New Paper: Body condition of Barents Sea polar bears increased since 2004 despite sea ice loss

From Polar Bear Science

Posted on May 5, 2020 |

A recent paper that attempted to correlate pollution levels and body condition in Barents Sea polar bears reports it found body condition of female bears had increased between 2004 and 2017 despite a pronounced decline in summer and winter sea ice extent.

Svalbard polar bear Jon Aars_Norsk Polarinstitutt

“Unexpectedly, body condition of female polar bears from the Barents Sea has increased after 2005, although sea ice has retreated by ∼50% since the late 1990s in the area, and the length of the ice-free season has increased by over 20 weeks between 1979 and 2013. These changes are also accompanied by winter sea ice retreat that is especially pronounced in the Barents Sea compared to other Arctic areas” [Lippold et al. 2019:988]

This result explains all the fat female polar bear photos coming out of the Svalbard region in recent years. However, it is totally at odds with predictions of catastrophic declines in polar bear numbers in the Barents Sea and assertions that Barents Sea bears are one of the most vulnerable to the effects of global warming (Amstrup et al. 2007; Hamiltion and Derocher 2019; Regehr et al. 2016; Stern and Laidre 2016) due to a dramatic loss of sea ice (see map below). And that is before the high levels of sea ice in the region I’ve been reporting on here, here, here, here, and here.

Prior to this 2019 publication, all we have been provided with are body condition values for adult males (1993-2019) – showing them to have been doing well in recent years with no trend in body condition. Now, after years of loud public hand-wringing from polar bear activists, we find out that all along, adult females have been doing even better in recent years than they were before 2005 when there was more summer and winter ice. Therefore, contrary to expectations, Barents Sea and Chukchi Sea bears have been shown to be thriving with less sea ice – and for Barents Sea bears it’s a lot less ice.Derocher trend in summer ice-free period over 1979-2014

This map shows compares recent (1979-2014) declines in ‘summer’ sea ice extent (Stern and Laidre 2016, Fig. 12). Western and Southern Hudson Bay bears (green) are claimed to be doing poorly despite the smallest change in summer sea ice while Chukchi Sea bears are thriving under the same low ice loss; in contrast, Barents Sea bears are thriving (numbers increasing, body condition improving) despite living through the most dramatic summer ice declines in the Arctic (purple on the map). See also Regehr et al. 2016 and here.

Oddly, the 2019 Lippold paper came to my attention because a paper published last month about ‘space-use’ of polar bears in the Barents Sea (Blanchet et al. 2020), cites Lippold et al. 2019 as evidence that Barents Sea polar bears have not shown signs of “decreases in overall body condition“. Watch the pea…

What Lippold et al. actually say, in their abstract, is this [my bold]:

“Body condition [of adult females], based on morphometric measurements, had a nonsignificant decreasing tendency between 1997 and 2005, and increased significantly between 2005 and 2017.

Later in the paper (pg. 988), they had this to say [my bold]:

Unexpectedly, body condition of female polar bears from the Barents Sea has increased after 2005, although sea ice has retreated by ∼50% since the late 1990s in the area, and the length of the ice-free season has increased by over 20 weeks between 1979 and 2013. These changes are also accompanied by winter sea ice retreat that is especially pronounced in the Barents Sea compared to other Arctic areas. Despite the declining sea ice in the Barents Sea, polar bears are likely not lacking food as long as sea ice is present during their peak feeding period. Polar bears feed extensively from April to June when ringed seals have pups and are particularly vulnerable to predation, whereas the predation rate during the rest of the year is likely low.”

Note this statement: “Despite the declining sea ice in the Barents Sea, polar bears are likely not lacking food as long as sea ice is present during their peak feeding period.”

Martyn Obbard and colleagues (2016: 29) said essentially the same thing to explain why the body condition of Southern Hudson Bay polar bears had not declined in lock-step with sea ice declines in recent years. And I have said something very similar – many times – to explain why summer sea ice decline has not had a devastating effect on polar bears (Crockford 2017, 2019, 2020), a conclusion I arrived at from my review of the polar bear literature (including Obbard’s paper).

