10 fallacies about Arctic sea ice & polar bear survival: teachers & parents take note

polarbearscience

Summer sea ice loss is finally ramping up: first year is disappearing, as it has done every year since ice came to the Arctic millions of years ago. But critical misconceptions, fallacies, and disinformation abound regarding Arctic sea ice and polar bear survival. Ahead of Arctic Sea Ice Day (15 July), here are 10 fallacies that teachers and parents especially need to know about.

Polar_Bear_Summer_2 FINAL (2)

The cartoon above was done by Josh: you can drop off the price of a beer (or more) for his efforts here.

As always, please contact me if you would like to examine any of the references included in this post. These references are what make my efforts different from the activist organization Polar Bears International. PBI virtually never provide references within the content it provides, including material it presents as ‘educational’. Links to previous posts of mine that provide expanded explanations, images, and…

View original post 3,839 more words

Mid June Arctic Ice Lopsided

Science Matters

In the first half of June 2019, the shift from ice to water is unusually lop-sided in two respects. The image above, supported by the table later on shows that in the last two weeks water has opened up faster on the Pacific side, and much slower on the Atlantic side, with the exception of Baffin Bay. The other surprise is that MASIE shows much less ice than does SII, a reversal of the typical situation.

The graph below shows the surprising discrepancy between MASIE and SII appearing in May and continuing in June.

Note that the NH ice extent 12 year average declined from 12.7M km2 to 10.9M km2 during in the last 30 days. MASIE 2019 shows about the same decline from 11.9M km2 to 10.3M km2. That track matched 2016 in May, but is now closest to 2010 and below other years. Interestingly SII showed a much…

View original post 222 more words

Polar bear habitat update: open water primarily due to winds pushing pack ice

polarbearscience

Here is a look at what polar bear habitat looks like this year at the end of May compared to previous years. It helps put any predictions of impending doom into perspective.

Polar_bear Bering Sea 2007 USFWS lg

This is the time year when declining sea ice gets some people all worked up. However, declining ice is normal at this time of year and there is always variation in where the most open water appears first. At this time of year, there isn’t much ice ‘melt’ going on. Rather, what we are seeing is the opening up of shore leads and polynyas by winds.

Sea ice in Canada at 31 May

This year, as usual, open water increases with the expansion of persistent polynyas due to winds and currents. These areas increase the extent of ice edges and provide polar bears with more hunting habitat (because seals congregate near open water). This year, there is…

View original post 148 more words

Arctic Sea Ice Volume 20190526

DMI has stopped producing their Ice Volume Charts. 

[Edit:  DMI has embedded their Ice Volume charts in the Thickness Chart, here:

https://i1.wp.com/ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icethickness/images/FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20190526.pngHere’s the link to the DMI charts (click here):

So here’s the PIOMAS product.

BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomaly20190526

A linear trend fit onto a naturally cyclical physical system is ridiculous.

So, here’s a crude hand-drawn curve to their product.  Different perspective.

BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomaly20190526 with sine curve

Be wary of linear trend lines.

 

Polar bear habitat update for early spring shows no influence of a CO2 control knob

polarbearscience

The primary feeding period for polar bears is rapidly drawing to a close in much of the Arctic, although it may continue for another few weeks in the farthest north. Mating is pretty much over as well, which means the polar bears’ need for abundant sea ice is declining even more rapidly than the ice does itself at this time of year.

Walking bear shutterstock_329214941_web size

Despite the fact that CO2 levels have now reached 415 ppm (see tweet below), sea ice is still pretty much as it was in 2006 when CO2 was about 385 ppm. In other words, the state of sea ice at this time of year – just over 12 million kilometres squared in 2006 and in 2019 – shows no correlation with rising CO2 levels. There is also not a hint of imminent catastrophe for polar bears anywhere within their range, despite the hand-wringing messages from conservation fear-mongers

View original post 863 more words

Stop lying to children about dying polar bears as a way to achieve action on climate change

polarbearscience

The heartbreaking story of dying polar bears, told for more than a decade now, was meant to get kids on board the global warming action train. It worked a treat – except that it was never true. The lie gave sensitive children nightmares and turned others into political activists full of groundless outrage who now pointlessly rant in the streets.

BBC video screencap with Thunberg video quoting starving pb images_23 April 2019

As the established icon of climate change and Arctic habitats, polar bears have been given centre stage in the climate change narrative presented to young children and their teachers. But the distressing tale of polar bears on the brink of extinction – dying for our fossil fuel sins – was never true, as I show in point form below. Polar bear lies form the foundation of the baseless political activism of Greta Thunberg that other youngsters have since emulated.

