by Polar Bear Science, May 15 , 2021
Back in 2017, we famously had National Geographic falsely blaming a starving polar bear on climate change but since then we have been inundated (relatively speaking) with stories of ‘wandering’ bears sighted far from Arctic coastlines. These wandering bears are oddities to be sure but are not in any way an indicator of melting Arctic sea ice or lost habitat, as The Times (UK) has claimed in this latest example (Polar bear treks 1,500 miles south as Arctic hunting zone melts away).
by S. J. Crocfkord, Report 2020 in GWPF
Report 40, The Global Warming Policy Foundation
Preface v Executive summary vi
© Copyright 2020, The Global Warming Policy Foundation
- Introduction 1
- Conservation status 1
- Population size 2
- Population trends 10
- Habitat status 11
- Prey base 15
- Health and survival 17
- Evidence of flexibility 22
- Human/bear interactions 23
- Discussion 28
Bibliography 30 About the Global Warming Policy Foundation
by C. Rotter Feb 27, 2021 in WUWT
The ‘State of the Polar Bear Report 2020’ is now available. Forget hand-wringing about what might happen fifty years from now – celebrate the fabulous news that polar bears had yet another good year.
Press release from the Global Warming Policy Forum
Crockford, S.J. 2021. The State of the Polar Bear Report 2020. Global Warming Policy Foundation Report 48, London.
London, 27 February: A prominent Canadian zoologist says that Facebook’s information is gravely out of date and 2020 was another good year for polar bears.
In the State of the Polar Bear Report 2020, published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) on International Polar Bear Day, zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford explains that while the climate change narrative insists that polar bear populations are declining due to reduced sea ice, the scientific literature doesn’t support such a conclusion.
Crockford clarifies that the IUCN’s 2015 Red List assessment for polar bears, which Facebook uses as an authority for ‘fact checking’, is seriously out of date. New and compelling evidence shows bears that in regions with profound summer ice loss are doing well.
Included in that evidence are survey results for 8 of the 19 polar bear subpopulations, only two of which showed insignificant declines after very modest ice loss. The rest were either stable or increasing, and some despite major reductions in sea ice. As a result, the global population size is now almost 30,000 – up from about 26,000 in 2015.
Dr. Crockford points out that in 2020, even though summer sea ice declined to the second lowest levels since 1979, there were no reports of widespread starvation of bears, acts of cannibalism, or drowning deaths that might suggest bears were having trouble surviving the ice-free season.
by Polar Bear Science, Feb 10, 2021
Sea ice across the Arctic in the first week of February is a mix of highs and lows. Bering Sea is back up to almost normal coverage, as is the Barents Sea. However, ice coverage on the East Coast of Canada is the lowest its been in four decades. This is not yet a worry for polar bears because harp seals don’t pup until mid-March in this region so there is at least four weeks of potential ice growth that can happen before the seals are forced to pup on much reduced ice – where polar bears are sure to find them.
by Polar Bear Science, Jan 8, 2021 in WUWT
As well as summarizing sea ice changes, NOAA’s 2020 Arctic Report Card features two reports that document the biggest advantage of much less summer sea ice than there was before 2003: increased primary productivity. Being at the top of the Arctic food chain, polar bears have been beneficiaries of this phenomenon because the Arctic marine mammals they depend on for food – seals, walrus and bowhead whales – have been thriving despite less ice in summer.
In the sea ice chapter (Perovich et al. 2020), my favourite of all the figures published is the graph of September vs. March sea ice (above). As you can see, March ice extent has been virtually flat (no declining trend) since 2004. And as the graph below shows, September extent has been without a trend since 2007, as NSIDC ice expert Walt Meier demonstrated last year (see below): it doesn’t take much imagination to see that the value for 2020 from the graph above (the second-lowest after 2012) hasn’t changed the flat-trend line.
by Polar Bear Science, Dec 20, 2020
In the news again: Cape Schmidt (on the Chukchi Sea) made famous by Sir David Attenborough’s false claim that walrus fell to their deaths because of lack of sea ice due to climate change when a clever polar bear hunting strategy was actually to blame.
