 km² (land) thus you see that each Ice Bear have more than 80% of NYC area to walk on sea ice alone if anyone of them wants to…….

  34. Fact: The US government is constantly meddling with data for it’s own purposes.
    Here is the latest example. They won’t even leave hurricane record data alone. Here is another example from ‘Not A Lot of People Know That’: https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/wikipedia-rewrite-history-part-ii/
    Hurricane Camille was long recognized as the most powerful hurricane recorded to have made land fall on the mainland of the United States. Recently someone noticed that Wikipedia had revised the maximum wind speed recorded down from previous entries. Turns out Wikipedia was revised because NOAA changed it’s data because of a program called ‘The Atlantic Hurricane Database Re-analysis Project’.
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/data_sub/re_anal.html
    Fact: No data is safe in the hands of the US Government. Integrity, history, science, and facts, mean nothing to them. They have revised and tampered with everything from temperature records and recorded data to unemployment figures. Now it’s hurricane data.
    The country I once swore to defend has a government who’s conduct is no longer defensible.

    • The hurricane reanalysis project was started by Chris Landsea after he joined the NHC after his stint at Colorado State University where he studied under Bill Gray. From that experience he learned that the US hurricane record, especially for older storms, was quite poor and could be quite better. I’m not familiar with problems with Camille’s data, but it was such a small storm I wouldn’t be surprised if some data came from questionable estimates.
      BTW, Landsea resigned from the IPCC in a dispute with Kenneth Trenberth. I had a lot of respect for him before that. Please read http://cstpr.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/science_policy_general/000318chris_landsea_leaves.html

      • Oh, yes. I would like to see how they down graded it. the Hurricane Hunters registered 190 mph winds just before land fall. Now NOAA says it was 175 mph. And that is what I contest. No measurements when it actually came ashore are available since all the instrumentation was destroyed. So the 200 mph wind speed at land fall was an estimate based on damage.
        What is the justification for dropping the historic wind speed recorded by an aircraft specifically equipped to take scientific measurements by 15 mph when the storm was less than 100 mi from land fall? What evidence do they have that the original measurements were wrong?
        Like several other particularly potent storms, such as Andrew, Camille was compact as you point out. But I have no idea why that would make measurements taken of the storm less accurate than they would be for a larger storm.

      • The hurricane hunter planes gauge hurricane winds several ways. This may not be complete, it’s from memory:
        1) Flight level air speed minus ground speed.
        Today it’s done with GPS assistance. I don’t know how it was done in 1969.
        2) Dropsondes
        Instrument packages dropped into the eyewall that radio back reports or temperature and air pressure as they desend. Again, GPS today, I don’t know for certain how they reported wind speed in 1969.
        3) Water appearance
        The visual appearance of the ocean surface is a very important measure of wind at sealevel. However, it’s an approximate measure.
        Basically, the accurate data the hurricane hunters had were temperatures, air pressures and flight level air speed. They also have empirical data for the wind profile from sea level up for typical storms, I don’t know if that could be used with Camille, I do know some storms don’t fit the standard profile.
        I have to go grocery shopping, so I can’t do much digging. Check out https://coast.noaa.gov/hes/docs/postStorm/H_CAMILLE.pdf – it says the highest winds were estimated at 160 mph with gusts to 190 mph. It may be that the 190 mph that has been set aside was from the max gust in that report, and people should have used the 160 mph sustained wind speed. If so, then the reanalysis project has added 15 mph to the the NOAA report.

      • I just read an earlier reanalysis done by a storm chaser at http://extremeplanet.me/2012/06/20/hurricane-camille-was-not-a-category-five/ . His conclusion was that Camille at landfall was between 120mph and 145mph and a pressure well over 909 mb. The discussion/debate that follows is very interesting.
        Oh – this reanalysis was done by a private citizen, though he has volunteered at the NWS. He has a lot of references, data, and analysis of storm damage.
        It appears that information from hurricane hunter planes was lacking:

        Hurricane Camille was last intercepted by Hurricane Hunters more than 150 miles south of its final landfall point near Pass Christian, approximately 24 hours prior to crossing the coastline (NWS, 1969). While rarely mentioned, this final offshore flight suffered mechanical problems and failed to intercept the storm’s eyewall, so the data regarding pressure and windspeed was estimated in order to fill the chronological gap. No reconnaissance flights were flown into the hurricane thereafter, so the 190mph wind figure has no basis in direct observation.

