Polar bear habitat update for end July 2021 compared to previous years

From Polar Bear Science

Here’s a trip down memory lane for Arctic sea ice at the end of July, which as far as I can see provides no evidence that a very low sea ice disaster is in the cards for polar bears this year.

A look at this year first:

The ice in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas is primarily thick multiyear ice (brown), as the charts below show (Chukchi and western Beaufort first) from the Alaska Sea Ice Program. Wrangel Island in the western Chukchi Sea, which is a major denning area and summer refuge for polar bears, is still surrounded by ice (in fact, ice is covering most of the label for the Chukchi Sea):

Eastern to central Beaufort, from the Canadian Ice Service, for the week of 26 July. That open water provides important ice-edge feeding areas for seals (and thus hunting potential for bears):

Hudson Bay is virtually ice free at this point, which is earlier than the last few years but not extraordinarily so, as I explained last week. As I also pointed out in that post, there is almost certainly more ice present than is shown on this map, due to the problems that satellites have interpreting melting ice. Oddly, Andrew Derocher has not updated the tracking map for his remaining bears with satellite collars since 19 July: I guess he is too busy. Same thing regarding the Town of Churchill problem bear reports, which haven’t been updated since 12 July. However, some of the bears that came ashore near Churchill and are hanging out on the shore of Wapusk National Park have been spotted by the Explore.org live cams.

Compare this year to previous years









2013 (the Canadian chart is the only one I have in my archive for this period in 2013):

Here is Canada this year for comparison to 2013 above:

I don’t see a looming sea ice catastrophe for 2021, do you see a looming sea ice catastrophe?

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Rud Istvan
July 31, 2021 2:20 pm

6.8 Wadhams worth of Arctic sea ice end July is only a reputational catastrophe for Wadhams. Who richly deserves the ridicule.

Plus, as Dr. Crockford has explained, polar bears do not depend on summer sea ice. They get about 85% of their annual caloric intake by gorging during the spring seal whelping season. Nobody claims the Arctic will be ice free in the spring.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 31, 2021 5:24 pm

During the Holocene there have been long periods when the arctic was quite a bit warmer than it is now. Spring sea ice did not exist in many areas during those warmer times and yet the polar bears obviously survived. link Much/most/all of the arctic has been seasonally ice free some time during the last 10,000 years. My guess is that, if there’s no ice, the seals will come ashore to have their pups.

Rick C
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 31, 2021 6:44 pm

So where do seals whelp when there isn’t ice? I doubt they just hold the pups in until fall. Is there some reason the bears can’t catch them on land?

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Rick C
August 1, 2021 3:34 am

Elephant seals whelp on the beach in California, visible from the Pacific Coast Highway. No reason why the seals in the arctic would not do the same thing if there is no ice. They must have done so during the especially warm times in the past. Seems like helpless seal pups on the beach would be easy prey for hungry bears, sort of like strolling through the fresh meats section of a supermarket….

Reply to  Rick C
August 1, 2021 4:15 am

When is it ice free in the spring. Inquiring minds and what not.

July 31, 2021 2:41 pm

loocyyy, you got sum splain’in to do…..

Rich Davis
July 31, 2021 2:44 pm

Calling griff, time to apologize to Dr Crockford, and then you can let me know, given all the climatological catastrophes cascading across our fragile globe…in which time period would you prefer to live your life?

[__] Benign low CO2 1675-1750
[__] “Dangerous” CO2 1950-2025

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 31, 2021 3:12 pm

O, just leave him/her alone. Don’t rub it in.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
July 31, 2021 3:21 pm

Nope. Rub it in. Rub it in hard and often!

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 31, 2021 6:05 pm

That’s true. The more it’s rubbed in, the less he will be able to escape it. Fitting punishment to his or her deathbed, and it’s legal too.

…. and he/she only gets one life.

Reply to  philincalifornia
July 31, 2021 11:18 pm

Maybe but the borg lives on

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 31, 2021 7:51 pm

Yes, 40 grit kosher salt with a belt sander.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
July 31, 2021 11:25 pm

Griff was told the truth by many and refused to accept reality. Abuse will ensure a more humble approach in future. Ie. he deserves it.

July 31, 2021 2:56 pm

No! But Griff claims to have been seeing it for a decade or so now!

Andrew Wilkins
July 31, 2021 3:00 pm

Many thanks for the update. It confirms once again that the alarmists are getting all het up about nothing

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
July 31, 2021 6:21 pm

The climate worriers have had nothing but end-of-hype bad news of late. They’ve had to come out and trash the models (based on physics doncha know) that are projecting warming 300% too high. They knew this a decade and a half ago, but were hopefull after weathering the heartbreaking 18yr pause, only to plunge into a 6 year cooling period after brief relief caused by an el Niño in 2015. They were smoked out.

