Has recent summer sea ice loss caused polar bear populations to crash?

Press Release 19 January 2017

FROM: Dr. Susan J. Crockford, University of Victoria, Canada

A paper published today finds that predictions of polar bear population crashes due to summer sea ice loss are based on a scientifically unfounded assumption. Specifically, the paper addresses the basic premise upon which predicted population declines linked to modeled habitat loss were made by polar bear specialists back in 2006 and 2008 (by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, USFWS), and concludes that when assessed as a testable hypothesis against data collected since then, it must be rejected.

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Photo credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service (2007).

Those mid-2000s survival assessments predicted significant population declines of polar bears would result by mid-century as a consequence of summer sea ice extent reaching approximately 3-5 mkm2 on a regular basis: in 2006, the IUCN predicted a >30% decline in total population would occur, while in 2008, the USFWS predicted the global population would decline by an astonishing 67%. Most shocking, perhaps, was the USFWS prediction that ten subpopulations within two vulnerable sea ice ecoregions would very likely disappear entirely (all purple and green areas shown in the map below) when summer sea ice routinely reached levels of 3-5 mkm2.

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Image credit: US Geological Survey.

But summer sea ice declined much faster than anyone expected. In fact, those low ice levels of 3-5 mkm2 that were not expected until mid-century have occurred regularly since 2007. By 2015, polar bears had been living through the grim reality of their predicted future for almost 10 years, as the sea ice graphic below shows. This early realization of predicted sea ice levels meant the ‘sea ice decline = population decline’ assumption for polar bears could be tested against actual survival data (i.e., observations).

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Image credit: Figures 2 and 5 from Crockford 2017.

As it turns, data collected between 2007 and 2015 by field biologists reveal that polar bear numbers have not declined as predicted and no subpopulation has been extirpated. Several subpopulations expected to be at high risk of decline have remained stable and at least one showed a marked increase in population size over the entire period, despite marked sea ice loss. Another at-risk subpopulation was not counted but showed marked improvement in reproductive parameters and body condition with less summer ice – the hallmarks of a stable or increasing population.

The hypothesis that repeated summer sea ice levels of below 5 mkm2 will cause significant population declines in polar bears must be rejected. This result indicates the USFWS and IUCN judgments to list polar bears as threatened or vulnerable based on future risks of habitat loss back in 2006 and 2008 were scientifically unfounded and suggests that similar dire predictions for Arctic seals and walrus may be likewise flawed. Ultimately, the lack of a demonstrable ‘sea ice decline = population decline’ relationship for polar bears almost certainly invalidates recent survival models that predict catastrophic population declines should the Arctic become ice-free in summer.

The publication forum for this paper is PeerJ Preprints, which I found while looking for recent research papers about ringed seals. I discovered that Canadian ringed seal biologist Dr. Steven Ferguson (Dept. Fisheries and Oceans) recently used this non-peer review publication service:

Ferguson et al. 2016. Demographic, ecological and physiological responses of ringed seals to an abrupt decline in sea ice availability. DOI:10.7287/peerj.preprints.2309v1 Pdf here. https://peerj.com/preprints/2309/

This publication service is free to use and free to download for readers (open access). It archives reviewer comments on each paper and an assigned DOI means the article will show up on Google and Google Scholar searches. I decided that if this publication forum was good enough for Ferguson and his Arctic research community, it was good enough for me.

Since my paper addresses a controversial topic, I considered publication in a peer-reviewed journal to be a long shot – but I tried. Before submission to PeerJ Preprints, this paper had been through two rounds of peer-review at two different scientific journals but was ultimately rejected. A third journal rejected the paper without review. This wasn’t a big surprise but it was still rather discouraging.

So, I have incorporated all pertinent reviewer comments and suggestions, added a few recent references, and present the final result as this PeerJ Preprint so that all readers may evaluate the argument for themselves without gate-keeper interference. See what you think.

###

Article: Crockford, S.J. 2017. Testing the hypothesis that routine sea ice coverage of 3-5 mkm2 results in a greater than 30% decline in population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). PeerJ Preprints 19 January 2017. Doi: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.2737v1 Open access.

Link to the article https://peerj.com/preprints/2737/

Contact Susan Crockford at sjcrock@shaw.ca or scrock@uvic.ca with interview requests.

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192 thoughts on “Has recent summer sea ice loss caused polar bear populations to crash?

      • If I lived in an area where there was a lots of ice, and polar bears, would I care if there were fewer? Probably not.
        I live in an area where there’s no ice and no polar bears. Ask me, do I care if polar bears and ice disappear from the face of the earth.
        Heh!

  1. Lets look at 2015/16 and Hudson Bay and Svalbard/Barents populations…

    Ice arrived late in Svalbard in December 2015, causing many bears to have to move to Novaya Zemlya to den. The ice still has not reached either Svalbard or the important Kongsoya islands denning area this winter.

    The Svalbard/Barents population is surely under pressure from this…

    Ice on Hudson Bay arrived well over a month late this year.

    Here’s an account of the Hudson Bay population by a long time local researcher…
    http://polarbearsinternational.org/news/article-polar-bears/tough-times-for-hudson-bay-polar-bears/

    “Back then (1984) there were about 1,200 bears living in the core monitoring area between the Churchill River and Nelson River. Most of this area is now part of Wapusk National Park, which includes most of the denning area for the Western Hudson Bay population. In those days, the bears were on the sea ice by mid-November and, some years, even earlier. Now with only 800 bears in the denning area and fewer in the coming years, things have changed.

    This year, as I was rumbling back into Churchill from the Tundra Buggy Lodge, I reflected on the contrast with 1984: Now we see fewer cubs (and rarely triplets), few roly-poly bears, a lot of skinny bears, and far fewer bears overall. In fact, the last bear I saw was a skinny adult male burying the remains of a recently killed polar bear cub: behind him not a bit of sea ice, even though it was November.”

    and then there is the Beaufort Sea population, where with recent years seeing rapid retreat of the ice to far offshore, some bears have been reduced to staying on land and surviving off whale carcasses left by the native hunters.

    Really, the scale of ice retreat has to be having an effect on the bears and to say it isn’t is disingenuous at best.

    I remind readers that even while we’re in the depths of the arctic winter, sea ice is still at a record low up there – and this summer will sadly almost inevitably see another record low.

    • https://polarbearscience.com/2017/01/18/polar-bears-onshore-in-svalbard-in-most-dangerous-season-for-bear-attacks/

      Yesterday marked the first report I’ve found for polar bears onshore this winter, in a potentially dangerous repeat of a pattern that has become all-too common in recent years (especially last year) with bear populations booming virtually everywhere (but especially around Svalbard).

      https://polarbearscience.com/2015/12/23/survey-results-svalbard-polar-bear-numbers-increased-30-over-last-11-years/

      Results of this fall’s Barents Sea population survey have been released by the Norwegian Polar Institute and they are phenomenal: despite several years with poor ice conditions, there are more bears now (~975) than there were in 2004 (~685) around Svalbard (a 42 30% increase) and the bears were in good condition.

    • https://polarbearscience.com/2016/12/16/w-hudson-bay-had-1030-polar-bears-at-last-count-and-that-is-the-official-number/

      The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group, the IUCN Red List, and Environment Canada (see below) agree that the population size of Western Hudson Bay subpopulation is 1030 or about 1000 bears, based on surveys conducted in 2011.

      For the last few months, Andrew Derocher has been telling anyone who will listen that that the number is 800. And no one challenges him – not a single reporter asks where the number comes from, not a single research colleague who knows the truth has publicly stated that Derocher is spreading misinformation.

      I’ve written about this several times: the 800 figure (actually, 806) came from a limited area mark-recapture survey that examined bears in less than half of WHB territory. It could not be reliably compared to the previous survey of the same kind because it did not cover the same territory (Lunn et al. 2014, 2016).

      The 1030 number comes from an aerial survey of the entire region done the same year (Stapleton et al. 2014).
      The biologists involved in reconciling the two different methods of counting concluded that the aerial survey count is consistent with only 800 bears in the limited area that the mark-recapture study examined, which makes perfect sense.

      • Until Dr. Crockford arrives, here are her words:

        June 2, 2014

        Polar Bear Group Admits Population Estimates Were a “Guess”

        “By Dr. Susan Crockford – ‘Last week (May 22), I received an unsolicited email from Dr. Dag Vongraven, the current chairman of the IUCN PBSG (Polar Bear Specialist Group). …

        It appears the PBSG has come to the realization that public outrage (or just confusion) is brewing over their global population estimates and some damage control is, perhaps, called for. Their solution — bury a statement of clarification within their next official missive (which I have commented upon here). Instead of issuing a press release to clarify matters to the public immediately, Vongraven decided he would let me take care of informing the public that this global estimate may not be what it seems.

        OK, I’ll oblige (I am traveling in Russia on business and finding it very hard to do even short posts – more on that later). The footnote Vongraven sent is below, with some comments from me. You can decide for yourself if the PBSG have been straight-forward about the nature of their global population estimates and transparent about the purpose for issuing it.

