Site: Polar Bear Science

Slant: Sceptic

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Recent Articles

Polar Bear Science: Problem polar bears of Churchill: first report of the season similar to 2016

The first activity report of the Churchill Polar Bear Alert Program has been released for 2017. It comes on the same week as last year’s (so about the same dates for first bears ashore both years), and reports pretty much …

2017-07-20 05:10   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Western Hudson Bay polar bears reportedly still on ice as of 17 July 2017

Today, polar bear biologist Andrew Derocher posted a progress report via twitter on the annual journey ashore of the Western Hudson Bay bears tagged by his University of Alberta research team that shows virtually all of the bears are still …

2017-07-18 08:47   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Abrupt summer sea ice decline has not affected polar bear numbers as predicted

Yes, Arctic sea ice has declined since satellite records began in 1979 but polar bears have adjusted well to this change, especially to the abrupt decline to low summer sea ice levels that have been the norm since 2007. Some …

2017-07-14 08:18   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Polar bear attacks are extremely rare says new study — but the data are incomplete

I did considerable research on polar bear attacks for my thriller of a novel EATEN — which many readers are finding a welcome change from the numbers-and-statistics approach of science — and I have to say that a recently published scientific summary …

2017-07-12 20:10   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Polar bears of W Hudson Bay utilizing a substantial patch of thick first year ice

There’s been no word as yet, either from tour operators or polar bear researchers, that Western Hudson Bay polar bears have come ashore for the summer/fall season. Andrew Derocher reported at the end of June that the bears tagged by …

2017-07-10 16:55   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Svalbard polar bear habitat higher than average – here’s what that looks like

Polar bear habitat around Svalbard in the Barents Sea is currently slightly above average for 23 June 2017: this short post records what that amount of ice looks like according to the Norwegian Ice Service (NIS). Compare to 2015 at …

2017-06-24 17:45   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: W Hudson Bay polar bears won’t have an early breakup year, according to sea ice charts

There is still a huge swath of highly concentrated thick first year ice (>1.2m) over most of Hudson Bay this week (19 June 2017) and even in the NW quadrant (the closest proxy we have for Western Hudson Bay), the …

2017-06-22 23:53   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Heavy ice off East Coast 2017 caused by winds, cold temperatures, and icebergs

Heavy sea ice off Newfoundland and southern Labrador has been an issue for months: it brought record-breaking numbers of polar bear visitors onshore in early March and April and since then has hampered the efforts of fisherman to get out …

2017-06-13 07:44   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Stock up on polar bear gift books and summer reading about the Arctic

Here are some suggestions, by myself and others. See the sidebar for my offerings, not forgetting “Polar Bears Have Big Feet” for the toddlers in your life, so they don’t feel left out when older kids get polar bear books …

2017-06-13 06:02   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: USGS ‘treadmill’ paper repeats bogus claim that ice loss harmed polar bears

The newest polar bear science paper making the rounds courtesy the US Geological Survey, is a perfect example of a statistically-significant result with no biological significance. While the results are rather lame, the paper is dangerous because it repeats the …

2017-06-12 00:53   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Breakup of sea ice on track in Canada as critical feeding period for polar bears ends

Relative to recent years and potential impacts on polar bear health and survival in Canada, there is nothing alarming in the pattern or speed of sea ice breakup for 2017, either over Hudson Bay, the southern Beaufort, or the eastern …

2017-06-08 17:44   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Dead polar bear washed ashore in NE Newfoundland, cause of death unknown

A dead polar bear was found on the shore of northeastern Newfoundland yesterday but the cause of death has not yet been determined. From the local Telegram (5 June 2017): “[Ann] Peddle of Bristol’s Hope was out for her morning …

2017-06-06 17:41   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Polar bear counts for W Hudson Bay: ‘core’ area numbers are not comparable

Polar bear population estimates for Western Hudson Bay have recently become contentious because one specialist has been making statements that confuse the issue. As we all wait for the release of the report on the WHB aerial survey of 2016, …

2017-05-29 09:01   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Much more sea ice in NW Hudson Bay this year than 2016 or 2015 at 27 May

In recent years, sea ice loss over Hudson Bay has begun with open water in the NW corner (which is just as likely due to prevailing offshore winds as ice melt) rather than along the east coast but this year …

2017-05-28 16:29   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Just when I wasn’t paying attention: 1 million views surpassed

I knew it was coming up and then forgot to check, but sometime about 2 weeks ago blog views here at PolarBearScience passed the one million mark — more than two months ahead of my 5th anniversary. Over 1 million …

2017-05-26 19:36   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Southern Beaufort sea ice melt in May: good news for polar bears or catastrophe?

