Western Hudson Bay polar bears: still some out on the sea ice, some causing trouble

From Polar Bear Science

As of Monday (19 July), more polar bears had come ashore near Churchill and on the shores of Wakusp National Park but some are still out on the bay. The pattern of ice breakup this year means most bears will come ashore well south of Churchill and make their way north over the summer and fall. There have been two Churchill ‘problem’ bear reports so far but not one for this week, so I’ll go ahead and post without it.

Note that the earliest average date ashore for all bears (not the date the first bear hit the beach) for WH bears was 9 June (Julian day 160), which happened in 1999. Hasn’t been that early since, although a few years afterward had most bears ashore at mid-June (2003, 2011) [Day 180 is 29 June]. However, this means that the first bear on the beach at 28 June this year is nowhere close to ‘early.’ From Castro de al. Guardia et al. 2017, which only goes up to 2015, showing that up to that point, the average date bears were ashore was late June-early July (but it’s been later than that since, especially for the last few years):

Three of Andrew Derocher’s six remaining females with collars were ashore on Monday, which leaves three still offshore along with all the other bears that are doing the same thing. The first one came ashore two weeks ago, so there has hardly been a stampede. Notice the two bears that appear to be in open water but is almost certainly ice that the satellites cannot ‘see’ or is <50% concentration:

According to his map, only a bit of ice is left on Hudson Bay. However, even polar bear researchers know that satellites are notoriously bad at getting the amount of ice correct at this time of year and can underestimate ice amounts by up to 50% in Hudson Bay. They are usually forced to acknowledge this in their papers but don’t bother on social media or when talking to reporters. For example, the evidence that Andrew Derocher is fully aware that this is the case comes from one of his student’s papers, on which he is a co-author (Castro de la Guardia et al. 2017:227) [my bold]:

In general, passive microwave derived sea ice data are associated with an underestimation error of up to 30% during breakup and freeze-up throughout the marginal ice zone and seasonal ice regions in the Northern Hemisphere (e.g. Cavalieri et al. 1991, Comiso et al. 1997, Markus & Dokken 2002). In Hudson Bay, passive microwave sea ice concentration can underestimate sea ice concentration by up to 50% compared with CISDA (Agnew & Howell 2003). Underestimation biases of passive microwave data are associated with the presence of wet snow and melt ponds during breakup, and with areas covered by frazil ice and young ice during freeze-up (Agnew & Howell 2003).

In other words, contrary to predictions made by polar bear specialists, some bears are happy to deal with melt ponds and wet snow rather than come ashore, especially on Hudson Bay. This rather plays havoc with the most recent predictive model uses old Hudson Bay data – collected before this propensity to stay late on diminishing ice was fully apparent – to predict a future of extinction for polar bears worldwide (Castro de la Guardia et al. 2013; Molnar et al. 2020). And it means there was likely much more ice on Hudson Bay for the week of 19 July than even the Canadian Ice Service chart below suggests:

It’s looking to me like the average date ashore for WH polar bears in 2021 will come out to be around the first week in July but it might be 10 years or more before we see that data appear in a publication. Funnily enough, some of these researchers seem to have lost their drive to publish data as soon as possible now that it no longer fits their narrative.

Churchill Problem Bear Reports

I notice that this year there are no comments about the condition of the bears causing problems around Churchill (same was true last year). Odd, compared to 2019 and 2017. Perhaps I’m wrong but I expect whoever composes these reports has been advised that informing the public that bears are in excellent condition is ‘unhelpful’.


Castro de la Guardia, L., Derocher, A.E., Myers, P.G., Terwisscha van Scheltinga, A.D. and Lunn, N.J. 2013. Future sea ice conditions in Western Hudson Bay and consequences for polar bears in the 21st century. Global Change Biology 19:2675–2687. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12272

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/

Molnár, P.K., Bitz, C.M., Holland, M.M., Kay, J.E., Penk, S.R. and Amstrup, S.C. 2020. Fasting season length sets temporal limits for global polar bear persistence. Nature Climate Changehttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0818-9

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Tom Halla
July 25, 2021 2:07 pm

Telling people the polies are doing just fine violates the Narrative

July 25, 2021 2:17 pm

Who are the “whoever and their “advisers” ” in “Perhaps I’m wrong but I expect whoever composes these reports has been advised that informing the public that bears are in excellent condition is ‘unhelpful’?”

We’re going to need names for the recriminations and class action suits.

July 25, 2021 2:19 pm

Our polar bear and Arctic ice specialist griff will appearsoon and tell you the truth about the state of the real world… 😀 😀

Rich Davis
Reply to  Krishna Gans
July 25, 2021 2:44 pm

While he’s at it, I’m sure he’ll remember to apologize to Dr Susan Crockford, don’t you think?

Reply to  Rich Davis
July 25, 2021 6:34 pm

While he’s at it, perhaps he can tell us where all the poly bear carcasses are hidden, due to all that dangerous CO2 in the atmosphere. I heard only 25,000 of them left.