One can’t but feel some pity for them when you see the pictures of truly the fattest healthiest polar bears seen in half a lifetime – a female with bustling triplets no less. This is the longest silence we’ve had from the polar bear ‘specialist’ group a sure sign of defeat and despair. I love Susan’s jaunty reporting, her love of the bears and the civil harpooning of the frodily ‘specialists’. The University of Victoria who dismissed Susan at the behest of polar bearly boffins and Michael “Disgrace to the Profession” Mann should have a mountain of publicity because of this. I see a flurry of Climateer retirements to preserve pensions in the tea leaves.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 1, 2021 12:20 am

Actually, I feel slightly sorry (but only slightly) for all the Climate “Scientists”, who must be waking up to the fact that they have wasted their lives and careers on a complete lie. No amount of money or number of academic awards can ever compensate for that.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 1, 2021 4:14 am

“They knew this a decade and a half ago, but were hopefull after weathering the heartbreaking 18yr pause, only to plunge into a 6 year cooling period after brief relief caused by an el Niño in 2015.”

Things are going from bad to worse for the alarmists. That’s good for the rest of us. It means it is not as bad as the alarmists claim.

Right-Handed Shark
July 31, 2021 3:04 pm

do you see a looming sea ice catastrophe?”

Yes. I see grief approaching in 3.. 2.. 1..

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
July 31, 2021 7:53 pm

You misspelled Griff

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Fraizer
July 31, 2021 9:50 pm

Same difference

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Fraizer
August 1, 2021 12:23 am

I know what I meant. But, looks like he’s giving this article a wide berth. Wonder why?

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 31, 2021 3:11 pm

No north-east passage nor a north-west passage this year. If you booked a cruise, tough.

John Tillman
July 31, 2021 3:44 pm

Dearest Griffypoo,

If CO2 be the control knob on sea ice, please explain then why 2012 is still the low for Arctic sea ice extent, while the 42 year record high in Antarctic sea ice was registered in 2014. And why at this point, 2021 ranks third in extent since 1979, when dedicated satellite observations began.


Ron Long
July 31, 2021 4:44 pm

The usual good comments from Dr. Susan. Why is that mother polar bear and her two yearling cubs looking directly at me like that?

Reply to  Ron Long
July 31, 2021 5:08 pm


kelvin Duncan
July 31, 2021 4:49 pm

Allied to this, is there any naturally occuring open sea passages through the American Arctic? This was predicted would be happening for a substantial period of the summer not so many years ago?
I can’t see any open passages in these maps.

Tom Abbott
July 31, 2021 5:48 pm

From the article: “I don’t see a looming sea ice catastrophe for 2021, do you see a looming sea ice catastrophe?”

No, I don’t.

All those maps look pretty much the same to me. The differences are small.

Rich Davis
July 31, 2021 6:02 pm

How is it that you people can’t see how emaciated and near death those bears are? Another year and between the three of them there’ll be a ton and a half of cuddly carnivore.

And apparently you don’t understand that you’re drowning in floods, burning up in heat waves and wildfires and whatnot like griff keeps reminding us? How can you be so unobservant?

Reply to  Rich Davis
July 31, 2021 6:26 pm

Things are fine at my place in central Indiana and everywhere I’ve driven. Our cat loves to sit in the bay window in our small dining room. Today I saw a humming bird just tease the heck out her. It was going after the flowers and then saw her and came up and hovered as they do, moving quickly back and forth. The more agitated the cat got the more it teased her. That was a first for me.

Rich Davis
Reply to  rah
August 1, 2021 5:04 am

The hummingbird was just trying to raise your cat’s consciousness of the imminent disastrous calamities that are already happening EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME!!

July 31, 2021 7:59 pm

So this is really funny.
Just mention polar bears or arctic sea ice and Griff takes grief.
If Ed didn’t exist he would have to be invented.
How do you spell EPIC FAIL? G_r_i_f_f

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Fraizer
August 1, 2021 4:17 am

Oh, so you know his first name, too. 🙂

Rich Davis
Reply to  Fraizer
August 1, 2021 5:07 am

Is griff’s real name Edward Griffin?

How do you know this?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rich Davis
August 2, 2021 4:38 am

His name was shown here in one post, years ago.

Some of us have long memories. 🙂

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 2, 2021 4:48 am

I think the occasion was the last time Anthony kicked Griff off the website. Anthony was kind of upset with him at the time.

August 1, 2021 4:14 am

What I see is a looming bumper year for taking of Polar Bears by hunters.

Rich Davis
Reply to  2hotel9
August 1, 2021 5:12 am

You’re so cruel. All they want is a Coke and a smile. (They’ll eat the smile off your face while you’re drinking your cola).

Reply to  Rich Davis
August 1, 2021 6:34 am

Wonder if leaving a case of Woke A Cola out would be considered baiting?

August 2, 2021 7:58 am

Polar bears are a very recent new “species”.
They appeared around the start of the previous Eemian interglacial. As recent as that, only ~150,000 years ago.
They’re not yet really a species at all, they still interbreed with grizzlies, it takes roughly a million years for a species to fully speciate. Most species also only last for about one million years, the two time durations are no doubt linked.
The appearance of a new white polar bear is a sign of deepening glaciation over the timescale of the Pleistocene and especially the last million years or so after interglacials became less frequent (at 100,000 year instead of 40,000 year intervals).

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