        A survey of structural damage by the National Bureau of Standards concluded the peak winds were 125 mph.

      • So now your saying that Camille was barely a CAT V? I call BS!
        Call whatever you want, I have reasonably thick skin. The only claim I’ve made is “If Landsea says Camille was 175 mph, it was probably 175 mph” over on Paul Homewood’s blog.

  35. Are Polar Bears even a real species?
    Polar bears are essentially white grizzly bears… Setting aside the fatally flawed premise that Arctic Sea ice is vanishing and ignoring the fact that Polar Bears sailed right on through the much warmer Holocene Climatic Optimum… If Polar Bears and Grizzlies can interbreed, producing genetically viable offspring, they are of the same species. Therefore, as long as Grizzlies, Kodiaks and other brown bears live, Polar Bears, as a species, cannot go extinct.
    The traditional definition of “species” as applied to sexually reproducing animals is: If two animals can mate and produce genetically viable offspring, they are of the same species.
    A horse and a donkey can mate and produce a mule; which normally cannot reproduce. A mule is not genetically viable. Therefore horses and donkeys are separate species.
    A Collie and a Dachshund can mate and produce a really odd looking dog; which can reproduce. Collies and Dachshunds are of the same species.
    Using the traditional definition, Polar Bears and Grizzlies are of the same species.
    The modern, revisionist definition of species is: If two organisms would not normally mate and produce offspring; they are of separate species. Using the modern, junk science definition. Roseanne Barr is of a different species than 99.9999% of all human males.
    The “experts” classified Polar Bears as a unique species because they looked and acted different than Brown Bears. This was a mistake…

    The Brown Bear: Father of the Polar Bear?
    Article #1314
    by Ned Rozell
    ——————————————————————————–
    This article is provided as a public service by the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, in cooperation with the UAF research community. Ned Rozell is a science writer at the institute.
    There’s something different about the brown bears of Southeast Alaska’s ABC islands.
    They look like your average Alaska grizzly: milk-chocolate colored fur, a humped back, and a size and reputation that gives humans something to fear when walking the wilds of Alaska.
    The difference in the brown bears of the ABC (Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof) islands isn’t visible. It’s in their DNA. Researchers found the bears are more closely related to polar bears than they are to other brown bears.
    The bears’ baffling background was discovered when Gerald Shields and Sandra Talbot of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology began analyzing the DNA of brown bears from around the world. Talbot, a graduate student, extracted DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic information warehouse in the chromosomes of every living cell) from hundreds of Alaska brown bears. Starting with slivers of kidney or muscle tissue attained from hunting guides, Talbot used a process called polymerase chain reaction to copy tiny fragments of DNA millions of times.
    When the DNA was in a readable form, Shields, a molecular evolutionary biologist, saw the DNA from brown bears on the ABC islands brown bears was unique when compared to brown bears anywhere else on the planet. Their closest relative is an unlikely one–the polar bear.
    A polar bear’s white coat, meat-only diet, and preference to live near and on sea ice make it hard to mistake for a brown bear. But Alaska’s two largest bear species are closely related–so closely that brown and polar bears have mated in zoos and the union has resulted in fertile offspring. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s “Wildlife Notebook Series,” both types of bear had a common ancestor that was neither brown nor polar bear. As each adapted to different environments, the bears developed enough unique characteristics that they looked and acted like separate species.
    With DNA evidence, Shields and his colleagues have launched a new hypothesis–brown bears may have appeared first; polar bears may have arisen from brown bears that wandered north and, over thousands of years, began to sprout white fur and teeth that were better for ripping apart seals than munching berries.
    […]
    http://www2.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF13/1314.html

    Polar Bears probably evolved as a distinct subspecies of Brown Bears because a group of Sangamonian (Eemian) brown bears headed north during warm phases of the last interglacial, just like these Grizzlies are…