Probably more than any other statement, it has been my insistence that summer sea ice is not essential polar bear habitat that I have been publicly disparaged and denigrated by journalists and colleagues (see also Harvey et al. 2018). It was undoubtedly also instrumental in the loss of my adjunct professor status. Yet it is what the evidence shows.

Bottom line: Contrary to predictions, this new paper documents that the body condition of Barents Sea polar bears has improved significantly between 2005 and 2017 despite the most profound decline in summer sea ice of any polar bear subpopulation, which is consistent with a marked but non-statistically significant increase (42%) in population size (Aars 2018; Aars et al. 2017; Crockford 2017, 2019, 2020).

References

Aars, J. 2018. Population changes in polar bears: protected, but quickly losing habitat. Fram Forum Newsletter 2018. Fram Centre, Tromso. Download pdf here (32 mb).

Aars, J., Marques,T.A, Lone, K., Anderson, M., Wiig, Ø., Fløystad, I.M.B., Hagen, S.B. and Buckland, S.T. 2017. The number and distribution of polar bears in the western Barents Sea. Polar Research 36:1. 1374125. doi:10.1080/17518369.2017.1374125

Amstrup, S.C., Marcot, B.G. & Douglas, D.C. 2007. Forecasting the rangewide status of polar bears at selected times in the 21st century. US Geological Survey. Reston, VA. Pdf here

Blanchet, M.A., Aars, J., Andersen, M., Routti, H. 2020. Space-use strategy affects energy requirements in Barents Sea polar bears. Marine Ecology Progress Series 639:1-19. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13290

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. https://peerj.com/preprints/2737/

Crockford, S.J. 2019. The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened. Global Warming Policy Foundation, London. Available in paperback and ebook formats.

Crockford, S.J. 2020. State of the Polar Bear Report 2019. Global Warming Policy Foundation Report 39, London. PDF here.

Hamilton, S. and Derocher, A.E. 2019. Assessment of global polar bear abundance and vulnerability. Animal Conservation 22(1):83-95. doi:10.1111/acv.12439

Harvey, J.A., van den Berg, D., Ellers, J., Kampen, R., Crowther, T.W., Roessingh, P., Verheggen, B., Nuijten, R. J. M., Post, E., Lewandowsky, S., Stirling, I., Balgopal, M., Amstrup, S.C., and Mann, M.E. 2017. Internet blogs, polar bears, and climate-change denial by proxy. Bioscience 68: 281-287. DOI: 10.1093/biosci/bix133 Open Access, available here. Supplementary data file available here and the data for the principal component analysis is available here and (h/t to R. Tol), the R code is available here Corrigendum here (issued 28 March 2018). Scheduled for the April print issue.

Lippold, A., Bourgeon, S., Aars, J., Andersen, M., Polder, A., Lyche, J.L., Bytingsvik, J., Jenssen, B.M., Derocher, A.E., Welker, J.M. and Routti, H. 2019. Temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants in Barents Sea polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to changes in feeding habits and body condition. Environmental Science and Technology 53(2):984-995.

Obbard, M.E., Cattet, M.R.I., Howe, E.J., Middel, K.R., Newton, E.J., Kolenosky, G.B., Abraham, K.F. and Greenwood, C.J. 2016. Trends in body condition in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Southern Hudson Bay subpopulation in relation to changes in sea ice. Arctic Science 2:15-32 Doi 10.1139/AS-2015-0027 http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/AS-2015-0027#.VvFtlXpUq50

Regehr, E.V., Laidre, K.L, Akçakaya, H.R., Amstrup, S.C., Atwood, T.C., Lunn, N.J., Obbard, M., Stern, H., Thiemann, G.W., & Wiig, Ø. 2016. Conservation status of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to projected sea-ice declines. Biology Letters 12: 20160556. http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/12/12/20160556

Stern, H.L. and Laidre, K.L. 2016. Sea-ice indicators of polar bear habitat. Cryosphere 10: 2027-2041.