        Here is the statement that the PBSG proposes to insert as a footnote in their forthcoming Circumpolar Polar Bear Action Plan draft: As part of past status reports, the PBSG has traditionally estimated a range for the total number of polar bears in the circumpolar Arctic. Since 2005, this range has been 20-25,000. It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand. It is also important to note that even though we have scientifically valid estimates for a majority of the subpopulations, some are dated. Furthermore, there are no abundance estimates for the Arctic Basin, East Greenland, and the Russian subpopulations. Consequently, there is either no, or only rudimentary, knowledge to support guesses about the possible abundance of polar bears in approximately half the areas they occupy. Thus, the range given for total global population should be viewed with great caution as it cannot be used to assess population trend over the long term.” {my bold}

        So, the global estimates were …simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand and, according to this statement, were never meant to be considered scientific estimates, despite: 1) what they were called; 2) the [mission of the] scientific group that issued them; and 3) how they were used (see footnote below). All this glosses over what I think is a critical point: none of these ‘global population estimates’ (from 2001 onward) came anywhere close to being estimates of the actual world population size of polar bears (regardless of how scientifically inaccurate they might have been) — rather, they were estimates of only the subpopulations that Arctic biologists have tried to count.

        For example, the PBSG’s most recent global estimate (range 13,071-24,238) ignores five very large subpopulation regions which between them potentially contain 1/3 as many additional bears as the official estimate includes (see map below). The PBSG effectively gives them each an estimate of zero. [map]

        Based on previous PBSG estimates and other research reports, it appears there are probably at least another 6,000 or so bears living in these regions and perhaps as many as 9,000 (or more) that are not included in any PBSG “global population estimate:” Chukchi Sea ~2,000-3,000; East Greenland, ~ 2,000-3,000; the two Russian regions together (Laptev Sea and Kara Sea), another ~2,000-3,000 or so; plus 200 or so in the central Arctic Basin. These are guesses, to be sure, but they at least give a potential size.

        In other words, rather than assigning a “simple, qualified, guess” to these subpopulations that have not been formally counted as well as to those that have been counted (generating a total figure that is indeed a “global population estimate,” however inaccurate), the PBSG have been passing off their estimate of counted populations as a true global population estimate, with caveats seldom included.

        More here: http://polarbearscience.com/2014/05/30/iucn-polar-bear-specialist-group-says-its-global-population-estimate-was-a-qualified-guess/ ‘“ – Anthony Watts

        (https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/02/polar-bear-group-admits-population-estimates-were-a-guess/ )

        (copied in from pp. 2,046-48 of 10th Anniv. anthology)

    • If I recall rightly, griff, the 800 you mention are just a sub-set of the total population for the region. Two surveys were taken that year- the one you mention, and one which covered the Entire region, not just the denning area. The total population for the region is right on target with 1100.

      You are once again taking things out of context. this is like taking a count of all the people gathered in the living room for a party, while ignoring the rest of the people in various parts of the house. The end result is wrong, wrong, Lie!

    • Griff,

      I don’t know how you have the face of showing up at another of Dr. Crawford’s articles after the huge ridicule you did last time challenging her.

      You should be hidden in your den, wintering, and hoping we forget. We won’t.

      • As always Chris, your post has both no information and no relevance to the post you are responding to.
        If I were you, I would slink away in shame. But since you have no shame …

      • MarkW, for a guy that posts continually on WUWT – what, 50 posts per day? – your posts show a consistent lack of any detail or supporting links.

    • Now with only 800 bears in the denning area and fewer in the coming years, things have changed.

      So your “long time local researcher” already knows what the population of next year will be. Impressive. Presumably this based on also knowing what next years ice area will be. Perhaps he should share his “data” so we can see how it all works out in the next few years. I do hope this is not based on drawing a straight line through the last 35y and arbitrarily projecting it forwards.

      I remind readers that even while we’re in the depths of the arctic winter, sea ice is still at a record low up there

      No, it is not at a record low since there is more now than any other year in September. If you mean record low for the time of year the “even while we’re in the depths of the arctic winter” is pretty stupid because you’re comparing to the depths of the arctic winter in other years, so there is no “even” about it.

      – and this summer will sadly almost inevitably see another record low.

      What is the scientific basis for your insightful prediction? Low winter “inevitably” leads to a summer low ??
      You will notice that in March to May 2012 the ice extent was the highest in the years you chose to present, yet ended up all time low for the satellite record. Hypothesis rejected !

      I don’t see why you say “sadly” because alarmists love it when there is a low extent and spend most of the year cheering it on.

      I remind you that this year’s min was indistinguishable from that of 2007 and higher than 2012. That is a full decade of data with ice no lower than it was then and rising recently. That is incompatible with the accelerating ice loss mantra. It is not even a steady decline.

      https://judithcurry.com/2016/09/18/is-the-arctic-sea-ice-spiral-of-death-dead/

    • Griff

      First it is fair to point out that you have no qualification and no standing to make comments on this subject. You have previously thoroughly discredited yourself with a baseless and slanderous attack on one of the most qualified researchers in this field. I have not seen your apology for that. Please provide a permanent link to if it you have done so and posted it online.

      To give you the benefit of what little doubt remains, let’s look at how polar bears live.

      Your comment ‘surely this means’ is what people think before they go out to check. Armchair research is not useful, or the 2008 predictions for 2050 would already have come to pass. The counterfactual is confirmed.

      When ice intrudes, the bears have to move further south. That is evidenced by the stories above.

      Then the ice is late they don’t have to move south. The reports that the resident population is dropping in the southernmost habitat region is evidence of absence. It is not evidence of death. There is no need to walk all the way to Ontario if it is a mild winter. Polar bears are not preprogrammed robots. They are apparently smarter than both a at least a subgroup of polar bear researchers and armchair bloggers.

      If polar bears liked it warm while denning they would move to Halifax. If they liked it icy they wouldn’t move south, unlike the preference of other sensible Canadians.

      ‘surviving on whale carcasses’ : polar bears don’t eat in winter unless they happen to find something. Maybe you didn’t notice that in your field studies. Polar bears mostly don’t eat for about 9 months of the year but they are not above killing anything they come across at any time they are awake. Add that to your list. They love garbage dumps where stupid humans toss lots of food waste. They will happily eat their ‘own’. They can out-run, out-climb and out-swim a man. They are dangerous omnivorous predators who, like Susan Crockford, will eat you and your uninformed ideas for lunch.

      • Crispin in Waterloo
        January 19, 2017 at 3:31 am

        Griff

        First it is fair to point out that you have no qualification and no standing to make comments on this subject. You have previously thoroughly discredited yourself with a baseless and slanderous attack on one of the most qualified researchers in this field. I have not seen your apology for that. Please provide a permanent link to if it you have done so and posted it online.
        ………………………
        …… Polar bears are not preprogrammed robots. They are apparently smarter than both at least a subgroup of polar bear researchers and armchair bloggers.

        Indeed, one could say “smarter than the average griff” :-)

        SteveT

    • The DMI assessment for Greenland. It is accumulating ice at well above usual rates.

      Do not forget that as far as the Arctic is concerned, today, the warmists always present the picture as from 1979, and this presentation exaggerates the position since ice area grew by about 2 million sq.Km between 1973/4 and 1979. If since 1979, there has been a decline in Arctic ice by about 2 million sq.Km then we are today broadly speaking left with the same extent of Arctic Sea Ice as was around in 1973/4. Nothing to get too alarmed about. See Fig 3.8 in AR1:

      Let us not get carried away on the basis of an El Nino year where weather patterns frequently get disrupted and hence there is a great deal of short term local variations in temperatures.

      • Richard – surely you don’t mean to suggest that the warmists actually cherry pick their data sets?

        Why, that’s incomprehensible that real scientists would ever think to do such a thing! :-)

      • Regarding “ice area grew by about 2 million sq.Km between 1973/4 and 1979”: That growth was 1.8 million sq. km from the bottom of a downward spike to the top of an upward spike.

        What I see in this graph is that NH sea ice during the icier time around 1994 was only about .1 million sq. km more than it was around 1973. And since 1994, as not shown by that graph, it declined a lot and it’s a lot less now than it was around the 1973 low point.

      • The 1979 start date for most sea ice measures has to do with satellites. The satellites were available in 1979 — although the first two years of measures are bad (they inadvertently included some land as “ice.) So, the true satellite measures really don’t begin until 1981.

        That being said — the point raised here is valid. In thirty years, someone should have been able to find the time to normalize Arctic ice readings with previous estimates. They do the same thing with other temperature regions all of the time.

        I would not assume that the “millions of square kilometers” in 1974 is the same as “millions of square kilometers” in 2017. That’s why the data needs normalized for comparison purposes.

        Until then, I hate comments like “record low ice” or “lowest ice levels ever” or similar phrases. They should say, “lowest since 1981”.

      • “lorcanbonda January 19, 2017 at 9:01 am
        The 1979 start date for most sea ice measures has to do with satellites. The satellites were available in 1979 — although the first two years of measures are bad (they inadvertently included some land as “ice.) So, the true satellite measures really don’t begin until 1981…”

        Yes, the convenience of satellite actually viewing polar ice gives satellite polar ice measurements the possibility of being more accurate.

        Then as lorcanbonda points out, the early satellite measurements were terrible.

        Each Earth tracking satellite launched since then allegedly has better capability for tracking Polar ice.