July 25, 2021 2:30 pm

Bad bears. Bad bears. Bad bears…

Reply to  n.n
July 26, 2021 6:23 am

Leave the bears alone…they are just trying to have some fun after a long cold winter.

July 25, 2021 2:36 pm

7 + 9 = 20??

Rich Davis
Reply to  Drake
July 25, 2021 2:56 pm

Probably adjusted up 25% for urban heat island effect?

Rud Istvan
July 25, 2021 2:45 pm

Read this over at Susan’s.
WHB polar bears just doing what WHB polar bears always do.
Unfortunate for PB climate alarmists like Sterling and Amstrup and their now decades of PB alarm—but very fortunate for the WHB polar bears themselves.

July 25, 2021 3:16 pm

Why should the web-footed sea bear Ursus Maritimus have a problem with water-covered sea-ice?

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 26, 2021 5:56 am

They can’t be portrayed as victims if they aren’t suffering.

Ron Long
July 25, 2021 3:36 pm

So the Hudson Bay polar bears are not serving as a canary in the coal mine? The CAGW crowd will simply transition to another marker. Wonder what it will be?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Ron Long
July 25, 2021 3:47 pm

Read essay No Bodies in ebook Blowing Smoke. They tried Antarctica Adele penguins—nope, thriving. They tried the American Pika—nope, thriving. They tried the Costa Rican Golden Toad—nope, died out of tourist borne cytridiomycosis. They tried the Australian White ring tailed lemur—nope, respotted. So finally they tried the North American Red Wolf—nope, because is a wolf-coyote hybrid, not a true species, individuals selected in the end for preservation no different than any dog breed with the only re-released ‘natural’ population in Ablemarle Sound, supposedly threatened by SLR. Except the Ablemarle Wildlife refuge was selected for ‘red Wolf’ wild release precisely because coyotes do not go there, protecting the hybrid from further mongeralization.

Reply to  Ron Long
July 25, 2021 3:57 pm

Perhaps the very rare Arctic Unicorn Reindeer?
….unless the bears have eaten all of them.

Reply to  Anti-griff
July 25, 2021 5:19 pm

Thank for the chuckle.

Reply to  Ron Long
July 25, 2021 5:33 pm

Probably really hard to find a good one since CO2 stimulates the productivity of all ecosystems to some extent.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Ron Long
July 25, 2021 6:42 pm

Arctic unicorns are nearly extinct!

July 25, 2021 3:38 pm

Forget about the nuisance poly bears, pay attention to the Hudson bay map and segment in the south east of it known as Nastapoka arc (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nastapoka_arc)
Odd thing about it is that just few hundred miles to the west, the most intense magnetic field in the N. Hemisphere was located there until 1995. Now think of a giant iron meteorite hitting the spot from the east-west direction, sometime during the last ice age. It would not leave any trace on the surface but due to its huge weight would slowly sink into ground.
Since its surface temperature would soon fall below 1040 K iron mass would slowly magnetize by the earth’s field eventually becoming strongest magnetic point in the NH.
Displaced volume in the Earths interior would be forced sideways and upwards, showing largest surface uplift in the NH, wrongly fully attributed only to the post glacial rebound.
As the meteorite sunk further down it eventually would reach dept where temperature is at or above ~1K kelvin and demagnetizing process will start from the periphery moving further in as the lump of iron heats further. This process started sometime around 1700 when the magnetic field in the area started falling.
As Earth rotates anticlockwise, the meteorite due to its huge mass density would slowly drift westwards.
Have you got a better hypothesis ?

Nastapoka arc.gif
Reply to  Vuk
July 26, 2021 3:43 am

Here you can see what has been going on with the Hudson Bay magnetic field intensity, it lost about 17% of its strength since 1700. Cause is twofold, rapid sinking in the more viscose interior combined with temperature rise.

Reply to  Vuk
July 26, 2021 6:01 am

An iron meteorite, just like all other large meteorites would vaporize on impact. There would be no large body left to sink into the ground.
The other point is that meteorites don’t heat up much during their passage through the atmosphere. The fireball that you see is air being turned into a plasma because of compression, the bolide is moving so fast that the atmosphere can’t get out of the way. The parts of the bolide that do vaporize are ablated away so fast that there isn’t time to pass that heat to the inner portions.

Reply to  MarkW
July 26, 2021 8:56 am

Hi Mark
Whether relevant meteorite was heated on the impact with the atmosphere, I believe it size dictates that it would (e.g. NASA’s shuttle), it is not particularly relevant because it would quickly cool down, considering mass of metal involved.
The iron meteorites do not vaporise on impact, particularly not large ones. In case it hit water with layer of floating ice, its surface would be hardly dented; remember Chelyabinsk meteorite of few years ago that hit iced lake, which was tiny in comparison, it was fished out of the lake, and it was not even of iron composition. Number of nearly intact meteorites are found in the Antarctic snow and ice.
If the Nastapoka arc, which is part of a perfect circle with diameter of 450km, was caused by an impact of a body as small as 1% of the ‘crater’ it would have been an absolute giant at 4km in size.
If it happened during an ice age amount of heat generated in the lower atmosphere plus water vapour’s created ‘green house’ effect may have triggered the end of the ice age itself.
Until geologists come up with a solid hypothesis (see wiki link) my speculation is as good as any, but it does explain particular magnetic anomaly, for which there is no convincing scientific resolution.
You might like to think again about all the factors known and attempt to find an explanation, if so I’m ready to listen.