70 thoughts on “New Paper: Body condition of Barents Sea polar bears increased since 2004 despite sea ice loss

  1. Great work by Prof. Crockford and Polar Bear Science. Her factual reporting will be remembered by us all and hopefully she gets an appropriate teaching/research position quickly. Isn’t it a little strange that we celebrate polar bears eating seal pups but those lowly Inuits shouldn’t touch them? I see also that the USA and UK Navies “sailed” three warships into the Barents Sea to let the “enemy” know they go where they want. Not sure what the polar bears think of this, maybe spam in a can? Stay sane and safe.

      • Yes but apparently , it’s not “significant”.

        which is consistent with a marked but non-statistically significant increase (42%) in population size

        Hey, if 42% increase is not statistically significant you need to design a new experiment !

        Funny they were not saying it was not significant when all the polar bears ( OK one polar bear ) were dying pathetically on camera.

        Polar bears are the first species to have been classified endangered due to an non significant change in their population numbers. LOL.

        • Is the population size she mentions the average size of the bears or the number of bears in the population?

          • 42% is number of bears, gist of report is the females are bigger and healthier

            All contrary to “received wisdom”, ie consensus

        • Worse, polar bears were declared endangered without any actual evidence that they were in decline. It was 100% based on models about what was going to happen to them in the future.

      • Excerpted from above published article:

        A recent paper that attempted to correlate pollution levels and body condition in Barents Sea polar bears reports it found body condition of female bears had increased between 2004 and 2017 despite a pronounced decline in summer and winter sea ice extent.

        This result explains all the fat female polar bear photos coming out of the Svalbard region in recent years.

        Well, …… SURPRISE, SURPRISE …. for thee but not for me.

        “HA”, I’ve been telling people for years that any minor or major decrease in “sea ice” in Polar Bear country …… just moves their “dinner table” closer to where those bears can sit down and eat their “raw seal steaks”.

        “DUH”, everyone should know that the more fat food they eat, the fatter they get themselves. But the human “obesity problem” proves they ignore it, ….. just like they are ignoring the polar bears eating habits.

        • Samuel, as a geologist who has been up close to an enraged large bear, grizzly in my case, your phrase “…polar bear eating habits.” runs a hot flash up my spine and a chill in my heart. I need a drink.

          • Ron where I was in N Quebec the bears were like pets compared to the bugs. One morning when the helicopter was dropping me off there were two mosquitoes holding down a sparrow and a third one screwing it!!

          • Ron, as a result of my 2 hunting trips in/to the British Columbia bush I now have great respect for staying “upwind” and “uphill” from a Grizzly bear. 😊

    • Yes, kudos to Dr Susan Crockford for her persistent battles for honest fact based science, despite the great personal risks and price it has cost her.

      After this the alarmists will have to recognise that arctic sea ice has been recovering slightly since the 2012 OMG minimum and then start claiming that they will be endangered “if the current trend continues”.

      They will just have to tweak the climate models to show that changes to polar vortex , caused by “global warming” are which is leading to the increase in sea ice. Then the project will be back on course.

      • Since when did this site become: The world’s most viewed on polar bears (just don’t mention the climate)

        Dr Crockford thinks the Polar bears are doing ok, but that’s not what she says about the sea-ice:

        “a pronounced decline in summer and winter sea ice extent.”
        “despite living through the most dramatic summer ice declines in the Arctic”
        “winter sea ice retreat that is especially pronounced in the Barents Sea”
        “a dramatic loss of sea ice”
        “a lot less ice”

        and the evidence supports her.
        https://arctic.noaa.gov/Portals/7/easygalleryimages/8/462/arc19_seaice_perovich_fig3.png

          • Loydo can’t even understand the graphs she links us to.

            There’s more computing power in my car keys than in her head.

        • And that anomalously HIGH level of sea ice probably made hunting a lot more difficult, with much greater distances to cover to find food.

          Is it any wonder that as sea ice recovers slightly from that extreme anomalous high of the late 1970s, polar bears find it easier to hunt their prey. !

        • I should have known Loydo would appear when Charles wrote, “Watch the pea…”

          We’re going on 15+ yrs now where notable warmistas have been claiming declining sea ice has been having a deleterious effect on polar bear populations… causing them to be undernourished and even starved. The propaganda has been used to sell climate change as an issue to millions, especially children and animal lovers. Al Gore even used it in AIT.