        Here is where I possibly disagree with lorcanbonda.

        “Normalizing” records so that separate measurement methods can be presented together is potentially valid when each separate measurement instrument record is identified, along with what is needed to ‘normalize’ that record.

        Before satellites, estimates of sea ice were cobbled together from multiple sources, often different sources each year.

        After satellites, different satellite images, were analyzed by different people. Piling each new satellite measurement on the end of the current sea ice record is illusory.

        Now, most of the Polar sea ice estimates are generated from “climate models”.
        Models built to warmist input and output assumptions.

        There is zero value in pretending all the different data sources are equal or that they actually represent the same thing.

        We may be decades away from consistent accurate satellite measurements. Especially satellite measurements that also track ice thickness, along with accurate water movement.

      • Duane said “Richard – surely you don’t mean to suggest that the warmists actually cherry pick their data sets?”

        You mean like the way the skeptics do by only using RSS data?

      • Chris wrote: “You mean like the way the skeptics do by only using RSS data?”

        It is not that skeptics only consider RSS data. When the warmists declare that the data is 100% on their side, while ignoring the obvious datasets that say otherwise, the skeptics need not prove that only the RSS data are correct … their burden is only to prove that the warmists’ data is not the only data set, and to prove that the warmists are in fact cherry picking.

        It’s like in a criminal trial, Chris. The defense doesn’t have to prove innocence, the only obligation of the defense is to show that the prosecution evidence does not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That standard of guilt vs. non-guilt is due to a specific choice made in our nation’s constitution and statutes that the burden of proof is always on the prosecution, because the consequences of getting it wrong and wrongly convicting an innocent person greatly outweigh the State’s interest in getting a conviction.

        Similarly in the global warming debate (or “climate change” as it was renamed a few years ago when the warming paused), the warmists, or as I call them, the “climate radicals” are in fact demanding a radical restructuring of all of humanity in order to prevent what they claim to be a coming calamity. Consequently, the burden of proof is on the climate radicals to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that their climate models are 100% correct and that the impacts they claim from modeled warming trends prove that radical life threatening, indeed an existential threat to the very survival of all humanity demands such actions as they demand.

        Given that the RSS data provides far more than “reasonable doubt” of the dire predictions of the climate radicals, the climate radicals lose, and lose bigly. Case closed.

        Oh,and by the way, warming is good for mankind and the environment. It always has been, and it always will be as long as we remain in the Quaternary period with its series of regular glaciations and interglacial periods. Which appears to be most likely.

    • Don’t let facts get in the way of a good theory. Svalbard polar bear population is booming (despite the fact that the Nordic nations don’t publish an official count.)

      https://www.naturalworldsafaris.com/polar-regions/svalbard/information/when-is-the-best-time-to-see-polar-bears-in-svalbard

      “Over the years, Svalbard has acted almost like a refuge when it comes to polar bears and the populations have increased with numbers now thought to be reaching 3,000! This is a huge positive, not just for the bears as a species, but for specialist operators such as ourselves, as these days we are more than confident in regards to sightings. Some of our trips (on our smaller more specialist vessels) have seen upwards of 20+ polar bears on an individual trip!”

      As far as the Hudson Bay is concerned, there are two populations — the Western Hudson Bay and Southern Hudson Bay. These are the most studied polar bear populations in the world — PBI has set up shop in the Southern Hudson Bay and hosts tourists and the wildly popular “Polar Bear Week” in October every year to raise money for their research.

      Long story short, the Southern Hudson population has always been stable and the Western Hudson is now considered stable (despite being listed as in “decline” as late as 2013.)

      Andrew Derocher is one of those members of PBI who use the Hudson Bay Polar Bear populations to drive all of the funding for their research. The clue should be that “donate” button at the top of the article you link to. You shouldn’t mistake this plea for donations as “research”.

    • So let’s cherry pick a couple of locations with the data we want. Two anecdotes with no supporting evidence. Have you never speculated as to what might be other causes- such as overpopulation? As Dr. Crockford has documented, since outlawing excessive hunting polar bears have increased in population. As Lawrence points out below, the population is Svalbard has boomed. Undernourished animals, cubs dying, scavenging, are all common when the population is too large for the carrying area.

      Go hunt another excuse for poor scientific practices.

      • The biggest success has actually been the end of harvesting seal pup fur. If you’re as old as I am, you remember those horrifying videos of Scandanavian hunters massacring seal pups for their fur (which is reportedly the softest type of fur available of any kind.) Being the primary food source, the polar bear population has followed the recovery of the seal population.

      • And to go a step further, if there is a major reduction of sea ice seals and other polar bear food sources will be driven to shore areas to breed and raise young, making polar bear consumption of them easier and further expanding their numbers. My, my. Its almost as if all these “systems” are interconnected in some way.

    • “population is surely under pressure” — “has to be having an effect”

      Such powerful arguments. (cough)

    • Something you completely ignore are their dietary habits:

      Polar bears out on the sea ice eat few seals in summer and early fall

      “We hear endlessly about the polar bears ‘forced’ to go without food for months because of receding summer sea ice — what about all the bears that stay out on the ice over the summer? Presumably, those bears keep hunting for seals – but how many do they actually catch?

      As it turns out, not very many – and for some unlucky bears in late summer, probably none. While they probably eat a bit better in late fall, if they’re lucky and persistent, by the time winter comes, biologists assume most bears again eat very little. This explains why all polar bears are at their lowest weight in late winter (March), just before Arctic seal pups are born.”

      https://polarbearscience.com/2015/02/09/polar-bears-out-on-the-sea-ice-eat-few-seals-in-summer-and-early-fall/

      Once again you have been exposed as being ignorant.

    • I remind readers that even while we’re in the depths of the arctic winter, sea ice is still at a record low up there – and this summer will sadly almost inevitably see another record low.

      So how much you’d bet there will be a new record minimum in September?

      I’m just trying to make you ask yourself a question how much you trust your “almost”.

      Another question is of course, how this sea ice extent differs from minimums during the last 1,000 or 100,000 years, the time scale relevant for polar bear survival. The second question is of course whether we’d care if human lives and bear lives are on a crash course. Since stopping CO2 emissions would kill millions if not billions.of people, but continuing them does not necessarily save 20,000 bears.

      Of course, crazy greens would sacrifice 100,000,000 humans for the sake of bears, that’s clear.

    • “I remind readers that even while we’re in the depths of the arctic winter, sea ice is still at a record low up there – and this summer will sadly almost inevitably see another record low.”

      I can tell you’re sad Griff but how are you handling the manic depressive episodes over the massive ice melt from 15000 years ago to around 6 or 7000 years ago?

    • “Griff January 19, 2017 at 1:00 am
      Lets look at 2015/16 and Hudson Bay and Svalbard/Barents populations…”

      More fluff, nonsense coupled with total bullshit giffiepoo!

      You turn to the same unscientific folks who have been claiming for over two decades that polar bears are in danger, made incredibly wrong predictions and still haven’t learned how to properly count polar bears.

      giffiepoo’s lame claims have reached a new low. Commensurate with this winter’s weather, giffiepoo has set a new low record.

      Bad source.
      Bad science.
      History of incorrect counts.
      History of fabricated nonsense about starving bears.
      Attempts to claim an animal count that everyone local in that region knows is false; as the danger from polar bears increases.

      Zero correlation to low sea ice levels. Polar bears have survived warmer periods with healthy populations.

      giffiepoo’s fixation on sticking false information regarding Arctic sea into every thread has reached truly noxious levels.

    • The article you referenced is not from a peer reviewed Journal and the numbers are not from any survey. I have a problem with your science.

    • Way to go, Griff!! You got that graph in. As for the polar bears, if there were a dozen outside waiting to eat you, you’d open the door and go out because your reality says “there ain’t no polar bears out there”. The will to believe.

      I have noticed that many wildlife researchers seem to believe if the animals are not “where they belong”, they’re dead for sure. If humans were researched the same way, anyone who moved to a new state or country would be declared dead and it would consitute proof of impending human extinction. Once the totally unscientific idea that animals must live where we saw them last is discarded, I expect much better research results concerning animal populations.

  2. Susan, What were the rejection criteria given for the two journals your paper actually made to peer review?

  3. I am hoping Dr. Susan J. Crockford will respond to the nonsense from Griff at: Griff January 19, 2017 at 1:00 am and thoroughly discredit him once and for all (If that is possible now).

  4. Griff,

    Only pregnant females make dens. The rest hunt & wander. Polar bears swim very well, so the trip to Novaya Zemlya is well within their aegis. You are just an uninformed ranting watermelon. Do you like sex & travel?

  5. Bravo to Susan Crockford!

    She shows great integrity and speaks honest science, which is especially commendable since she is at the University of Victoria, a bastion of watermelon hysteria on Canada’s Left Coast.

    Andrew Weaver at UVIC is or was the climate modelling $uper$tar, who pumped out “projections” of runaway global warming while reaping huge grants for his department.

    Polar bears clearly adapt well to moderately warmer weather and less sea ice, and are indifferent to the alarmist propaganda of Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.

    • Andrew Weaver, much to his eternal discredit, is the source of the modeling predictions that say doubling CO2 will raise global temperatures over 6 degrees C. This is the second highest and second most erroneous of them all. It is ‘needed’ by those producing the model mean so often cited by the IPCC. It pulls up the average, as if an average of model outputs had any physical meaning in the first place.