Last year in December (above), some bears were feeding at Ryrkaypiy’s garbage dump and wandering around town after being displaced from feeding on walrus carcasses by bigger, stronger bears on the nearby point.
This year, the town has managed to keep the bears out of town, so while the residents are having no real problems, more than 30 bears have been spotted near town, almost certainly feeding on natural-death carcasses of walrus along the shore (see photo below from 2017 where Ryrkaypiy can be seen in the background).
by Siberian Times, Oct 21, 2020 in WUWT/Ch.Rotter
From the Siberian Times today (20 October) is a story with few facts but a fabulous video of six fat adults and four fat cubs as they set siege to a stalled open garbage truck in the Russian Arctic. It may have been filmed on Novaya Zemlya but that has not been confirmed.
Of course, Novaya Zemlya has had previous problems with bears habituated to garbage, most famously an extended incident in 2019 that was perversely blamed on climate change.
There were two families that I could see in the video: a female with two cubs-of-the-year and another with two year old cubs. All were in excellent condition, as were the other four adults. Novaya Zemlya, if indeed this is where the incident took place, is between the Barents and Kara Seas (see below):
by D. Middelton, Oct 11, 2020 in WUWT
Estimates have ranged from 70,000 to 5,000,000 years ago. The oldest confirmed polar bear fossil dates to 110,000 to 130,000 years ago… Meaning that polar bears survived the Eemian interglacial stage.
The peak warmth of the Eemian interglacial stage marks the boundary between the Late Pleistocene Tarantian Age and the Middle Pleistocene Ionian Age.
by Polar Bear Science, September 6, 2020
This essay about medical researchers having trouble getting their papers published because the results don’t support the official pandemic narrative has disturbing parallels with my experience trying to inject some balance into the official polar bear conservation narrative.1 Especially poignant is the mention of models built on assumptions sold as ‘facts’ that fail once data (i.e. evidence) become available – which of course is the entire point of my latest book, The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened.
Read the commentary below, copied from Lockdownsceptics.org (6 September 2020). Bold in original, link added to the story to which this is a response, and brief notes and links added as footnotes for parallels with polar bear conservation science.
by P. Homewood, July 22, 2020 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat
Apparently, a prediction that polar bears could be nearly extinct by 2100 (which was first suggested back in 2007) is news today because there is a new model. As for all previous models, this prediction of future polar bear devastation depends on using the so-called ‘business as usual’ RCP8.5 climate scenario, which has been roundly criticized in recent years as totally implausible, which even the BBC has mentioned. This new model, published today as a pay-walled paper in Nature Climate Change, also did something I warned against in my last post: it uses polar bear data collected up to 2009 only from Western Hudson Bay – which is an outlier in many respects – to predict the response of bears worldwide. The lead author, Peter Molnar, is a former student of vocal polar bear catastrophist Andrew Derocher – who himself learned his trade from the king of polar bear calamity forecasts, Ian Stirling. Steven Amstrup, another co-author of this paper, provided the ‘expert opinion’ for the failed USGS polar bear extinction model featured in my book, The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened.
Well, these authors and their supporters got the headlines they crave, including coverage by outlets like the BBC and New York Times (see below) but I have to say that the combination of using out-of-date Western Hudson Bay information on when polar bears come ashore in summer and leave for the ice in fall (only to 2009) to make vague projections (‘possible’, ‘likely’, ‘very likely’) about all other subpopulations in addition to depending on the most extreme and now discredited RCP8.5 climate scenario (Hausfather and Peters 2020) for this newest polar bear survival model is all that’s needed to dismiss it as exaggerated-fear-mongering-by-proxy. Why would anyone believe that the output of this new model describes a plausible future for polar bears?
