No signs of a climate emergency for W. Hudson Bay polar bears this year ahead of UN climate meeting

Reposted from Dr. Susan Crockford’s Polar Bear Science

By Susan Crockford,

Posted on October 15, 2021 | Comments Offon No signs of a climate emergency for W. Hudson Bay polar bears this year ahead of UN climate meeting

I’ve been told that another complete aerial survey of the Western Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation (from the Nunavut to Ontario boundaries) was conducted in August this year and that the bears have been hanging out further south than usual. It will be years before the results of the population count are published, of course (especially if it’s good news) but my contacts also say virtually all of the bears are in great condition again this year.

This is significant because W. Hudson Bay bears are one of the most southern subpopulations in the Arctic (only Southern HB bears live further south) and older data from this region is being used to predict the future for the entire global population based on implausible model projections (Molnar et al. 2020). And scary predictions of future polar bear survival are often taken to be proxies for future human disasters (see ‘Polar bears live on the edge of the climate change crisis‘), a point that some activists will no doubt make in the coming weeks, as the long-awaited UN climate change bash #26 (COP26) gets underway in Glasgow, Scotland on October 31.

Condition and Locations of WH polar bears

Rumour has it that most WH bears must have came off the ice east of the Manitoba-Ontario border, as fewer than usual have been spotted north of there (see ‘Zone A2’ on map below). Fifty to sixty very fat bears have apparently taken up temporary residence along the southern coast of Wapusk National Park (around the Owl/Broad River area), where in other years they might have been closer to Cape Churchill. In addition, where in other years there would have been many bears around York Factory and Kaskatama (around Cape Tatum), this year there were none until mid-October.

There are a few bears around Churchill and Cape Churchill, of course (and the Tundra Buggy tours are out scouting for them) but reports of problem bears in town have so far been lower than usual and the webcam at Cape Churchill have been picking up only a few single bears and families of sows and cubs hanging around. See the screencap below taken from one of the Explore.org webcams 9 October 2021.

By the way, I’ve also heard that the dozens of bears that have become proficient at hunting beluga from intertidal boulders in the shallows of the Seal River estuary (north of Churchill) from July to mid-September were back honing their skills this year. Although they would have had to have come off the ice in early-to-mid June this year, they have learned there is a reliable food source at this location where even sows with cubs are able to feast for a couple of months (i.e. it’s not just big male bears that are hunting the small whales). Photo below by Quent Plett, from this 25 January 2020 Churchill Wild blog post.

That certainly fits with the pattern of sea ice breakup this year, which saw the ice pull away from the sector north of Churchill by the end of June (see chart below). Bears committed to spending the summer near Churchill or along the coast of Wapusk National Park to the south must have come off the ice around that time:

The ice mass on the bay broke up rapidly after the end of June.

Remnant ice that persisted along the southwest coast this year left WH bears the opportunity to come ashore along the Ontario coast in mid-to-late July:

Even Southern Hudson Bay bears would have had to come ashore along the Ontario coast in mid-to-late July, weeks earlier than last year:

Rumour also has it that the bears on shore are so fat they have only recently started their traditional migration west and north towards Cape Churchill where sea ice usually forms earliest in the fall.

Most of these bears may be waiting for colder weather to start the trek north: fat bears overheat quickly. However, it is also possible they are in such good shape they know they can wait for the ice to reach them, even if they are further south than usual.

Last year, for example, ice was present from north to south along the entire west coast of Hudson Bay from Foxe Basin to James Bay by the beginning of November, giving Southern Hudson Bay bears much earlier-than-usual access to the newly-formed ice and the critical fall seal hunting opportunities that presented (see chart below for 4 November 2020):

It’s still too early to tell what the Hudson Bay freeze-up pattern will be this year but since most of the bears appear to be in good condition, they should be able to deal with even a late freeze-up if necessary. In other words, it’s looking like yet another great year for Western Hudson Bay polar bears – the 7th in a row by my calculations – despite the gloomy prophesies of the experts.

References

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 Change.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0818-9

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Tom Halla
October 17, 2021 6:16 pm

Reporting “the polar bears real doing fine” is only interesting in violating the narrative of doom.

M Courtney
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 18, 2021 12:12 am

Studying wildlife is science. That’s interesting in its own right.