      The model mean users/citers needs plonkers who can be trusted to generate outrageous and physically unlikely projections to keep the model mean up. Environment Canada is just the organisation to do that. They are trusted and in fact were involved in the CO2 alarmism right from the start when there was zero supporting data. They have continued to funnel, shovel, tunnel, millions to Mr Weaver to continue his task of keeping the model mean well above any measurement set. Tax Ontario, fund B.C.

      When your see the spidery lines on a future temperature chart fleeing the scene of the real world, the second least skilled prediction, in a set of over forty unskilled predictions, is the one from UVic.

      • It was Dr. Weaver’s “intercontinental ballistic missiles” global warming metaphor that set off my BS detector and cemented my skepticism (Bill Good show, CKNW, many years ago…)

    • “Bravo to Susan Crockford! She shows great integrity and speaks honest science”
      I second that.

      This is slightly off topic but does anyone know what became of Dr Mitchell Taylor, who was univited to the 2009 meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) in Copenhagen, by sleazebag Dr. Andrew Derocher, the chairman of the PBSG?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_Taylor

    • Mr. MacRae, ….. , +1! Unfortunately 1 (factorial) is still one, but very well said.

      Ms. Crockford, thank you for having the courage to present these findings, I am also of the opinion that institutions of higher learning are “persuaded” to present the alarmist point of view for funding, or other, purposes. I thank you for presenting the FACTS. My sincerest compliments.

      And Griff, I have spoken out to you on numerous occasions, a lot of them in a very derogatory manner, however I do admire your tenacity but as others have pointed out, it does appear that you only focus on specific subsets of the data to try to prove your point. Needless to say I am not a supporter of your process of analysis.

  6. Quote: … when assessed as a testable hypothesis against data collected since then, it must be rejected.

    Now there’s a rarity. A testable hypothesis I mean. The failure of the prediction is almost axiomatic.

  7. Dr. Crawford,

    I believe you should still try to publish your analysis in a peer-reviewed journal, because otherwise it will be ignored and rejected by climate establishment, most academia, climate alarmists, and conservationists with a vested interest. To my knowledge nobody else is challenging the alarmist line about polar bears so clearly in scientific journals.

    Perhaps you should consider writing letters to journal editors asking if they would be interested in the paper and adding a link to the pre-peered version. That way you don’t have to deal with journals where the editor is either hostile or uninterested, speeding up the process. I agree that it is an enormous waste of time sending the article only to see it rejected several months later.

    My opinion is that the title is a little aggressive. Perhaps something in the line of “Assessing polar bear situation and future after faster than expected Arctic sea ice decline” is a little more neutral.

    • More likely to be published is “A study of polar bear populations endangered by global warming”.

      Obviously, I don’t expect the reviewers to look past the title.

    • WUWT would be read by FAR more people than most pal-reviewed magazines.

      Certainly by far more real scientists.

      • More people yes. More scientists maybe. The concept of real scientist I don’t know. You either are a scientist or not. Whether you are a good or bad scientist is a completely different matter.

        The problem is that science builds on accumulated knowledge. What is unpublished doesn’t exist for science. Of course the number of polar bears isn’t going to change, and the failure of past predictions isn’t going to turn success, but anybody trying to influence policies or challenge absurd claims about the dangers to polar bears has one less scientific publications to back up his position.

        One problem with the article is that it doesn’t add any new data. Journals have a check list for when a paper is worth publishing, and original research based on new data ranks very high in their list.

      • “Javier January 19, 2017 at 4:30 am

        One problem with the article is that it doesn’t add any new data. Journals have a check list for when a paper is worth publishing, and original research based on new data ranks very high in their list.”

        Obviously, the judgement point here is a very subjective “new”; not based on data and established objectives.

        “New data”, healthy thriving polar bear populations is new data.

        Now Javier, when are the false dire estimates tying polar bear doom to lower Arctic sea ice, going to be officially withdrawn or retracted?

        When are the alleged ‘experts’ who testified in trial about the impending demise of polar bears because of low sea ice, going to correct their testimony?

        Activists make for bad science when activism is their guide. All too many journals using peer review allow peer review to throttle new findings; especially when the peer reviewer has a stake in the bad science.

    • The climatocracy ignored the IPCC when their science became inconvenient. Certainly denying the science on polar bears is no problem for the climate apocalypse cult.

      • The climate apocalypse cult is as irrelevant as the crowd that defend that CO2 causes no warming. Nobody listens to them.

        The gap between what is being officially said and what is being officially done regarding climate change is very telling of the disconnect between the narrative and what people on top positions worldwide consider relevant.

      • The people “on top” don’t care about environment or science, only about how much money they can steal. None of them can get jobs producing anything of benefit to the rest of the Human Race so they just steal. And lie. They can lie like nobody’s business!

      • Javier says:
        ” irrelevant as the crowd that defend that CO2 causes no warming”

        You have solid evidence that CO2 causes warming? You’d be the first to publish such evidence if you have it.

        CO2 causes no warming on Mars, and from that we can conclude that CO2 causes no warming.

      • Thomas Homer January 19, 2017 at 8:41 am
        Javier says:
        ” irrelevant as the crowd that defend that CO2 causes no warming”

        You have solid evidence that CO2 causes warming? You’d be the first to publish such evidence if you have it.

        CO2 causes no warming on Mars, and from that we can conclude that CO2 causes no warming.

        CO2 does cause warming on Mars, just not very much (~5º)

      • Phil. says:
        “CO2 does cause warming on Mars, just not very much (~5º)”

        You’re claiming that Mars retains about 5 degrees of heat continuously? Wow! If that were true then NASA would be measuring it from the Rover and be able to produce conclusive proof. Otherwise it’s just your irrelevant claim.

        Like your other claim that CO2 heat forcing follows a “growth curve” such that it is linear at low concentrations, changing to logarithmic, then to square root. So, since Mars has an atmosphere of 95% CO2, I’ll take that to mean that it’s at the upper end of the growth curve where it’s trapping the most cumulative heat. Or does that growth curve turn down and end up at zero?

      • “Phil. January 19, 2017 at 8:58 am

        CO2 does cause warming on Mars, just not very much (~5º)”

        Utter tosh! Go read up on the gas laws and mass to find the correct answer.

      • Javier, please ignore the sky dragon stuff. You make a good claim, but I disagree: The out going President and many world leaders, large numbers of bureaucrats, professional activists, NGO leaders, academics of all stripes, believe we are facing a climate apocalypse. Certainly the National Geographic, promoting the “extreme weather” nonsense believes in the apocalypse. And so on.

    • Javier,

      I see your point and believe me, if I thought it was possible i would have kept trying. Keep in mind that because polar bear science is considered such a narrow specialty, any editor could be expected to send the paper to at least one of the reigning ‘experts’. And any of those experts could be expected to shoot the paper down.

      I got the fairest hearing at my first attempt (a much longer draft) – it was sent to one expert biologist in another specialty (who really liked the section on the hypothesis testing and recommended focusing on that, which is what I eventually did) and one polar bear expert – who tore apart every other aspect of the paper *except* the section on hypothesis testing (which he/she did not mention at all). One the basis of those two reviews, the editor rejected the paper with no chance to re-write and re-submit (which is what I would have expected, given another topic).

      But that response told me the hypothesis was the weak spot in their mantra. I have sent revised versions of the paper (closer to the final form published at PeerJ Preprints) to several colleagues and they have said they would refer to it if it was available in some form on the web. That suggested to me that this “preprint” format would be acceptable to them. So that was the deciding factor for me.

      I will send this published version to those colleagues AND to the expert in the other field who thought I should pursue the concept. It’s not an ideal situation but I think it’s a viable compromise given the circumstances.

      I could eventually publish it in a peer-reviewed journal but i think I’ll wait until I’m invited to do so (two of my published scientific papers on another somewhat controversial topic resulted from just such invitations from journal editors, so it’s not an unreasonable expectation).

      But now the paper is out there for those editors to find (or for someone to bring it to their attention) and that’s a good thing.

      • Thank you for your answer Dr. Crockford.

        In a way scientific articles are like own children. It is always painful to have to reduce expectations after so much work and time invested. I wish you the best luck. As a fellow scientist and biologist I think you are doing a very good job at studying our changing natural world in a neutral and sound methodological way.

      • susanjcrockford January 19, 2017 at 10:44 am

        My wife (finally) got me a copy of you book eaten. I read it in a day. I try to put it down and do something else but in few few minutes -back in my chair with the book. You did a good job.

        Thank you for writing it.

        michael

      • Hey Susan – thank for your work.

        Would you consider Energy and Environment? Email Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen.

        Alternatively, publish online – on wattsup if you want feedback, or on icecap.us if you do not.

        I think the paper will get a much more honest review here.

        The old journals have rendered themselves obsolete with their pal review and their extremist CAGW bias. They publish so much total nonsense.. Everyone should just ignore them.

        Best, Allan

        P.S. What if all the really important breakthroughs in climate science were published online? Maybe it’s already happening.

      • I’d be curious to know what the polar bear expert had to say about your paper. Are you able to publish his response?