Here are some of the false ‘facts’ children…

View original post 2,853 more words

Polar Bears: Which Narrative to Believe?

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

clip_image002

Originally published May 1, 2019 in the Pacifica Tribune column What’s Natural by Jim Steele, republished here by request of the author.

When polar bear expert Mitch Taylor modeled populations in the Baffin Bay region (west of Greenland) in the 1980s, he estimated between 300 and 600 bears. Inuit hunters protested his estimates were far too low, and Baffin Bay’s hunting quotas far too small. So, Taylor and Inuit hunters sat together in “kappiananngittuq” to discuss their disagreements. The Inuit pointed out he surveyed during a time and in a place that overlooked a large portion of the population. Naturally, models driven by poor data always fail to model reality.

To Taylor’s credit, he redesigned his surveys based on hunters’ recommendations. The new survey tripled population estimates to over 2000 bears. Although a trend in the bear population could not be determined, it has been universally agreed that since the 1974 International Agreement for the Conservation of Polar Bears, polar bear populations were increasing due to better hunting regulations.

Of the 5 polar bear populations deemed to be declining by Canadian researchers, three declines were due to over hunting. Only two declines, such as western Hudson Bay, were possibly driven by global warming. Models suggested bears of western Hudson Bay were declining because warming was reducing sea ice. In 2013, extremist researchers like Andrew Derocher proclaimed, “All indications are that this population could collapse in the space of a year or two if conditions got bad enough,” and the media echoed ‘bears were on the verge of collapse’. Instead, that bear population has now increased. It is interesting to note the Hudson Bay is totally ice free every summer. So, does less summer sea ice truly hurt polar bears?

The claim that less sea ice will cause polar bears to go extinct is just one narrative, not tested science. From a historical perspective, Derocher’s claim that two-thirds of all polar bears could go extinct by 2030 is laughable. Numerous researchers have reported Arctic temperatures averaged about 3 degrees higher than today between 10,000 and 6,000 years ago and sea ice extent was far less for thousands of years. Clearly, polar bears did not go extinct, and history does not support Derocher’s narrative.

Most importantly, Arctic studies show less sea ice promotes more photosynthesis. After sea ice had recently decreased by 9%, Stanford scientists determined productivity increased by 30%. More photosynthesis provides more food for fish. More fish feed more seals and fatter seals feed more polar bears.

Conversely, there is solid evidence that thick ice is detrimental to seals and bears. Despite plenty of sea ice to hunt from, each winter all polar bears lose weight. Polar bears’ main prey is ringed seals, but bears have a very low success rate when hunting seals at their breathing holes. Polar bears feed most successfully from March to May when ringed seals birth their pups on the ice. Feasting on seal pups, bears can quickly quadruple their weight. After giving birth and molting, ringed seals leave the ice and migrate to the open ocean to feed and become quite inaccessible to bears for the summer. Recent reductions in sea ice from July to September are irrelevant for bears’ summer hunting success. But open waters do benefit seals and fish.

To remain in the Arctic all winter ringed seals must create several breathing holes. When new thin ice first forms, they bust out several breathing holes using their heads. As winter proceeds they gnaw and claw to keep their holes open. Wherever sea ice survives for several years it becomes too thick to create breathing holes. So, across the Arctic, regions of thick ice contain the fewest seals and fewest bears. In contrast, in the Hudson Bay where new ice must form each year seals and bears are abundant!

Researchers report cycles of thick spring-time ice stress ringed seals. Natural cycles change wind directions, trapping ice against various coasts. As layers of ice raft over each other, the new ice thickens. Thicker ice delays seals from reaching open water for summer feeding, resulting in weight loss. Low weights cause seals to forego breeding the next year thus reducing the bears’ food supply.

Because local ice conditions frequently change, polar bears do not defend territories. Instead bears are flexible and move great distances seeking out regions with more seals. One radio-collared bear was tracked moving from Alaska to Greenland during a summer.

When winds shift, thick sea ice can be blown out into the relatively warm Atlantic. This allows new ice to form which then can support more seals and more bears. Based on this basic biology, the Inuits’ narrative, “It is the time of the most polar bears” is best supported by scientific evidence.


Jim Steele is the retired director of San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus and authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism.

Contact: naturalclimatechange@earthlink.net