          Wake up.

        • Loydo seems to have missed the fact that the polar bears didn’t get the message that they were supposed to starve and go away. After all the models can never be wrong, they were made by people with PhDs!

  2. It would be interesting to see the seal and walrus populations for the same period. I would bet less ice makes it easier hunting for polar bears.

  3. ‘Unexpected’. Only for the believers in the coming climate catastrophe.

    • Well actually there is a coming climate catastrophe. It’s just not what the 20-minute attention span dorks think it is.

  4. Last I heard, the polar bear evolved 800,000 years ago. The species has spent most of its existence with massive ice sheets across the frozen north.

    It is feasible that hunting on ice floes is a desperate coping mechanism for the interglacials, that they thrive with either solid glaciation or no ice.

    With no ice, which feasibly happens for thousands of years of each interglacial, including the Holocene Max, what is the life of a seal? Do the marine animals come ashore to give birth? Polar bears eat baby seals. Maybe they eat something different when there is no ice.

    I’ll falsify my own claim: during the glaciations, the bears probably hunt seals at the edge of the sheets. For instance, off the coast of South Beach, Martha’s Vineyard and likewise near Ireland.

    Second falisfication: the ice ain’t retreating that much recently.

    • The evidence is that the arctic has been without perennial ice cover for much of the Holocene (ie. the current interglacial). link

      The evidence indicates that polar bears survived for thousands of years without summer sea ice.

      • Ok, I looked at that paper. There is parallel evidence of another kind. Skeletons of certain whales dated to the Holocene Max, found far inland, whales that currently cannot go there.

    • windlord-sun – May 6, 2020 at 3:25 am

      Do the marine animals come ashore to give birth

      Most of then do, seals especially. The pups are not capable of surviving on their own if born in open water.

      • When there is sea ice, they are born on the ice, right? And they can dive into a hole with mother if danger comes along?

        But if all the sea ice is gone, the seals etc give birth on land?

        • windlord-sun, in PB country seal pups are born under the snow-pack that is on top of the sea ice.

          And “Yes”, the seal pups and/or the female can dive through a hole in the ice to escape danger UNLESS a Polar Bear come crashing through the snow-pack and grabs them before they can escape through the hole in the ice. A PB can “smell” a seal thru 2+- feet of snowpack.

          windlord-sun, a young unattended Sea Otter pup won’t drown if out in the open water because its mother blows its fur full of air bubbles and it floats like a beach ball.

  5. For the first 8000 + years of the Holocene, there was a lot less Arctic sea ice than the current comparatively high levels.

    The polar bears survived !

  6. Dr. Ian Stirling is a world renowned scholar on the study of polar bears. I used to joke that he knew every bear in the Canadian arctic on a first name basis. If there was ever an expert on polar bears, he’s it. He has been one of the loudest voices predicting polar bear doom due to climate change.

    So, Stirling is wrong and Dr. Susan Crockford, a relative nobody, is right. My guess is that Stirling, with his deep understanding of polar bear ecology, gained during a long and illustrious career, has been blinded to the data on what actually happens when the summer ice pack shrinks.

    Scholarly experts everywhere should read and understand the work of Philip Tetlock on expert predictions. It should be humbling. A drunk dart-throwing chimp can generate more accurate predictions. ie. experts’ knowledge leads to over-confidence and actually reduces the accuracy of their predictions.

    • “world renowned” by the team as Michael Mann was by the “hockey team”.

      • I have met Stirling and worked closely with his people. I would trust him and them with my life. His predictions have been shown to be wrong. That’s not the same as being dishonorable.

        On the other hand, Mann, because of adverse inference, is a self admitted fraud.

        • I agree Bob: Stirling has done extraordinary work during his long career (as have others) and I have great respect for what he has done for the field.