Meanwhile, polar bear populations worldwide continue to thrive despite declines in sea ice. And as I have pointed out on numerous occasions, the ice free period for WH has not continued to decline since 1998 but rather has remained stable (with yearly variation) at about 3 weeks longer than it was in the 1980s (Castro de la Guardia et al 2017). Moreover, for the last five years at least, including this one, the ice-free season for WH bears has been better (only 1-2 weeks longer than the 1980s), although no official data on this phenomenon has yet been published. Oddly, this more recent data for Hudson Bay was not used for the Molnar model.
Susan’s full account is here.
by S. Crockford, July 8, 2020 in WUWT
This updated blog post of mine from last year is as pertinent now as it was then: it’s a fully-referenced rebuttal to the misleading ‘facts’ so often presented this time of year to support the notion that polar bears are being harmed due to lack of summer sea ice. Polar Bears International developed ‘Arctic Sea Ice Day’ (15 July) to promote their skewed interpretation of polar bear science at the height of the Arctic melt season. This year I’ve add a ‘Polar Bears and the Arctic Food Chain‘ graphic, which readers are free to download and share. For further information, see “The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened“.
by S. Crockford, February 24, 2020 in WUWT
Google says many people ask this question so here is the correct answer: polar bears are not going extinct. If you have been told that, you have misunderstood or have been misinformed. Polar bears are well-distributed across their available habitat and population numbers are high (officially 22,000-31,000 at 2015 but likely closer to 26,000-58,000 at 2018): these are features of a healthy, thriving species. ‘Why are polar bears going extinct?’ contains a false premise – there is no need to ask ‘why’ when the ‘polar bears [are] going extinct’ part is not true.1
It is true that in 2007, it was predicted that polar bear numbers would plummet when summer sea ice declined to 42% of 1979 levels for 8 out of 10 years (anticipated to occur by 2050) and extinct or nearly so by 2100 (Amstrup et al. 2007). However, summer sea ice has been at ‘mid-century-like’ levels since 2007 (with year to year variation, see NOAA ice chart below) yet polar bear numbers have increased since 2005. The anticipated disaster did not occur but many people still believe it did because the media and some researchers still give that impression.
by S. Crockford, February 14, 2020 in PolarbearScience
Arctic sea ice at the middle of winter (January-March) is a measure of what’s to come because winter ice is the set-up for early spring, the time when polar bears do most of their feeding on young seals.
[Mid-winter photos of polar bears are hard to come by, partly because the Arctic is still dark for most hours of the day, it’s still bitterly cold, and scientists don’t venture out to do work on polar bears until the end of March at the earliest]
At 12 February this year, the ice was similar in overall extent to 2013 but higher than 2006.
by Polar Bear Science, January 12, 2020 in WUWT
This aerial shot of six fat polar bears lolling around on a sand beach on the coast of the Southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska, was taken by NOAA employees in July 2019. It exemplifies the reality that bears in this subpopulation are currently abundant and healthy, negating the suggestion that numbers have continued to drop since 2006 because bears are starving.
The above picture of polar bear health is not an exception but the rule for all 31 bears recorded onshore last July, as the photos below from other locations testify. Those who would blame this abundance of bears on lack of sea ice in 2019 should note that ice retreated as early and as extensively in 2017 yet only 3 bears were spotted onshore. Results of a recent (2017-2018) population survey, which have not yet been made public, will of course not reflect conditions seen in 2019.
by Cap Allon, November 19, 2019 in Electroverse
2019 is now the third year in a row in which the refreezing of Western Hudson Bay (WH) ice has come earlier than the 1980s average date of November 16, as reported by polarbearscience.com.
Livecams over at explore.org have confirmed a key indicator that the ice is back — the polar bears of WH have begun their winter trek back onto the bay.
