Ice formation in W Hudson Bay slower than 2015 but not likely as slow as 1983

polarbearscience

After a great startthis year for Churchill-area polar bears of Western Hudson Bay – who came off the ice in better than usual condition after what must have been a good spring hunting season – ice maps suggest that freeze-up will be later than last year, an impression confirmed by on-the-ground observers.

Ice coverage this year at 7 November (2016):

sea-ice-extent-canada-2016-nov-7_cis

Ice coverage last year at this date (7 November 2015), see this post for details:

canadian-arctic-nov-7-2015_cis

Compare to ice coverage in 2012, several days later in the season (12 November):

sea-ice-extent-canada-cis_nov-12-2012

So, this might be a relatively late freeze-up for bears in Churchill and points south, but keep in mind that the latest freeze-up for Churchill bears since 1971 came in 2004, with 1983 not far behind. However, 1983 was considered by many the “worst year ever” for problem bears and bears in very poor condition around Churchill and it…

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