          But he has unfortunately made his prediction of polar bear demise his legacy issue. As his career winds down, he wants to be remembered for this issue above all else, which explains why he remains unable to admit he was wrong (as a good scientist would do) despite the evidence piling up. Steven Amstrup, now at Polar Bears International but formerly head of the USGS unit that got polars listed as ‘threatened’ under the ESA in 2007, is in the same boat.

          It’s a real pity. But it’s not my responsibility as a scientist to protect their fragile egos: my job is to follow the evidence (that in many cases, these two men and/or their students have published over the last 50 years) and draw logical, scientific conclusions based on that information.

          Stirling and Amstrup attack me because I use their own data to refute their predictions. That is why they always bring up the fact that I’ve never been to the Arctic or never handled a polar bear: while true, these facts are totally irrelavant when the evidence collected and published shows the predictions were wrong. I don’t need to have put a collar on a polar bear to conclude that documented evidence from the published literature, which shows that bears are thriving despite declining sea ice, means the assumptions underlying their predictions were wrong. It is also my responsibility as a scientist to say so despite the fact that the information will not make me popular.

          • As a Canadian i think its a travesty how you have been treated. At some point it will become so glaringly obvious that the emperor has no clothes that people will be publicly shamed and your will attain the position you deserve.
            Thanks for your efforts in service of the truth.

          • The number of polar bears tagged by Ian Stirling during the Holocene Climate Optimum = 0.

            Words fail me and the best I can do is agree with Pat.

          • But, as Prof Peter Ridd learned, disagreeing in public with ones peers is the sin of being ‘uncollegial’, regardless how pigheadedly wrong they are.

  7. Okay, time to change the victim. I can see the Grauniad headline already..

    “Seals endangered by climate change, loss of ice means less places to hide from evil polar bears”

    • Shark: On similar threads, I have reasoned that were the Arctic to become ice free or nearly so, the polar bear food hunt would be a linear one – follow the shoreline – instead of a two dimensional one with large ice area.

      One can observe in a science fraught with IDology and pecuniary self interest and, in the climate case, desire for ‘belonging and fame a tendancy to confuse cause and effect. It is indeed the seals one should worry about and it is a no-brainer that bears would benefit. Scientifically, the robust survival and thriving of the Western and Southern Hudson’s Bay populations, which have had consistently much longer ice free conditions than for other groups, should have been ample proof that they had the driver backwards’undistracted’.

      Also, during the Holocene Optimum, the presently ice-locked north shore of Greenland was ice free, so much so that today it boasts huge beaches with driftwood, sand dunes and grooves cut by windblown ice at breakup frozen in time. We also had other periods of warm inter -glacials and 100k year ice sheets weathered by these bears.

      This is incontrovertible proof of the practice of cargo cult science in operation, not just re the bears but for the entire climate enterprise. They don’t dispute any of this evidence, they simply encapsulate their stuff and avoid mention of what they know falsifies their notions.

  8. Improved body condition should come together with population increase (or at least population stability) to mean that the bears are thriving. And I do not mean that this is not happening. I don’t know. What I mean is that you have to provide data of both average body weight trends AND population trends for the conclusion to be valid.

    • Under the bottom line of the study it is stated that the population of the Barents Sea polar bears has increased 42%.

    • Nylo, in nature, conditions of well fed and healthy are automatic precursors of increased population. Thought experiment: imagine a mother bear underfed and unwell with one or two cubs. The survival of her cubs depends on her ability to feed them adequately at the start of their lives and to have the strength to hunt for their growing-up. If the female is sufficiently thin and unwell, she wouldn’t be able to conceive. Recent years more twins and triplets have been reported.

      A detailed corroboration of this should be done with a robust count. This should even provide a way of estimating population from a statistical counting of a few bears from each population. Fat bears are a reasonable indication of abundant seals and the state of the whole food chain as well. I predict that its correlation with increasing CO2, the building blocks of life, will prove to be causitive.

  9. You can bet the house though, that should sea ice increase over the coming decades and there is a concurrent drop in polar bear condition, the usual suspects will come out of the woodwork and say, ‘see, we told you bears were under threat’.