Reply to  Vuk
July 28, 2021 1:36 pm

All equal fantasies without any proof.

Also known as “Argumentum ad Ignorantiam: (appeal to ignorance)
The fallacy that a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proved false or that it is false simply because it has not been proved true.”

July 25, 2021 4:23 pm

comment image

Reply to  TEWS_Pilot
July 25, 2021 5:09 pm

I think the rocket burns liquid H2 and O2. The whole program is paid for from Amazon which imports China made junk across the ocean in ships spewing CO2 and other stuff from that heavy fuel oil.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Anti-griff
July 26, 2021 12:38 pm

And the hydrogen came from…yup, more “carbon intensive” activities, I’m sure. Not that it matters.

Nick Kilenyi
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
July 26, 2021 11:35 pm

Water vapour is a far more potent GHG than CO2.

Pat from kerbob
July 25, 2021 4:51 pm

I’m please the bears are doing so well even if Griff isn’t.

Can’t win them all Griff.
Or any

No bodies

July 26, 2021 4:15 am

“Perhaps I’m wrong but I expect whoever composes these reports has been advised that informing the public that bears are in excellent condition is ‘unhelpful’.” – article

Yes, it is very unhelpful, because such an egregious result – polar bears in EXCELLENT CONDITION – completely throws out the Doomsday Scenario, tosses it into the trash bin where it belongs, and even offers that horrifying notion that the Doomsday For Earth idea is utter poppycock. That means the Doomsayers may be out of work and have to find jobs at stores that still have cashiers along with self-checkout stations.

Would you like fries with that? 🙂

July 26, 2021 8:14 am

some better information on these bears here:
Bear Tracker Update: Summer 2021 – Polar Bears International

Reply to  griff
July 26, 2021 2:56 pm

Why is the linked article talking about ice declines? The Arctic was supposed to be ice free by 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018 or 2020, so there shouldn’t be ice left to decline..
Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions – Competitive Enterprise Institute (cei.org)

The stories in the linked article are cute, but how is that article “better than the one here?’

Nick Kilenyi
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2021 11:40 pm

Griff: Give it up, mate. Accept defeat. Everyone gets things wrong now and then, and you’ve got Polar Bears wrong, not that you ever get anything right.

Nick Kilenyi
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2021 11:43 pm

Did you read the article? The PB’s are not endangered.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
July 27, 2021 2:48 am

Interesting information on your link there Griffy – of the five individually named and tracked bears, four are still out on the supposedly critically declining ice while only one has come ashore. Perhaps the bears have local knowledge that you lack? Perhaps they realise that the ice is actually in a far better state than you think? The Polar Bears are doing fine.

Reply to  griff
July 28, 2021 1:51 pm

Polar Bears International“?

giffie cites a far left lying organization known for guesstimating and short changing their alleged polar bear counts.

PBI has lost respect and is well on it’s way to losing total credibility.

giffie must have been teaching them how to lose all respect.

Steve Z
July 26, 2021 12:25 pm

According to graph C, Hudson Bay was ice-free for an average of about 140 days per year, or well over four months, going back to 1980, and would be ice-free from July through mid-November.

Polar bears are excellent swimmers, but swimming is much more tiring for them than walking on land or on ice. They need to conserve their energy during the summer and early autumn, given the fact that food is unavailable through the cold, dark winter months.

Even if there used to be more sea ice in the past than now, why would a polar bear try to tread water for over four months, when prey is more abundant and easier to catch on land than in the water during the summer?

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Steve Z
July 26, 2021 12:42 pm

Polar Bears had no trouble living through conditions warmer than today by far in the past, so the notion that today’s less warm than previous warm periods temperatures will be “challenging” for them is pure nonsense. It really is that simple.

Nick Kilenyi
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
July 26, 2021 11:49 pm

Griff has been asked to explain this several times.

Richard Page
Reply to  Nick Kilenyi
July 27, 2021 2:56 am

Griffy can’t explain this – the delusionary world he lives in has no such concept in it. A Gungan from Naboo (sorry for the Star Wars reference) would have an equally difficult time trying to explain it as both of their subjective ‘realities’ are equally fictitious.

July 27, 2021 6:58 pm

Please buy the cow fart stopper, because if it will save just one polar bear it will be worth it! One size fits all!

cow fart stopper.jpg
Shoki Kaneda
July 28, 2021 7:03 pm

Living in Polar Bears’ hunting grounds is a recipe for bear mischief, because bears just have to be bears.

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