  8. But summer sea ice declined much faster than anyone expected. In fact, those low ice levels of 3-5 mkm2 that were not expected until mid-century have occurred regularly since 2007.

    Down to 3 Wadhams 35 years early. Lousy models, just can’t trust them.

      • Several months ago, Prof Wadham made a prediction that in a couple of years the arctic would be down to no ice in the summer. In the fine print he stated that zero actually meant under 1 million square miles.
        Somebody here at that point proposed a new metric for ice, 1 million sq miles equals one wadham.

      • This Wadham bit as a measure of area — results from the man’s changing the goal posts from “ice free” to “1 million km^2 .” I would not expect it to be in the official list of the International System of Units any time soon.

        For those with a sense of humor (somewhat lacking for some folks) might I direct your attention to Google Earth’s Ruler. Open that. Click on the small ‘drop down” arrow (triangle). Look down the list that appears and below Nautical Miles (I will not explain that) you will find “Smoots.”
        A “smoot” is based on the 5’ 7″ height of Oliver R. Smoot. Feel free to learn more.

    • The fact that the models were off by so much is just proof that they don’t include all of the relevant factors, and or they don’t completely understand the factors they do include.
      In other words, they are worthless.

      In other words, if the only thing you look at is CO2, you will always be wrong.

  9. Thanks Dr. Crockford. Funny that PR journals will not accept a study based on obsercational data. Clearly some editors need to be forced to resign. Please contact Mann and Jones, they have a good track record on this.

    • BTW good you found a way to publish the study and get around the gatekeeping.

      Before submission to PeerJ Preprints, this paper had been through two rounds of peer-review at two different scientific journals but was ultimately rejected….. I have incorporated all pertinent reviewer comments and suggestions

      So it has been peer reviewed !

      Good work.

  10. So, “crash” means to increase. Okeydokey, then. Funny, the only losses of polar bears due to ice was when they were starving because ice in Chukchi and Beaufort regions was to thick for them to break through to feed, and that only lasted a few months.

      • With their expanding population it is a good thing there are more people living in their habitat range, so they can hit the “trash dump buffet”. With our new POTUS the expansion of drilling and mining in the Arctic will secure them even more food sources. Win-Win.

  11. My understanding is that thick sea ice is bad for the polar bears because of something to do with the seal that they eat. If the seals can’t break through the ice, the polar bears can’t eat them. Am I wrong?

  12. I would have thought that you can be either a conservationist or a scientist, but not both at the same time, due to likely conflicts of interest, but maybe scientific integrity is one of those 20th century concepts that must be suspended, due to the … err… “Climate Emergency”. If conservationists are able to veto publication of a scientific paper that threatens them then this is a Science Emergency.

  13. So another vindication of the skeptical view. There is no correlation between sea ice extent and polar bear population. Just as there is no correlation between sea ice and weather changes. So what has been the point of the daily a turn and drang over minor changes in sea ice over these past many years?

  14. Unfortunately, Dr. Crockford’s difficulties with reviewers are not a surprise. In these ‘statistically enlightened’ times, a narrative “testing of the hypothesis” is unlikely to succeed. Let alone with an unwelcome conclusion! Specious statistical precision is part of the “publishing game” – specific hypotheses and a statistical test are probably required.

  15. What I find amusing is the lefties ASSumption that everything & everyone else on the planet is just a dumb animal but them. ‘Polar bears are just too stupid to figure out how to survive with LESS sea ice.’ Now if there wasn’t any sea ice every summer for 10 years THAT would be a problem. But they’ve survived periods where we’ve had less sea ice than today, even little sea ice several times, but they didn’t have the lefties watching over them. Evolution/natural selection has a way have weeding out the physically & mentally weak.

    • About the only mental skill that liberals have mastered is projection.
      That is, the belief that everyone else is the same as you are.
      So it is quite natural for liberals to assume that polar bears are dumb as stumps.

    • TonyP
      January 19, 2017 at 4:39 am
      What I find amusing is the lefties ASSumption that everything & everyone else on the planet is just a dumb animal but them………..

      ………….Evolution/natural selection has a way have weeding out the physically & mentally weak.

      How come the lefties are still here then? How long does it take. :-)

      SteveT

  16. ” … concludes that when assessed as a testable hypothesis against data collected since then, it must be rejected.”

    Those words can apply to just about every environmentalist alarmist ‘study’ written in the last 50 years or so.

  17. Just stream of consciousness:

    I would think colder with more ice means less food and more area to search to find it. Warmer would mean more food (or the same) and less ice area to cover/search to find it. Not to mention a slightly warmer climate is less stressful on the body. So, warmer is better for polar bears at first, uneducated glance.

    • Counter intuitively Allen, it does not work like that. Most of the food chain is the sea. Polar bears need some sort of platform to hunt from. If the ice completely melted, the sea may be become more productive, but that will be of little use to land based bears.

      • Yes, in an extreme case (zero ice). I was thinking of a little less ice and cold versus a little more. Ice covers the food bearing sea — exposing a little more sea or making the “sea edge” closer seems valuable as hunting would require less effort.

        Interesting another WUWT article today seems to indicate that no matter what temperature humans are comfortable with — slightly above average temperatures are better. That was my thought regarding polar bears even before reading that article. They have adapted to what we would call extreme cold — a little warmer would be better.

        Just opinion.

      • Actually it seems less ice more bears. Now if there is no ice where do the seals go for birthing, land?.

        Think of the Holocene maximum, the last interglacial when it was warmer.

      • You are assuming that bears catch seals at sea. They don’t.
        They catch seals when they are out of the water, either on land or on ice.
        Seals have to come out of the water to rest and to bear their young.
        If sea ice is not available, they will come ashore.
        The only reason why seals prefer to come out of the water on ice, is because ice is further from polar bears.

      • IIRC, genetic analysis says polar bears as a species go back 90,000 years ±. During the Holocene Optimum the Arctic was essentially “ice free”. Why are polar bears still here??

      • “Gareth Phillips January 19, 2017 at 5:11 am
        Counter intuitively Allen, it does not work like that. Most of the food chain is the sea.”

        Well obviously, “counter intuitive” is based on emotional day dreaming.

        The food chain is on/in land sea and air. Anything that swims, flies or walks is food.

        Bears are omnivores.
        The ‘ursus maritimus’ bear is consistently more carnivorous, but is still a bear with recent land origins.
        Any critter that lives is still food to ‘ursus maritimus’.

        Whether it is nesting ducks or geese, migrating caribou and reindeer, spawning or schooling fish, or basking seals and walrus, sea otters, nesting sea gulls, sled dogs, crabs and other crustaceans, molluscs of all kinds, musk oxen, stranded whales, etc.

        The deadliness ‘ursus maritimus’ represents should not be understated. Only fools believe polar bears strictly eat seals from ice floes.

        Of course, you could prove us wrong.

        “Gareth Phillips January 20, 2017 at 1:22 am
        Hunter.
        If you believe weather is not an emotional issue, I guess you don’t have bad weather or good weather where you live?” ”

        There is that emotional intuitive stuff again.

        Emotional/intuitive is virtually useless in the world of science.
        Then again, CAGW climate science does seem based on intuitive assumptions and emotional confirmation bias.

    • Just to add to all of this — solid ice is the worst for polar bear feedings. The polar bear populations tend to drop when the spring ice thaw is delayed.

      • Steve Fraser, you illustrate charts from 25 years ago to show the arctic was colder. It was indeed, that is the point we are trying to make. It has been steadily warming. What point are you trying to make?

  18. I must admit, one of my last areas of scepticism looks like it is going to be seriously challenged. I’ve always dismissed the idea of a lack of summer Arctic ice in the near future as exaggeration. However, I may well be forced to change my tune. Things are looking grim.

      • Three standard deviations below average for a sustained period when rapid regrowth normally occurs does not bode well for next season’s ice coverage, although a lot could still happen over the next few months obviously. Unless something dramatic occurs though the melting season is likely to start with much thinner ice.

      • If the extent was larger, greens would complain on thickness. The trouble is, there is too many variables and time periods to cherry-pick, so you can always tout something. I don’t quite believe in linear trend Arctic sea ice graphs as a proof. Rather they represent variations which are pretty non-alarming. If you open up sea ice in the Arctic in January, the temps will go up to 270K. Yeah, that is HOT! And the loss of energy to the space will be huge.

        I’m a big believer in autocorrelation. Yeah, it is warming up. Let’s hope the trend does not reverse, it is my ass which freezes first.

      • Phil: So what? Who cares? Nothing observed so far indicates anything ‘bad’ about less ice. When there is less summer ice, there are more fish because the food supply is better illuminated. More fish means more seals. More seals means more polar bears. There are also more trees, more blueberries, which leads to more reindeer and more wolves. More growth means more seeds and more mice and more rabbits and more frogs which leads to more birds. More mice means more foxes and wolves again. There is simply nothing bad about warmer Arctic summers and winters.

        Ice is bad for children and other living things.

      • Phil, this makes as much sense as panicking because the earth has warmed up since the bottom of the little ice age.
        The start of the record was a time of abnormally ice levels.

    • The question is worth asking twice, and do please answer: “grim” is not an objective or evidence based adjective. What makes this grim? What is the low ice area doing that is justified in characterizing as “grim”?