    • Consider the future –
      There are now in some places so many bears that local, or even widespread population crash is inevitable. When, we don’t know, but likely sooner than later. That’s the way it works in nature. And when the crash comes, pictures of malnourished bears will be easily come by.
      It won’t be hard for the alarmist orthodoxy to present this as a confirmation of their models (though perhaps with tortuous logic to take in the ice data or trend at the time).
      And I’m afraid the media will be willing accomplices to this deceit.

  10. I have often wondered why the predictions of polar bear demise didn’t include why less ice would reduce the population of seals that the bears feed on. A food chain chart would immediately show that the ability to obtain seals would utterly vital to the bears survival.

    How better to concentrate the food supply than reduce their reproductive areas!

  11. Because we have begun the new Ice Age the glaciers at the poles, due to the increased thickness of the ice, are breaking off. Nature is taking the heat stored in the oceans and making ice. She is dropping that ice on the frozen areas of the poles. She has begun to put the Ice on the land areas of the northern Arctic continents. She will be doing this for the next 50,000 years. At that point she will begin the Ice Melting stage.

  12. Prof. Crockford can pretty much kiss her career goodby. Today’s science is not about the truth but about funding. I hope she enjoys her new windowless basement office !

  13. That map and the data about summer ice decrease is obviously very faulty for the Barents area. The southern part has never ever had winter ice, much less summer ice. It is as a matter of fact simply a map of the areas with shallow water in the Barents sea, and Stern & Laidre 2016 seem to simply have assumed that all such areas were formerly ice-covered. So of course, since they are never ice-covered today you get a steep decline.

    Remember the Murmansk convoys? And that Murmansk was built because the Kola Coast is always ice-free. Even during the extreme 1941/42 winter, and the worst ice-winter in historical times 1866/67.

    Also note that they have simply averaged data over each area, the trend always changes at area borders. So there is no way to sepaate a bi change in a small area from a small change in a large area.

  14. Let me guess; obese bears will be the next big problem, because climatechange…

    • I’m not buying the feigned concern when these were the very people chucking them of skyscrapers to promote the dooming. I suppose now they’ve got their hands out for concerned cholesterol testing when it’s high time they were catching walruses off the cliffs.

  15. Urgent headline!

    CO2 causes Polar Bear Obesity!

    Humans are threatening the existence of this cuddly endangered species by providing them with so much food that they all die of heart attacks. Cut back on cars, airlines and oil, and start recycling now before Polar Bears go extinct, and our grandchildren…..

  16. In the high Arctic, the entire food web is dependent on the Primary Productivity of the surrounding seas. Primary Productivity is the photosynthesis by plankton and algae. From that PP, the krill feed, the clams on the sea bed filter the organic snowfall, the pelagic fish feed, and then all the marine mammals, seals, walrus, whales, porpoise, then to the Polar Bears. Each trophic level is completely dependent on the original PP.

    So what does remote sensing (satellites) tell us about PP (Chlorophyll-A) from 2004 to Present?

    date of publication: 8/28/2019
    Arctic Ocean Primary Productivity: The Response of Marine Algae to Climate Warming and Sea Ice Decline
    K.E.Frey ,J.C.Comiso ,L.W.Cooper ,J.M.Grebmeier ,L.V.Stock

    “Highlights
    Satellite estimates of ocean primary productivity (i.e., the rate at which marine algae transform dissolved inorganic carbon into organic material) were higher in 2018 (relative to the 2003-17 mean) for three of the nine investigated regions (the Eurasian Arctic, Bering Sea, and Baffin Bay).
    All regions continue to exhibit positive trends over the 2003-18 period, with the strongest trends for the Eurasian Arctic, Barents Sea, Greenland Sea, and North Atlantic.
    The regional distribution of relatively high (low) chlorophyll-a concentrations can often be associated with a relatively early (late) breakup of sea ice cover.

    source: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20190030482.pdf

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, just an honest admission of the obvious,that with a positive trend in PP over the 2003-2018 period that the entire food web in the Arctic is benefitting from more CO2 and less ice. PBs included.

  17. Polar bears hunt seals on the sea ice because that’s where the seals are at that time of year. The females come out of the water to have their pups. They use the ice because it’s easier to hide there.

