Polar bear paws photographed in the tundra of Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada.

Polar bear habitat update and the progress of breakup on Hudson Bay

From Polar Bear Science

Posted on June 17, 2021 

At mid-month, there is still an abundance of thick first year ice over much of Hudson Bay, suggesting that – yet again – this will not be an early breakup year for Western Hudson Bay polar bears. The early breakup years in the past (like 2010) that generated all kinds of panic amongst polar bear specialists have not developed into ever-continuing declining trend (Lunn et al. 2016) or another abrupt step-change like there was in 1998/99 (Castro de la Guardia et al. 2017).

In the last few years conditions have been more like they were in the 1980s than the prophesied catastrophe we were promised. I don’t see a ‘tipping point’ for Hudson Bay; do you see a tipping point?

The more light green areas of thinner ice present, as there was in 2010 (below), the earlier breakup is apt to be:

According to Andrew Derocher (University of Alberta), the bears that still have operational satellite collars are still on the ice and most were still well offshore at 14 June 2021:

Compare the above weekly charts of ice thickness to mid-June charts from the last few years. I don’t have the chart from last year at this time because it was moving day for me and life was rather chaotic.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any published data on dates when WH polar bears have moved onshore and offshore since 2015 (Castro de la Guardia et al. 2017), which is the relevant determiner of ‘breakup’ for the bears. Maybe they’ve just been too busy? However, most WH researchers haven’t been able to do any field work since last spring and have had all the time in the world to write up their data from previous years. So perhaps we’ll see this critical WH data soon.

Ice thickness at mid-June 2019:

And from 2018:

From 2016:

And finally, 2015:


Castro de la Guardia, L., Myers, P.G., Derocher, A.E., Lunn, N.J., Terwisscha van Scheltinga, A.D. 2017. Sea ice cycle in western Hudson Bay, Canada, from a polar bear perspective. Marine Ecology Progress Series 564: 225–233. http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v564/p225-233/

Lunn, N.J., Servanty, S., Regehr, E.V., Converse, S.J., Richardson, E. and Stirling, I. 2016. Demography of an apex predator at the edge of its range – impacts of changing sea ice on polar bears in Hudson Bay. Ecological Applications 26(5): 1302-1320. DOI: 10.1890/15-1256

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Ron Long
June 18, 2021 3:16 am

Although I am a little hesitant to accept that the news of the recovery of an apex predator as good news, if it removes the polar bear as a poster child for the CAGW crowd it is indeed good news.

John Dueker
Reply to  Ron Long
June 18, 2021 4:13 am

If only it would get truth out of the CAGWs. It won’t. The cute cuddly man eater will always be used by the liars despite the species health.

If it doesn’t fit the narrative they don’t care facts are irrelevant when the ends justify the means.

Ron Long
Reply to  John Dueker
June 18, 2021 5:32 am

Actually, John Dueker, I am with you on the tendencies of the CAGW crowd. However, I’m thinking of a strategy here, like get a “ship of fools” together with a lot of CAGW/Greenies/Marixts together for a trip to “hug a cute cuddly polar bear for a photo opportunity, before they are all gone”. The results then would be good news.

John Dueker
Reply to  Ron Long
June 18, 2021 7:09 am

They are certainly dumb enough to sign on. I suggest a premium pricing strategy and offer to set them free from Covid passport requirements.

Reply to  John Dueker
June 18, 2021 8:27 am

Hold on guys. In your hastiness, you forgot to look at the OSHA regulations for making sure that polar bears are not susceptible to Covid-19 infection. I’m sure the San Diego zoo can be of some help here.

Reply to  Ron Long
June 18, 2021 10:55 am

How about fun kayaking with the polar bears class trips?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  John Dueker
June 18, 2021 12:34 pm

If propaganda had anything to do with truth or facts, Trump would still be the President of the US and AGW wouldn’t be a thing.

Reply to  Ron Long
June 18, 2021 7:12 am

Another handmade tale left on ice.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
June 18, 2021 3:49 am

Hmmmmm…guess I should abandon my plan for sailing the Arctic Sea yet again….