    Grizzly Bears on Ice
    At the northern edge of the species’ range, a growing number of grizzlies are eking out a living in territory traditionally dominated by polar bears
    02-01-2006 // Ed Struzik
    ABOUT 50 MILES NORTH of tree line in Canada’s western Arctic, Andrew Derocher picked up the tracks of four grizzly bears following a herd of caribou across hard snow and ice toward the coast. Derocher, a University of Alberta biologist, wasn’t sure whether the tracks had been left by a family or by a male following a female with two cubs. If it turned out to be the latter, he said, the mother and offspring could be in trouble. Contrary to what may appear in popular movies and books, a lone male grizzly is more likely to kill and eat bear cubs than befriend them.
    […]
    Barren ground grizzlies are among the most enigmatic of Arctic mammals. Few in number and rarely seen, they are as much myth as reality.
    […]
    What grizzlies are actually doing up there in the kingdom of their great white cousins is not clearly understood. Biologists have long considered the differences between the two bears significant enough to warrant separate species status. Physical distinctions are obvious: Polar bears are white rather than brown, which helps camouflage the predators from their prey on the sea ice. They are also generally larger, and have heads and bodies that are much more elongated, and therefore better adapted to penetrate seal lairs. Their larger, sharper teeth allow them to tear up seals efficiently, and shorter claws and larger feet make it easier for polar bears to travel on sea ice and swim across great expanses of water.
    Many Eskimos believe that rising temperatures in the Arctic explain why grizzly bears–as well as marten, wolverines and several other species of birds and mammals–are showing up in extreme northern places where they were rarely, if ever, seen before. Global warming, they say, is creating conditions that are more favorable for these animals, at least in the short term.
    While most scientists see that idea as a genuine possibility, experts like Canadian Wildlife Service biologist Ian Stirling, who has studied polar bears for more than 30 years, suspects that some grizzlies have always been venturing onto the ice. Perhaps, Stirling says, “what we’re witnessing today is behavior similar to the evolutionary process that resulted in polar bears filling a rich but vacant niche as supreme predator of the sea ice.”
    […]
    http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Animals/Archives/2006/Grizzly-Bears-on-Ice.aspx

    I Polar Bears and Grizzlies are different species, then Chihuahuas and Siberian Huskies are different species.
    If you look at Fig. 1 of Miller et al., 2006, you’ll see that Polar Bears fit right into Clade 2 with the ABC Islands Brown Bears (ursus arctos sitkensis). Barnes et al., 2002 featured a similar diagram that included fossil subspecies of ursus arctos; once again, Polar Bears fit right into ursus arctos…
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/295/5563/2267/F1.large.jpg
    http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~joyce/davis/Miller%20bear.pdf
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/295/5563/2267.full
    There has never been any scientific basis to categorize Polar Bears as a distinct species. It is clearly a subspecies of ursus arctos.

  36. Rumour has it that the entire world population of polar bears gathered on Svarlbard last week, as they have done for millenia, to view the total eclipse. This congregation of the near extinct mammal led to the mauling of a visitor who was unaware that the polar bear population of the island at that time outnumbered that of the local humans……….
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3002671/Solar-bear-Tourist-travels-Arctic-best-view-eclipse-gets-mauled-polar-shot-friend-s-mother.html

  37. 1960-2015= great increase in CO2.
    1960-2015= 500% increase in polar bears, therefore; increasing CO2 must continue to save
    the bears. Sarc/

    • It is still well before recent year’s maximum points. That jump back up may continue, or it may flatten out.
      Best to say “We do not know yet.” A truism, but true nonetheless, “You only know you had reached the maximum after you’ve been headed down for a while..” Works for looking at minimum’s and maximum’s in the solar sunspot cycles too.

  38. weird world:
    ‘The overall numbers and trends
    due to climate change are
    unknown for most of the 78
    populations of marine mammals
    included in the report: beluga,
    narwhal and bowhead whales;
    ringed, bearded, spotted, ribbon,
    harp and hooded seals;
    walruses; and polar bears.’
    In the sixties, a french actress ‘Brigid Bardot’ every year knew the best count of – no, not
    thanksgiving turkeys
    but the taken seals breed.
    The numbers came from the yellow press. Rising ev’ry year. Endangered species.
    _____
    since 50 years the seals are left alone. The more endangered.

  39. but nowadays the specialised scientists don’t have a clue to the numbers of seals.
    Need a french actress – and pulp revival?

    • back from the nightshift, sunny tuesday morning, 10:20 MEZ.
      But the worlds sillieness lays a grey web. Undistinctly.
      Regards – Hans

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