    Were the ice to disappear, female seals won’t stop having pups, they will have them somewhere else.
    That place is the shore. Pupping on the shore means that it’s easier for the polar bears to get to them.

    It’s no surprise that eat better when sea ice is low.

  18. Dr. Crockford,

    Thanks for more good news (data) about the polar bears. You have my respect and best wishes for careful work and honest, brave interpretations.
    All the best to you.

  19. For years the Inuit have been saying that the Polar Bear populations have been increasing. But then again what do they know, they don’t even have any student loan debt to pay off ?

  20. angech says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    May 7, 2020 at 3:20 am
    A new pause.
    Interesting.
    “ The time series for CryoSat/SMOS total volume shows April 2020 a lower relative to the 2011-2020 period while PIOMAS shows a bit of an uptick. Neither time series indicates a trend over the past 10 years contrasting the drastic thinning over the last 40-years.”

  21. “publicly disparaged and denigrated by journalists and colleagues”

    First I want to commend Dr. Crockford for her generosity in using the terms “journalist” and colleagues” for individuals who deserve rather more adverse terminology more reflective of their anti-scientific and abusive behaviour.
    Second I just want to point out what a badge of honour it must be to be “disparaged and denigrated” by both the town fools and the dissembling wizards of Oz. This is surely a sign of jealousy directed to someone fortunate to both know the truth, but also speak it at every opportunity.

  22. The whole paragraph is worth quoting for a broader context. Link to the study follows for anyone interested in more than the headline.

    “Average BCI values [‘fatness’] (corrected for breeding status) had an estimated decreasing tendency with confidence intervals slightly crossing 0 from 1997 until 2005 (−0.03 BCI scale units/year; 95% CIs: −0.09, 0.03; Figure 1) and increased significantly thereafter (0.02 BCI scale units/year; 95% CIs: 0.003, 0.04). The decreasing tendency in BCI between 1997 and 2005 translates to a loss of 1.3 kg/year (95% CIs: −3.52, 1.01 kg) for a bear with average body condition and length, whereas the increase in BCI since 2005 translates to a gain of 0.84 kg/year (95% CIs: 0.12 kg, 1.56 kg). The declining tendency in BCI between 1997 and 2005 is in accordance with the results reported in a study on female polar bears from the Southern Hudson Bay subpopulation, where a significant decrease in body condition of 1.3 kg/year between 1984 and 2009 was reported. Decline in available sea ice habitat has been related to decrease in body condition in the Southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation, whereas a 44 days increase in the number of days with reduced sea ice was not associated with any changes in body condition in polar bears from the Chukchi Sea subpopulation. Unexpectedly, body condition of female polar bears from the Barents Sea has increased after 2005, although sea ice has retreated by ∼50% since the late 1990s in the area, and the length of the ice-free season has increased by over 20 weeks between 1979 and 2013. These changes are also accompanied by winter sea ice retreat that is especially pronounced in the Barents Sea compared to other Arctic areas. Despite the declining sea ice in the Barents Sea, polar bears are likely not lacking food as long as sea ice is present during their peak feeding period. Polar bears feed extensively from April to June when ringed seals have pups and are particularly vulnerable to predation, whereas the predation rate during the rest of the year is likely low. The decline of sea ice in the Barents Sea has led to high densities of ringed seals in spring in areas where sea ice is present. Furthermore, due to a lack of snow, some pups are born on open ice, making them vulnerable to predation. Telemetry studies suggest that ringed seals and polar bears used the same areas close to the coast of Svalbard and still have a high degree of spatial overlap during spring despite changing sea ice conditions.”

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anuschka_Polder2/publication/330854787_Temporal_Trends_of_Persistent_Organic_Pollutants_in_Barents_Sea_Polar_Bears_Ursus_maritimus_in_Relation_to_Changes_in_Feeding_Habits_and_Body_Condition/links/5c585508299bf12be3fbbfec/Temporal-Trends-of-Persistent-Organic-Pollutants-in-Barents-Sea-Polar-Bears-Ursus-maritimus-in-Relation-to-Changes-in-Feeding-Habits-and-Body-Condition.pdf

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