Last week biologist Andrew Derocher recently implied via twitter that less sea ice in the eastern portion of the Southern Beaufort (SB) this year at mid-May is harmful to polar bears (calling it “a hole in the ice where polar …

2017-05-23 03:39   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Polar bear mating season winds down with lots of sea ice habitat available

Habitat for polar bears is abundant worldwide as the prime feeding season passes its peak and mating season for sexually mature bears winds down. There is much more ice than usual around Svalbard in the Barents Sea and off Newfoundland …

2017-05-14 20:02   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: IUCN PBSG insists the 2015 Barents Sea polar bear count was not an increase

Similar to the spin on the 2013 Baffin Bay/Kane Basin polar bear population survey, the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group now insists the latest count of the Barents Sea subpopulation is not evidence of an increase in numbers since 2004, …

2017-05-02 06:38   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: IUCN Specialist Group now rejects polar bear numbers it used for 2015 IUCN Red List review

Is there a mutiny in the works between the IUCN Red List and the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) over polar bear population estimates or has there simply been a breach of ethics? What else explains the fact that …

2017-05-02 06:12   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Experts’ vision of an ice-free summer is already wrong & benefitting polar bears

Polar bear populations in most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) must be booming, as they are elsewhere. That’s because the ‘experts’ were even more wrong in their predictions of future sea ice conditions than most people realize: they expected …

2017-04-26 17:46   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Sea ice off Newfoundland thickest ever yet another polar bear comes ashore

Amid reports that ice conditions between Newfoundland and southern Labrador are the worst in living memory, another polar bear was reported ashore in the area — just after biologist Andrew Derocher explained to the CBC that bears only come on …

2017-04-22 20:35   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Still lots of East Coast sea ice but prof tells CBC it doesn’t bode well for polar bears

Davis Strait polar bears around Newfoundland and Labrador are currently experiencing what one polar bear specialist refers to as “failed” sea ice conditions, causing bears to come ashore in droves. I’m not making this up. The ice was so thick …

2017-04-21 16:14   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: New genetics paper is not about whether climate change causes polar bear hybrids

A new paper on the evolutionary history of bears (Bears breed across species borders: Kumar et al. 2017) has concluded that hybridization is common and natural among all species of ursids. And while some media outlets (e.g. DailyMail) have framed …

2017-04-20 18:12   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Global polar bear population size is about 28,500 when updates are included

Polar bear numbers have risen since 2005, no matter how you look at it: USGS estimated 24,500 (average) polar bears in 2005. IUCN estimated 26,500 (average of 22,000-31,000) in 2015 (assessment completed in July, released in November). Subpopulation surveys completed …

2017-04-12 19:43   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Newfoundland conservation officers right to kill polar bear in hunting mode

Apparently, some locals were upset that a polar bear that refused to be scared away from a Newfoundland community over the weekend was shot as it advanced on conservation officers and a crowd of onlookers who refused to disperse (see …

2017-04-10 18:52   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Maclean’s blames global warming for polar bear visits to Newfoundland

Without a shred of evidence, Canada’s Maclean’s magazine claims recent polar bear sightings in Newfoundland and Labrador are due to global warming — and concludes that such incidents are bound to get worse. But since it’s likely that polar bear populations …

2017-04-10 06:45   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: East Coast crawling with polar bears since early March thanks to the pack ice

The  hot polar bear news right now is the large number of sightings of bears onshore in Newfoundland and Labrador – even the CBC is impressed. All the bears have been brought to land by the abundant pack ice that’s …

2017-04-04 06:05   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Recent incident in Foxe Basin shows the danger of hungry polar bears in winter

A late-night encounter with a thin and hungry polar bear in the northern Quebec community of Ivujivik in early March was a nightmare-inspiring event. Reported this morning by NunatsiaqOnline (Nunavik community receives some unwelcome guests, 28 March 2017), the thwarted …

2017-03-28 16:55   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Late winter polar bear habitat 2017 vs. 2006 and 2011 shows no trend

Here is a bit of historical perspective for rational readers trying to make sense of the doom-mongering of others that current sea ice conditions spell trouble for polar bears, given that the winter maximum extent for 2017 reached a new …

2017-03-27 19:54   Click to comment

Polar Bear Science: Another fat bear onshore in late winter, along Gulf of St. Lawrence north coast

Another fat bear onshore in late winter, this time along the Quebec shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence (22 March 2017) – and this time, one of the witnesses to the sighting took some great photos. Courtesy CBC News …

2017-03-27 09:02   Click to comment


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