      • The word ‘Grim’ is taken to mean serious or gloomy. So if we see the exceptionally high temperatures in the Arctic at present ( By Arctic standards) and the failure to achieve a decent refreeze as a negative development, we could reasonably use the word ‘Grim’. We could also say that the prognosis for the ice cap maintaining it’s integrity through next summer is poor.
        However, if you see the melting of the Arctic ice cap as a very positive step in improving the earths environment and await a complete melt during the summer season with bated breath, obviously you would not use the word ‘grim’ You would probably shout ‘Hurrah, the ice is on its way out!’ or suchlike.
        However, I suspect you would be in the minority in the Scientific and general community.

      • And yet, those temps are WELL BELOW FREEZING. Funny how this works, ice melts in summer, freezes in winter, just as it has been doing for millions upon millions upon millions of years. Climate change, a scientific fact which humans are helpless to effect.

      • Gareth, oh you mean like these years,
        1974, 1990?

        When a low pressure system sits over the pole, these graphs jump up, since the graph is for the 10 latitude degrees centered on the pole, which is a very small area.

        These winds also affect the ice extent as well, but the volume not so much.

      • Steve Fraser January 19, 2017 at 8:20 am
        Gareth, oh you mean like these years,
        1974, 1990?

        More like the cooling portion of this one, the first weeks of 2017 have followed on from it:

      • Gareth,
        What I mean is that the state of Arctic sea ice is not an emotional state. You are demonstrating the only kind of man made cliamte crisis that actually exists: The one you true believers manufacture between your ears.
        Arctic ice high or low is not a significant factor on the rest of Earth or even the Arctic region. Polar bears have survived with far less and far more ice. Your projection of “grim” onto a multi-million square mile region of the Earth due to how much ice floats in it year-to-year is not a rational thing to do. Has the relatively low ice in the Arctic done anything to the climate that is unusual in any way? Is the low ice creating a new kind of weather that is significantly different from the weather that occurs when there is a lot of ice floating in the Arctic sea basin?
        Do you have any rational explanation for the fact that good paleo records show that even lower ice extents have existed in the past and Polar bears, seals, narwhals, walruses, etc. have done ok?

      • From the SMI source of the temperature graphs:

        ” From 2002 to present the operational model (at all times) from The ECMWF is used for mean temperature calculations.

        The ERA40 reanalysis data, has been applied to calculate daily climate values that are plotted along with the daily analysis values in all plots.”

        Model, modeled.

        Even then, the modeled daily temperatures are very cold; cold enough to freeze sea water.

        Pretending that it is hot in the Arctic is just so much hot gassing from gasbags.

    • Now here we have a couple of warmists worry about WINTER ice cover,that part of the year,when Polar Bears normally eat very little since their main food source is beyond their reach.

      Polar Bears eat most of their food from early spring to early summer,the rest of the year,especially in the winter eat very little. Therefore low SUMMER ice cover,average Winter ice cover doesn’t impact their dietary habits much.

      Here is a blog entry from Dr. Crockford,pointing out how Bears eat most of their food in a 3-4 month period,little the rest of the year:

      Polar bears out on the sea ice eat few seals in summer and early fall

      “We hear endlessly about the polar bears ‘forced’ to go without food for months because of receding summer sea ice — what about all the bears that stay out on the ice over the summer? Presumably, those bears keep hunting for seals – but how many do they actually catch?

      As it turns out, not very many – and for some unlucky bears in late summer, probably none. While they probably eat a bit better in late fall, if they’re lucky and persistent, by the time winter comes, biologists assume most bears again eat very little. This explains why all polar bears are at their lowest weight in late winter (March), just before Arctic seal pups are born.”

      https://polarbearscience.com/2015/02/09/polar-bears-out-on-the-sea-ice-eat-few-seals-in-summer-and-early-fall/

    • Arctic ice has decreased during the warm phase of the PDO and due to the burst of heat from the now dying El Nino, why is that alarming?
      As to you ever being a skeptic, I’d like some evidence to support that claim.

    • Let’s see, what are the skeptics pillars? Arctic ice is rebounding! – nope. Global ice is not declining! – nope. The Pause! – nope. All 3 of the skeptics’ pillars are gone.

      • Skeptics have but one pillar, ie that there is no evidence for dangerous man-made global warming, and all the evidence in the world against this repeatedly falsified conjecture.

  19. Once again we see the major and erstwhile prestigious journals in a state of politically mandated lockdown. They have become nothing more than repositories of politicized pseudoscience and a rejection from them is to be regarded as a considered endorsement of scientific rigour and significance. Acceptance should only trigger alarm and sad reflection on what went so horribly wrong. Interesting informative paper and many thanks to Dr. Crockford for it.

  20. Perhaps too much sea ice was actually inhibiting polar bear populations and that they do better with less ice.

    • Tom in Florida, and others who have raised this idea, to me it appears that the forecasting of polar bear population is yet another very complex process that requires a large number of variable that need to be understood. A lack of knowledge on the input parameters therefore requires assumptions (usually very simplifying in nature), hence the modeling of the forecast of polar bear population is very complex and results should cover the entire range of uncertainties, and not point to a single outcome as the be-all and end-all result.

      Kinda sorta sounds like forecasting the weather/climate ……

      And, to add to the uncertainty of the calculations, assumptions on future climate/weather is an input to forecasting of polar bear populations in the future.

    • ABSOLUTELY!!! In the oil and gas industry, reservoir simulation, when used in conjunction with other analytical tools and in the hands of experienced staff that can properly quantify the ranges of the input parameters, and QA/QC the output, can be a very powerful tool for maximizing the value of an asset (proper well spacing, total well count, production/injection rates, etc.). However some operators have fallen into the trap of believing that “simulation is king!” Like any analytical tool, misuse is possible and in the case of the oil and gas industry, the shareholders suffer.

      Now, the worst is when a tool of this “perceived” power is used in the wrong hands. In the case of the CAGW gang, manipulation of the inputs to get the desired results in the output. “Reverse engineering.” And the taxpayers pay, in this case.

      Bummer.

  21. It is generally accepted that during the Holocene Optimum, the Arctic was free of summer sea ice, and we know as fact that the polar bears survived that, so we know as fact that little or no summer sea ice is unlikely to kill off the polar bears.

      • “[Polar Bears] eat very little to none during the winter.”

        During the time that polar bears eat very little, they continue to breathe. They inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Where does that carbon come from that is being exhaled? It comes from the bear’s own body mass. The bears need to replenish this carbon. Ice does not provide carbon. The bears need to find a source of carbon, i.e. a food source. That means finding an area that supports either photosynthesis or phytoplankton, where the carbon is extracted from atmospheric CO2. Ice does not support photosynthesis or phytoplankton.

        The bears need Carbon Dioxide.

      • Thomas

        Thanks for the serious question. Polar bears eat ravenously for a few months and become very fat. They live on that fat for the rest of the year. Obviously if you want to show starving bears you photograph them heading north at the end of winter. If you want ‘fat pictures’ you photograph them in early summer.

  22. Polar Bears are very likely, as is true with most other predators, highly adaptive.
    Since we know that during the time Polar Bears have existed there have been times with no summer sea ice, the question still needs to be answered: Where is the risk?
    ….besides to fat cat climate hustlers….

  23. “A third journal rejected the paper without review. This wasn’t a big surprise but it was still rather discouraging.”

    This summarizes the current state of the “peer review” process for scientific journals in a nutshell.

  24. Unfortunately Congress is made up of way too many Griffs who cannot tell the difference between anecdotal or hearsay evidence and substantiated evidence, a subset of data and a full data set, consensus opinion vs proven theories.

    Listening to Congressional hearings related to science leaves me doubtful whether American Congress can differentiate between the expression “raining cats and dogs” and real cats and dogs.

    • Most likely they would create a committee to discuss whether or not these raining cats and dogs should be vaccinated, and a Senator from NY or CA would have a press conference condemning the practice of spaying&neutering the raining cats and dogs as inhumane, while in the background a group of freshman members from both Parties are seen and heard asking each other”Are these f**king idiots for real?”.

  25. Can I pose a very simple question here:

    Not knowing the basis of the original studies predicting large polar bear population declines tracking aerial sea ice extent over time … what is the mechanism for the actual decline?

    Do these “climate researchers” understand anything at all about how some (not all) species adapt to climate change? It seems not.

    Certainly we know of at least one animal – Homo sapiens – that has adapted to monstrous climate changes over millions of years of development of it and its ancestors, predating even the Pleistocene epoch wherein our northern hemisphere has experienced repeated cycles of glaciation and inter-glacial period. Surely many other mammals have also survived drastic climate change, including the genus Ursus of which the polar bears are one species. Indeed, the oldest polar bear fossil found dates to about 130,000 years ago (at the end of the the last prior inter-glaciatial period), so they’ve been through more than one complete glaciation cycle, while the genus Ursus dates back to before the beginning of the Pleistocene, meaning the various bear species have been through ALL of the glaciation cycles of the Pleistocene.

    Seems like these critters are pretty damned adaptable to extremes in glaciation and sea ice accumulation.