Jay Willis
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 18, 2021 1:25 am

No it’s great to hear how they’re doing. It’s worth remembering that they are apex predators and marine mammals. They are indicatorsf the health of the entire ecosystem, which is usually only mentioned when things are going tits up.

Steve Case
October 17, 2021 7:03 pm

“Lions and tigers and bears! … Oh my!” Spoken by Dorothy in the “The Wizard of OZ”

The Anthropocene Extinction is probably a reality for many of the large quadrupeds around the world, you know, lions tigers, elephants hippos rhinos, giraffes etc. In the future many of them will only be found in zoos and nature preserves, but there’s one species of large quadrupeds that will no doubt survive in its original range and original numbers. Do you know which one that is?

The polar bears, no one really wants to live where they do, and they will continue to have the Arctic and all the seals they can eat well in to the future.

I tell that to my liberal friends and they don’t figure out that I’m talking about the polar bears. And when I tell them, their eyes roll. 

commieBob
Reply to  Steve Case
October 17, 2021 7:39 pm

It should be uncontroversial that Polar Bears survived times during the current interglacial (ie. the Holocene) when the arctic was seasonally ice free. example

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Steve Case
October 18, 2021 1:52 am

That is because they are psychologically incapable of grasping the concept of possibly being wrong.

Just test that by telling them that the signs are that Arctic summer ice is on the rebound.

SxyxS
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
October 18, 2021 6:02 am

Once you have reached the highest levels of moral and intellectual supremacy (= woke marxist Nirvana)you become immune to all facts that violate your godlike status and worldview.

Phil.
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
October 21, 2021 10:20 am

Although as Susan pointed out the Hudson bay cleared of ice early this year so that’s not a rebound. Maybe it will freeze up sooner this fall but the forecasts indicate otherwise. Should be interesting:
https://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/CVCSWCTHB/20211018180000_CVCSWCTHB_0011809443.pdf

PCman999
Reply to  Steve Case
October 18, 2021 10:53 pm

Medium sized bipeds are doing very well, as are their four legged companions.

October 17, 2021 8:35 pm

Polar bears, being Polar bears.

Polar bears down at the beach.

Healthy populations.

Seemingly the Arctic is doing OK.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  James F. Evans
October 18, 2021 3:30 am

But it begs the question ‘do polar bears crap in the woods?’

Disputin
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
October 18, 2021 3:46 am

First, it “poses” the question, not “begs” it.

Second, (and more importantly), the answer is, No, because the bears are so far from the nearest woods that they would suffer terminal constipation.

Ozwitch
October 17, 2021 10:50 pm

First read actually made me think the polar bears were going to the UN meeting. Then I thought, well, why not?

Disputin
Reply to  Ozwitch
October 18, 2021 3:49 am

What a lovely thought. Just imagine a polar bear wandering in to a UN meeting. Imagine the screams!

fretslider
October 18, 2021 3:51 am

“No signs of a climate emergency for W. Hudson Bay polar bears this year ahead of UN climate meeting”

Switch to plan B

“During his travels across Europe, Wally [the Walrus] sunk several boats in Ireland and the Isles of Scilly and was reportedly hit by one in western France. But since arriving in Iceland, the 800kg marine mammal appears to have had a largely peaceful time, sleeping and going out feeding.

[Melanie Croce, the executive director of Seal Rescue Ireland] warned climate change was likely to result in many more Arctic creatures appearing in unexpected parts of Europe as their habitat disappears, citing another walrus sighting in the Netherlands and the displacement of bearded seals, ringed seals and hooded seals.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/01/hes-so-majestic-wally-the-walrus-hits-iceland-on-tour-of-europe

Not leaping off a cliff this time, but lonesomely wandering….

Tom Abbott
Reply to  fretslider
October 18, 2021 5:03 am

“warned climate change was likely to result in many more Arctic creatures appearing in unexpected parts of Europe as their habitat disappears,”

Except their habitat is not disappearing. Another person (Melanie) assuming too much, based on nothing but fearmongering from alarmists.

Richard Page
Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 18, 2021 5:20 am

Actually, with the increase in Arctic sea ice and temperatures getting cooler, this may be a sign of their habitat range increasing a little further south, not decreasing. There has to be a ‘sweet spot’ with temperatures where fat walruses and polar bears are comfortable – not too warm but not too cold (too cold and their fat burns too quickly and doesn’t last until next feeding time) and this sweet spot is likely to be moving south as temperatures fall.