Ed Zuiderwijk
June 18, 2021 4:57 am

Polar bears are an apex species for cuddly climate disinformation.

Joel O’Bryan
June 18, 2021 6:27 am

nature is a curious thing. It doesn’t give a crap about human narratives to support an agenda. Nature™️ on the other hand…

Gary Pearse
June 18, 2021 6:28 am

“…researchers haven’t been able to do any field work since last spring and have had all the time in the world to write up their data from previous years. So perhaps..”

This is an amateur poker tell that has been repeated regarding climate data that departs from the narrative. They stopped reporting sea level data some years back when sea level stopped rising for a few years. They modified it by adding in elastic rebound from the lost glacial maximum ice. This ridiculously added a volumetric factor to a linear measure, resulting in a new sealevel that lies above the present actual surface of the sea.

Don’t hold your breath Susan! You can assume that with a cooling spell over the last 5 or 6 years and the firm ice that the bears have been longer on the ice, but the doomsters are looking for a way to present less good news on the bears. My bet is they had a “faulty batch” of radio tags.

Coeur de Lion
June 18, 2021 6:40 am

Just read the chapter on polar beats in Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams and realise their formidable nature, their ingenuity and their perfect adaptation to the Arctic conditions. That the pampered metropolitan lefties should ever have thought they might go Extinct beggars belief. But lefties can’t add up, read around the subject, think, argue from the facts. Why, I wonder.

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
June 18, 2021 7:10 am

Many are like my sister, the only democrat among my three siblings. She knows nothing and when one tries to inform her, she shuts her ears and brain off.

Reply to  rah
June 18, 2021 8:32 am

Hey stop bad-mouthing those democrats. We get an extra day off tomorrow.

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  philincalifornia
June 18, 2021 10:02 am

Yes ! To remember the day that the Republicans took all the Democrats slaves away !

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
June 18, 2021 5:19 pm

Unforgivable. Deplorable, even.

June 18, 2021 8:13 am

If you think you will win the global warming debate by counting polar bears I have some bad news for you

David Kamakaris
Reply to  Eben
June 18, 2021 10:06 am

I have some bad news for you.”

Let’s hear it, Eben.

Reply to  David Kamakaris
June 18, 2021 10:08 am

Nobody cares

Reply to  Eben
June 18, 2021 11:02 am

Sure ?
Let us participate in your special unlimited knowledge.
People will awake and you ask the same question, c’mon… 😀

Reply to  Eben
June 18, 2021 5:18 pm

People care, but in democratic/dictatorial societies they are denied standing, life, liberty, and are inundated with truths spoken to facts (e.g. handmade tales).

Reply to  Eben
June 18, 2021 12:15 pm

But the fact is that during the Holocene, trees could grow much closer to the Poles and much higher up the mountain than they do now, so polar bears must have had a terrible time before humans started emitting all that CO2.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Eben
June 18, 2021 12:39 pm

You say:

Nobody cares.

Obviously someone cares enough to count the bears. You cared enough to post your pointless comments on this blog.

Patrick H.
June 18, 2021 2:58 pm

I wouldn’t want to get anywhere near those things. Even if it was shot with a dart and knocked out. Those poor basta*ds in the Fish and Wildlife Service have to check their general health. Then they give them a shot to wake them up, and run like hell.

Reply to  Patrick H.
June 18, 2021 4:44 pm

I read Susan’s book “Upheaval’, every Demorat in Congress should be given a free copy.

June 19, 2021 1:58 am

Well this is all very well, but the sea ice extent this last week has been oscillating between 4th and 6th lowest for this date in the satellite record and the ice between Svalbard and 85 North is very broken up…

In other words it is another bad year for arctic sea ice and therefore for polar bears

Reply to  griff
June 19, 2021 7:17 am

Your lies about Polar Bears are boring and useless, no one here will be impressed by it.

You have been told and shown repeatedly that there periods of time of little to no summer ice for long periods of time in the early interglacial period up the MWP, yet we have Polar Bears still here and currently thriving.

The need for Summer ice is low for them since they have by July have eaten most of their calories for the year.

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