The redeveloping sea ice may be good news for the bears, but it’s bad for tourists — after a short five months with the Sailors of the Floe on land, their departure now means the ‘polar bear viewing season’ in Churchill, Manitoba, is ending early, just as it did last year, and the year before. In fact, on the back of what have been five good sea ice seasons in succession for WH polar bears, this year’s repeat of an early freeze-up means a sixth good ice season is now likely for 2019-2020 — less kerching for the region.
by Uutiset, October 8, 2019 in ClimateChangeDispatch
Environmental NGO WWF Finland has apologized for using a retouched photo of a polar bear and cub standing on a tiny ice floe, apparently adrift in an ocean.
However, the organization’s communications head, Anne Brax, also defended the use of the image as an advertising tool commonly used as shorthand for climate change and its impact on arctic regions, rather than as a news item.
The photo was used as part of an anti-climate change fundraising campaign aimed at students participating in Finland’s annual “taksvärkki” or “day’s work” program, where middle schoolers work for a day to collect money for worthy causes.
The image used in the campaign was originally shot by nature photographer Steven Kazlowski and depicts a polar bear and a cub. In the original photo, however, the polar bears are set against an icy landscape with no ocean in sight.
Alongside the manipulated image used in the WWF Finland campaign is the text “sulaa hulluutta kun ilmasto lämpenee”, which roughly translated means “pure madness as the climate warms”, with a play on the word “sulaa”, which also means “to melt” in Finnish.
WWF Finland: “We Made A Mistake”
by Charles the moderator, Sep. 23, 2019 in WUWT
We are told the Arctic is warming twice as fast as anywhere else in the world, yet as the internet reverberates with shrill, almost-the-lowest-ice-extent-ever stories, polar bears, Pacific walrus, and the most common ice seal species (ringed and bearded seals, as well as harp seals), are all thriving. Two new videos published by the GWPF on polar bears and walrus confront this conundrum and the conclusion is clear: if there is no climate emergency for polar bears, there is no climate emergency anywhere.
Polar bears have survived several periods of less ice than there is now as well as periods with more ice. Most ice seal species and walrus, which have existed in the Arctic much longer than polar bears, have lived through many of these extreme sea ice cycles. The low ice extent this year – whether it ends up being second-lowest or third-lowest since 1979 – is merely a blip compared to what these species have experienced during the Pleistocene.
This new video explains that polar bears are important ecosystem indicators that are taking reduced summer sea ice in their stride. My new book, The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened, explains why this has caught polar bear specialists off guard.
by S. Crockford, July 15, 2019, in WUWT/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.
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 additional references are provided.
The cartoon above was done by Josh: you can drop off the price of a beer (or more) for his efforts here.
by Susan J. Crockford, July 11, 2019 in ClimateChangeDispatch
This essay explains in simple terms why so many people still believe that polar bears are in peril when nothing could be further from the truth; it is an essential lesson that shatters the basis of the shameful indoctrination of young school children and undermines the baseless claims of activist protestors.
It was written and translated into French for a special climate change feature issue (July) of the monthly French magazine Valeurs Actuelles (reviewed here) and reprinted by the French hunting magazine Chasses Internationales.
It has also been translated into German for a dedicated climate change issue (11 July) of the Swiss weekly magazine Die Weltwoche.
I have added a couple of figures to illustrate this English version of the essay.
by Polar Bear Science, June 16, 2019
Here we are at the middle of June, when most polar bears are pretty much done with hunting seals for the season. And despite hand-wringing from some quarters, sea ice extent is down only marginally from average at this time of year and certainly not enough to impact polar bear survival.
Given the large expanse of open water in the Southern Beaufort so early in the season, one resident pessimist insists those polar bears are “challenged” by the lack of ice. If he is right, there should be reports of dozens upon dozens of skinny and dying bears along the coast of Alaska this summer. If not, he will pretend he never suggested any such thing.