SxyxS
Reply to  fretslider
October 18, 2021 6:15 am

Strange logic, but Melanie is obviously using the infamous female one.

1)Polar Bears said to go instinct because lack of ice (official BS AGW Theory)
2) If lack of ice and warmer climate kills polar animals,those animals would always move further north towards cooler regions – the radius they live in would shrink
3) If such animals still move further south the reason should be?
Increased population that requires more territory to feed those animals.

So : either there is a population increase or as mr page said, as result of cooling there is an increase in habitat (or both)

Richard Page
Reply to  SxyxS
October 18, 2021 11:33 am

I’m with you – my money’s on both. If it was just population pressure then Churchill would have been inundated with problem bears this year.

PCman999
Reply to  fretslider
October 18, 2021 8:11 pm

What if the slightly milder Arctic climate has lead to a population explosion?

bob boder
October 18, 2021 4:26 am

Antarctic sea ice has been relatively stable for the last 30 years and arctic sea ice is going through a relatively normal cyclical change and has more than likely reached its bottom and has started its slow climb back to higher levels (not “normal” levels) and winter temperatures in the arctic are relatively stable as well. Since it is at the poles that global warming is supposed to have its greats impact when will it dawn on everyone that there is no emergency, there is no disaster coming?

R Terrell
Reply to  bob boder
October 18, 2021 10:41 am

Since they systemically REFUSE to consider the facts, they will never see the light! A hundred years from now they will STILL be yammering about the ‘warming’ and ‘loss’ of Polar ice! Even in the face of FACTS that show it isn’t happening!

2hotel9
October 18, 2021 5:05 am

What is their justification for not releasing the count data?

Richard Page
Reply to  2hotel9
October 18, 2021 5:25 am

The longer they wait, the greater the chance that the bears populations will start to fall. By now you’d have thought they’d realise that the gravy train is juddering to a halt – fat, healthy bears, twins and even a few triplets living to adulthood are signs of a well-fed, healthy and growing population.

2hotel9
Reply to  Richard Page
October 18, 2021 6:00 am

I mean their actual justification for withholding this information. When the people paying them ask for the data and they refuse what are they claiming as the reason they are not releasing the data? If they are paid by government they are required to produce their results when ordered to, even in Canada. If they are privately funded then when their boss says give me the data they have to have a reason for refusing or be fired. So what justification are they giving for not releasing the data? From what I can find they are simply not releasing it for their own personal reasons, no legitimate justification at all.

Richard Page
Reply to  2hotel9
October 18, 2021 11:46 am

Oh, I get you. I think they are mostly publicly funded. Some research groups have specific govt funding for specific studies as well as private ones but the 2 main permanent research teams are either funded by American govt or by a UN source, I forget which. They will use many excuses to withold data – incomplete data (due to poor weather or dispersed bears), poor sample groups (too dispersed again), equipment failure or other well rehearsed ploys. They really don’t care much – their funding is secure as long as the bears are considered endangered and any delays to the data is ignored.

Andre Lauzon
October 18, 2021 7:28 am

Polar bears will survive as they have more brains than the lot of the people meeting in Glasgow. They learn as they go along…………….

Bill Rocks
October 18, 2021 8:21 am

Thank you for this report about the WH polar bears. Good news, again. Go bears!

Walter Sobchak
October 18, 2021 1:48 pm

Bears hunting whales? That can’t be. Everyone knows that bears drown if they fall off the ice floe they are riding on.

Mike Maguire
October 18, 2021 8:09 pm

Thanks Dr. Susan for keeping us informed about the truth/science with your regular objective reporting!
Polar bear researchers try very hard to make good news in Kane Basin sound trivial
https://polarbearscience.com/2020/09/24/polar-bear-researchers-try-very-hard-to-make-good-news-in-kane-basin-sound-trivial/

PCman999
October 18, 2021 10:50 pm

It’s a shame Dr. Crockford has to rely on other scientists surveys for information, whenever they deign to publish something. It’s only the alarmists’ friends and those who will give them lip service that seems to get the grant money.

Gerald Machnee
October 19, 2021 6:03 am

Has anyone blamed the fat bears on warming yet???

Tom Schaefer
October 19, 2021 6:42 am

I think the bears in the first picture may be fishing for tasty seafood, clawing up crustaceans and clams under rocks and the shallow sand/pebbles. That’s what I would be doing. Sometimes I’m jealous.

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