    • Duane,

      As far as I call tell, none of the polar bear data collectors have any more than a rudimentary understanding of evolutionary processes. It’s not part of their training.

      So, the simple answer is that they do not consider possible adaptation of local subpopulation in their models. The seem to consider redistribution of individuals but only ACROSS sea ice ecosystem borders, not within or between subpopulations.

      For example, the obvious movement of Svalbard denning bears to Franz Josef Land in poor ice years (a movement WITHIN the Barents Sea subpopulation boundary) does not seem to be factored in to their mental concepts of how bears deal with reduced sea ice.

      Personally, I am almost certain that local adaptation is taking place in Western and Southern Hudson Bay in response to the occasional poor ice years that have occurred but can’t prove it because the data that’s being collected is geared towards proving that bears are suffering, not adapting.

      That is just one of the reasons that the focus on negative effects of low sea ice to the exclusion of everything else is scientifically unsound – it does not allow us to answer some of the really interesting questions.

      Susan

      • So these technicians only record data that supports their hypothesis? Boy is that getting to be a fad nowadays. Feynman is spinning so fast we should hook him to a generator,

      • Thank you, Susan.

        Now don’t get me started on another rant about how the very notion of a “climate scientist” is at the very least a gross amalgum of both science and political quackery designed to confuse rather than to inform! And that “climate science” is but a big Christmas tree hung with all sorts of ornaments and goodies for those who want to earn a living by gathering under its branches.

        The notion of “Climate science” also reminds me of the very old parable of uncertain origin (Jain, Hindu, Buddhist, et al) from the Indian Subcontinent, of the blind men and the elephant. Each of the blind men “sees” by feeling the nearest bit of flesh of the elephant, and then expounds on their extrapolation of what the elephant must be, i.e., a rope, a tree trunk, a hand fan, etc. etc. Then only when a sighted man comes upon the group and describes the entire beast to them, that the blind men finally realize they are truly blind, and limited in what they can sense.

  26. One point made in the paper was that the projections were made to cover three generations of bears so while one of the criteria has been met (sea ice extent) the other has not. Certainly in prey-predator systems the predator decline lags the prey decline so it may be too soon to definitively say that a decline will not occur after three generations when we’ve only observed one, however the results presented are at least encouraging. The developments in the Arctic sea ice over this winter would seem to indicate the possibility of more dramatic changes next year so it will be interesting to see what happens.

    • But Phil., aka “Skeptical” Astronomer, won’t you be disappointed if polar bears aren’t bothered by CAGW? You know, loss of an important propaganda meme?

      • I think you must be mixing me up with someone else, I’ve never been known as any sort of Astronomer!
        If polar bears aren’t bothered by the reduction in sea ice that’s just fine with me, I have no interest in propaganda. Based on Susan’s paper it seems to me that the earlier projections weren’t done well enough although it’s too soon to know what the impact will be. I would expect that the right way to do it would be a prey-predator model with appropriate terms included for the impact of seasonal sea ice, I’m not sure that adequate data exists to do that though.

      • I’ve never been known as any sort of Astronomer!

        Hmm, OK. So your real name isn’t Phil Plaitt then?

      • beng135 January 19, 2017 at 8:35 am
        Hmm, OK. So your real name isn’t Phil Plaitt then?

        No my name is not Phil Plaitt, who’s he?

      • Who’s Phil Plaitt? A 5-second search will bring up alot of stuff, but if you dig deeper, you’ll discover he’s actually a professional propagandist and a socialist “programmer”.

    • That’s a good point, Phil. But it was not specifically why the paper was repeatedly rejected.

      Interestingly, the last journal editor’s opinion was that the appropriate scientific test for the USGS model used for the USFWS listing would be to add the more recent sea ice data and the polar bear observational data into the original model and run it again. In fact, he suggested I contact the original USGS authors and suggest a co-authored paper!

      [I believe naive is his middle name…as if THAT would ever happen]

      What’s interesting is that the USGS folks could have done it themselves but didn’t. Given the new observations and sea ice data, what they did was build a new model that gave essentially the same answer as the old one except that the big crash comes when there is NO ice in summer. The papers describing the new model are not detailed enough to tell which, if any, of the observations on polar bear health and survival were included in the new model – it’s only clear that they used the most recent sea ice data.

      So, given the opportunity to do the scientifically appropriate thing, they chose not to.

      What does that tell us?

      And by the way, thanks to all for your support and for dealing with Griff so promptly and thoroughly. I’m struggling with the tail end of the flu (felt better yesterday, two steps back today) – getting the flu shot may have reduced the severity a bit, but not much – and I needed to sleep in.

      cheers,

      Susan

      • Dear Susan,

        Thank you, so much, for taking the time to be here, even when you are not feeling very good. Thank you for sharing with us the riches of your long hours of painstaking work. You are an extra-bright light for truth. I’m very glad that you are in the world.

        Take good care of yourself and GET WELL SOON!

        Here’s a little “get well card” for you:

        (youtube)

        With admiration and gratitude,

        Janice

      • susanjcrockford January 19, 2017 at 9:28 am
        That’s a good point, Phil. But it was not specifically why the paper was repeatedly rejected.

        I suspected that was the case, it wouldn’t be grounds for rejection maybe just an additional para.

        Interestingly, the last journal editor’s opinion was that the appropriate scientific test for the USGS model used for the USFWS listing would be to add the more recent sea ice data and the polar bear observational data into the original model and run it again. In fact, he suggested I contact the original USGS authors and suggest a co-authored paper!

        [I believe naive is his middle name…as if THAT would ever happen]

        It would be nice to think that it could, I’ve known cases where such cooperation has happened but turf wars can get ugly! It reminds me of a situation when I was a grad student, one of my colleagues and my advisor had written a paper on stability analysis applied to hibernating animals vs non-hibernating ones. The paper got rejected by a biologist who clearly didn’t understand the math. The editor worked with us and arranged for the reviewer to come and give a seminar, at the Q&A session after it became obvious (he thought of stability in terms of riding a bike). The editor made sure the paper was published!

        What’s interesting is that the USGS folks could have done it themselves but didn’t. Given the new observations and sea ice data, what they did was build a new model that gave essentially the same answer as the old one except that the big crash comes when there is NO ice in summer. The papers describing the new model are not detailed enough to tell which, if any, of the observations on polar bear health and survival were included in the new model – it’s only clear that they used the most recent sea ice data.

        That’s frustrating, thinking of it from a predator prey interaction viewpoint it’s quite a tricky thing to model.

        So, given the opportunity to do the scientifically appropriate thing, they chose not to.

        What does that tell us?

        Being charitable, perhaps they didn’t know how to incorporate the data properly?

        Good luck with the research and get well soon.

      • Susan,
        Thanks for your efforts. I see Janice has included a card, and she is one also. (Hi Janice)
        Off topic. We always wanted to get the flu shot in early Sept., thinking that back-to-school time increased the prevalence of the critters that cause it. Now the claim is to get it closer to the season of flue, say just before December. Also, it is claimed that older folks do not show as much response as younger ones. We have reached that age, and you have not. I wanted to get a 2nd one, but that didn’t go over with the docs either.
        Best,
        John

    • According to Phil, drops in sea ice don’t affect the current polar bears, and it doesn’t affect their children.
      It takes three generations before the bears are able to notice that ice has been dropping.

      • Yeah, but in this case the issue is the accessibility of the prey, if the change in sea ice made it more difficult for the bears to reach the seals at the time of year when they feed on them it could have an effect even though the prey population is increasing. From Susan’s comment above it’s not clear whether such information was available or incorporated into the model.

      • “Phil. January 19, 2017 at 7:03 am
        One point made in the paper was that the projections were made to cover three generations of bears so while one of the criteria has been met (sea ice extent) the other has not. Certainly in prey-predator systems the predator decline lags the prey decline so it may be too soon to definitively say that a decline will not occur after three generations when we’ve only observed one”

        How exactly does that work Phil?

        The first generation without sea ice prey, do not starve; nor do their cubs.

        Not until the third generation is born is there a problem?
        A polar bear’s lifetime is estimated at 15-18 years. Given polar bear maturity cycle that leaves 12 to 15 years breeding time.
        Officially, the polar bear three generation time estimate is 36 to 45 years.

        Oh wait, that polar bear three generation precept is from the same researcher who makes up survey numbers and predicts the polar bear’s end.
        Derocher’s version of the three generation rule allegedly taken from IUCN’s (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) “conservation of species” third generation population estimate.

        Now, as used by “demise of polar bears” activists, it is being used as a requirement for everyone to wait till polar bear third generation has arrived before we accept huge polar bear populations exist.

        Where does the endangered third generation of polar bears come from?
        Why, it comes from gross assumptions by activist researchers. Not from genuine or even just plain honest science.

        That current polar bears are thriving has no bearing on activist notions regarding polar bear extinction.

        Distracting us from the polar bear surplus by hand waving and precautionary claims about specious third generation estimates.

        The blunt fact is, polar bears are thriving, well fed and multiplying. Less sea ice is obviously either good for polar bears or polar bear success is independent of sea ice.

        Such tragic loss!
        Polar bear extinction with less sea ice is falsehood, fabrication and whimsy.

        Now they will need a new endangered critter. May I nominate climate CAGW activists?