So far, despite the early loss of ice in some regions, there have been no reports of polar bears ashore unusually early. Hudson Bay still has lots of thick first year ice, so despite the overall reduced Arctic ice coverage, none of the three Hudson Bay polar bear populations are facing the earlier-than-usual sea ice breakup this year as we keep being promised will show up. In fact, there hasn’t been a significantly early breakup in Western Hudson Bay since 2010 (see previous posts here and here).
by Jim Steele, April 19, 2019 in WUWT
In 2010 Nunavut’s Minister of Environment Daniel Shewchuk wrote, “Inuit hunters have a close relationship with the land and wildlife. They have observed that the overall population of polar bears in Nunavut is not declining as some suggest, but rather is thriving. No known environmental or other factors are currently posing a significant or immediate threat to polar bears overall. Furthermore, Inuit knowledge and science corroborate that the species can and will adapt to changing and severe climatic conditions, as it has done for centuries.”
The Inuit truly practice the concept of “it takes a village”. Hunters sit down in kappiananngittuq and respectfully share their observations of wildlife and their movements. Kappiananngittuq is the Inuit word for a “safe place to discuss”. Based on community discussions, Inuit have steadfastly claimed it is “The Time of the Most Polar Bears”. Overhunting has been one of the world’s greatest threats to wildlife. And the growing number of polar bears is testimony to wise hunting regulations now honored by the Inuit.
by Anthony Watts, March 19, 2019 in WUWT
Researcher says attempts to silence her have failed
Polar bear numbers could easily exceed 40,000, up from a low point of 10,000 or fewer in the 1960s.
In The Polar Bear Catastrophe that Never Happened, a book published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Dr Susan Crockford uses the latest data as well as revisiting some of the absurd values used in official estimates, and concludes that polar bears are actually thriving:
by Polar Bear Science, March 12, 2019
Abundant ice in Svalbard, East Greenland and the Labrador Sea is excellent news for the spring feeding season ahead because this is when bears truly need the presence of ice for hunting and mating. As far as I can tell, sea ice has not reached Bear Island, Norway at this time of year since 2010 but this year ice moved down to the island on 3 March and has been there ever since. This may mean we’ll be getting reports of polar bear sightings from the meteorological station there, so stay tuned.
by Susan Crockford, February 2019, in GWPF
Inuit paying the price of rising bear populations
The 2018 State of the Polar Bear report, published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, confirms that polar bears are continuing to thrive, despite recent reductions in sea ice levels. This finding contradicts claims by environmentalists and some scientists that falls in sea ice would wipe out bear populations.
The report’s author, zoologist Dr Susan Crockford, says that there is now very little evidence to support the idea that the polar bear is threatened with extinction by climate change.
From 1972 until 2010,1 the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published comprehensive status reports every four years or so, as proceedings of their official meetings, making them available in electronic format. Until 2018 – a full eight years after its last report – the PBSG had disseminated information only on its website, updated (without announcement) at its discretion. In April 2018, the PBSG finally produced a standalone proceedings document from its 2016 meeting, although most people would have been unaware that this document existed unless they visited the PBSG website.
This State of the Polar Bear Report is intended to provide a yearly update of the kind of content available in those occasional PBSG meeting reports, albeit with more critical com- mentary regarding some of the inconsistencies and sources of bias present in the corpus of reports and papers. It is a summary of the state of polar bears in the Arctic since 2014, rela- tive to historical records, based on a review of the recent and historical scientific literature. It is intended for a wide audience, including scientists, teachers, students, decision-makers and the general public interested in polar bears and Arctic ecology.
by Susan Crockford, January 2, 2019 in PolarBearScience
There is now enough sea ice off southern Labrador and the northern tip of Newfoundland for Davis Strait polar bears to come ashore looking for food. Baby seals won’t be available for months yet. And since winter is the lean season for these bears, some may seek food sources onshore. The bears come down from the area of Hudson Strait and southern Baffin Island: as the sea ice expands south, so do the bears.