  27. Out of curiosity, I visited a website of the non-profit, Polar Bears International, which presents itself as the world’s leading polar bear conservation organization:
    http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/climate-change/status

    I wanted to see this organization’s take on the polar bear situation.

    Here’s a sample of what I found, along with my comments:

    Status

    Without action on climate change, scientists predict we could lose wild polar bears by 2100.

    Two-thirds could be gone by 2050.

    And sea ice loss from human activity is the cause.

    Okay, the basic assumptions here are that human activity causes sea ice loss, and sea ice loss reduces polar bear numbers; hence, human activity causes a reduction in number of polar bears. This is the tenor of the organization’s mission statement, the fundamental premise of its public education programs, and the undertone of its grant-seeking or fund-raising efforts.

    In other words, deeply vested financial interests would seem to motivate the continuation of this tenor. The organization’s purpose is founded on it. The organization’s payroll is founded on it. Sound familiar (IPCC) ?

    I am sure some well-meaning people believe in what they are doing, but I also think that they are motivated by passion above facts.

    Polar Bear Status Report

    Polar bears live in remote areas that are difficult and expensive to study.

    This makes monitoring them a challenge, both for single surveys and long-term studies.

    For this reason, scientists don’t have solid figures on the total number of polar bears worldwide. They lack data on some populations, specifically those in Russia and East Greenland.

    Arctic Russia is especially data deficient. Not only is it one of the most remote areas on the planet, it lacks basic infrastructure (roads and airfields) and logistical support (small aircraft).

    All this seems to raise questions, then, as to how this organization can state, with such certainty, that humans are the cause of polar bear population reductions that have not even been measured yet.

    Conservation Status

    The IUCN lists the polar bear as a vulnerable species, citing sea-ice loss from climate change as the single largest threat to polar bear survival.

    Polar bears rely on sea ice to hunt, travel, breed, and sometimes to den.

    Here Polar Bears International attempts to gain further authority by relying on ANOTHER organization’s claim, which (I can only assume) is plagued by the same data-collection challenges.

    On the page where the above quote appears, this organization clearly lists 3 populations in decline, 6 populations as stable, 1 population as increasing, and 9 populations with insufficient data to judge any trend. So, 3 populations in decline out of 19 total populations seems to be sufficient proof to sound its dire alarm about polar bears.

    Even based on this organization’s own admission of data shortages, I do NOT see a real-world basis for sounding such an alarm. The alarm is being based on passion and appeals to experts who, themselves, derive “expert judgements” BASED on passion rather than on data, all driven by an even deeper emotional premise that all humans are all-the-time a threat to all wildlife and “natural” habitats.

    … good intentions gone bad.

    • First, here’s the actual population estimates of the 19 polar bear populations:

      You can see how much change there has been since 2009 — we should be celebrating polar bears as a conservation success.

      There are 2 which are listed as “likely increasing” and 2 which are listed as “likely declining”. Nine of them are “data insufficient”, but you can find general information on the Chukchi Sea, East Greenland, and Berents Sea (all of which are doing well.) For instance, the PBSG reported the Chukchi Sea was stable in 2013, but have since deleted that report. Here is a summary of that report —

      http://www.sitnews.us/0813News/082713/082713_polar_bears.html

      The first results will appear in an upcoming issue of Global Change Biology. The study finds that body condition (i.e., the size and fatness) and reproductive rates of Chukchi Sea bears remained stable or improved over the past 20 years, despite large sea ice declines.

      The IUCN lists the bears as threatened (basically at the request of PBSG). http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/issues/conservation/redlist.html

      In 2015, members of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group completed an updated Red List assessment, which resulted in the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) being categorized as Vulnerable. Vulnerable is the lowest of three “threatened” categories, and indicates a species that faces a high risk of extinction in the wild.

      It wasn’t clear to me whether “lowest” was good or bad — “vulnerable” is the least important of the three categories (despite the rhetoric of the PBSG) — more important is “critically endangered” and “endangered”. In other words, PBSG is slanting their verbiage to make them sound more significant.

    • Robert writes: “All this seems to raise questions, then, as to how this organization can state, with such certainty, that humans are the cause of polar bear population reductions that have not even been measured yet.

      Which moves directly to the crux of the matter; measurement.

      There’s no reason to believe measurement has taken place with any simulacrum of scientific method.

  28. Pretty ridiculous that a science journal would find fault with a straightforward, testable piece of research such as this, especially when considering the absolute junk they do publish.

  29. We were in the, I think, the Denver Zoo decades ago and a polar bear was “playing” in the water with a tree limb, maybe 6 inches in diameter, a few feet long. We were told that they seemed to love it, and therefore they supplied it.

  30. I notice on earth.nullschool.net that the plume of warm air from the south towards the Pole has given way to a gyre coming straight off the Greenland ice cap.

  31. With this paper together with her two new books and the GWPF piece, Dr. Crawford has single handedly torn down the polar bears endangerment lie perpetrated by Gore, Derocher, Stirling, and friends.

    • I think the debunked “threatened polar bear” claim is analogous, in miniature, to most other alarmist claims, and to the entire process of global warming alarmism. Especially notable are the roles of extremist scientists like Derocher, biased peer review and hostile journals, biased environmental organizations compromised by their need for alarm to keep the donations flowing, the exclusion of skeptical scientists from organizational meetings, phony statistics, fawning media coverage, propagandistic photo shots, emotion-tugging rhetoric and photos aimed at the emotions of the gullible public, etc.

  32. Oh the polar bear memories we had in the past. Like this fraud from 2011. If you have not read the interview, you should. Then think about the impact this guy had on public perception (via Gore), before exposure. Compare that to the professional way Dr. Crockford processes things for public consumption.

    Thank you for doing what you do Dr. Susan!

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/29/inspector-generals-transcript-of-drowned-polar-bear-researcher-being-grilled/

  33. Dr. Crockford;

    I suggest replacing all occurrences of the word “utilized” with “used”. It reads better.

    I’ve preened you statistics and near as I can tell they look good. The sources are questionable and I’m certain you know that already. Head counts for our favorite cuddly bear are a little questionable. Real polar ice extent isn’t doing a lot better. But you’ve done well with what you have and I see no faults.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Bartleby,

      Thanks for that, much appreciated.

      The situation with the numbers is not great but it is what it is. It does not take a statistical analysis to see that there has not been a 67% decline in polar bear numbers (or even anything approaching a 30% decline) and that 10 subpopulations have not been extirpated.

      Sometimes, statistics are superfluous to an argument.

      Susan

      • Susan Crockford writes: “Sometimes, statistics are superfluous to an argument.”

        Such is my lot. Had I been any good at science I’d have made it past statistics into algebra :)

        Thanks for your kind words.

        Scott.

  34. I was just now wondering whether trophy hunting of polar bears might be an underlying consideration behind the current species-status listing.

    Do hunting restrictions require certain threat-status listings ?, and if so, then might this be a chosen avenue to restrict humans from killing too many polar bears ?

    In other words, fabricate climate-impact alarm in order to establish species-threat status for making laws to control human-trophy-hunting impact.

    … seems like a chicken-crap way of going about it, if this is a hidden motive.

    • There is no trophy hunting of polar bears. The Inuit are allowed to hunt a limited number of polar bears each year in an agreement with the government of Canada. (Last I checked it was 600). These aren’t trophy kills, but traditional kills for food.

      The Inuit are also the only people who can conduct counts in several of the far northern regions of Canada. There has been a suggestion that these may be biased to preserve their hunting allocation, but that seems unlikely. The areas they count are not the same ones they hunt in; plus these areas are not even official counts (at least not yet.)

  35. I posted this up thread, but would like some feedback on the main assertion, so am reposting it here.
    Gareth,
    What I mean is that the state of Arctic sea ice is not an emotional state. The amount of ice floating in the Arctic is not joyful, grim, angry, or happy. It is just a metric about a huge area of planet Earth. You are demonstrating the only kind of man made climate crisis that actually exists: The one you true believers manufacture in your imaginations.
    Arctic ice high or low is not a significant factor on the rest of Earth or even the Arctic region. Polar bears have survived with far less and far more ice. Your projection of “grim” onto a multi-million square mile region of the Earth due to how much ice floats in it year-to-year is not a rational thing to do. Has the relatively low ice in the Arctic done anything to the climate that is unusual in any way? Is the low ice creating a new kind of weather that is significantly different from the weather that occurs when there is a lot of ice floating in the Arctic sea basin?
    Do you have any rational explanation for the fact that good paleo records show that even lower ice extents have existed in the past and Polar bears, seals, narwhals, walruses, etc. have done ok?

  36. I may be two days late with this question, but, it occurs to me to ask about the “normal” range of the polar bear during the last glaciation. Did the bears follow the ice edge as far south as New England or Europe? Is there any archeology to prove it? Or did the bears congregate on the Russian side of the Arctic where I think there was less ice cap? Or did the bears die back and repopulate in the last 10,000 years? Similar questions can be asked about seals.

    Emotional aside: I grew up in Nova Scotia when famous actresses were taking pictures with “cute” fur seal pups on the Newfoundland ice. Some years the pack ice would bring seals and pups to our shore. I can tell you that the closer you got to them the less cute and cuddly they appeared. They have big teeth!

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