Attack on Gore’s film countered; polar bears are drowning due to melting ice

Fri, 2007-02-23 12:39Bill Miller
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Attack on Gore’s film countered; polar bears are drowning due to melting ice

The Sunday Times article, based on the study cited by Gore, said last summer the ice cap receded about 200 miles further north than the average of two decades ago, forcing bears to make longer voyages between floes.

“We know short swims up to 15 miles are no problem, and we know that one or two may have swum up to 100 miles. But that is the extent of their ability, and if they are trying to make such a long swim and they encounter rough seas they could get into trouble,” said Steven Amstrup, a research wildlife biologist with the USGS.

The study, carried out in the Beaufort Sea, shows that between 1986 and 2005 just 4% of the bears spotted were swimming in open waters. Not a single drowning had been documented in the area. Last September, when the ice cap had retreated a record 160 miles north of Alaska, 51 bears were spotted and 20% were seen in the open sea, swimming as far as 60 miles off shore.

A few days later, after a fierce storm, researchers found four dead bears floating in the water. “We estimate that of the order of 40 bears may have been swimming and that many of those probably drowned as a result of rough seas caused by high winds,” said the report.

There were storms before 2006, the study said, but they didn't drown bears. The bears drowned in the 2006 storm because they had to swim further because of global warming.


polar bears today than 40 years ago. Sorry, Bill, you were saying?
Warming Climate May Put Chill on Arctic Polar Bear Population Some travel agencies touting Arctic tours have been revving up their recent promotions to tourists about the increased likelihood they will spot polar bears in this region where several populations of polar bears live. According to scientists from NASA and the Canadian Wildlife Service, these increased Arctic polar bear sightings are probably related to retreating sea ice triggered by climate warming and not due to population increases as some may believe
JIK, where’s your skepticism regarding that claim? That’s first. Second, even if there are 200% the 1960 total population of polar bears now subsisting on garbage because they can’t hunt and make a living on the sea ice, would you call that progress?
Subsisting on garbage??? Where do you guys come up with such nonsense? The only domain where there is significant interaction of people and their garbage with polar bears is southwest Hudson Bay - most specifically in and around Churchill. Notwithstanding the large numbers hanging around the tourist trails, that is the only part of the world where the bears are under pressure. However, if they weren’t getting anything to eat except the little bit of garbage available to them, they would have all starved to death years ago.
The nonsense was a hypothetical question, Kablunit, so if you read my post again with your mind just a crack open you might get the point. Not trusting that, I’ll explain: I was questioning the claim that there’s 150% the number of U. maritimus that there were in the 60’s, so it’s unlikely that I thought there were 200%. The main food of the bears is ringed seals, which the bears hunt on sea ice. If they can’t hunt on sea ice (because they drown or because the ringed seals can’t use it), I would think it a bad thing. For me it would be a poorer world even if the bears did not go extinct. We could raise even greater numbers in zoos, we could kill belugas and bring them to the shore, we could expand our population in the north and have large populations sitting around our garbage dumps - in total the number of bears could grow and they could all be well fed. Some might argue that humanity is net beneficial to the bears. I would not.

I think my first question for JIK was better than the second, but I think asking about the relative values of in-situ and ex-situ conservation is sensible.
it’s not that difficult to dig up data. See e.g.

J I K, cherry picking of data is not part of the scientific method. If you had read any reports of the dynamics of polar bear populations you would know that the significant declines in their populations during the 1960’s was due to over hunting. After the signing of the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears in Oslo on November 15, 1973 by the five nations with polar bear populations, hunting was regulated and the populations began a dramatic increase.

Recent reports show that half of the Canadian populations (7 of 13) are showing a decline in population or are showing declines in health and stature that inevitably lead to declines in population (IUCN 2006, Polar Bear Specialist Group Proceedings from 2005 meeting; the data can be examined at:

J I K, the problem with cherry picking is that one is liable to choke on one of the pits.

Well said I was going to point that out. The current rate of climate change in the north is whats driving the possibility that they will go extinct. I know a number of northern researchers (topics from permafrost to migration patterns) personally that talk about rate of change in the north and its potential impact on a wide range of species. The problem with the bears is that they not very generalist in their niche and likely cant adapt well to any major changes. Will they go extinct though not sure, their population is likely to really suffer though in near future though.

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1. It’s normally up to the person making the assertion to provide the data.
2. Could you tell from my post that I wasn’t very interested in the population estimates? I asked where your skepticism was and you provided a link to a list of population estimates. That leads me to ask … where’s your skepticism?
3. Somebody who likes to sling insults has joined the discussion. I’d invite either of you to google the confidence intervals for those population size estimates. I have a feeling that I’d need the original redbooks to even get the references for the actual methodologies used. But surely I can just ask you since you’ve surely checked to make sure the CI’s don’t overlap.
that what Bill was “saying” were quotes of scientists carrying out fieldwork. What were you saying, Johan? Care to back it up? Or am I being unreasonably “ad hominem”…
yourself (or see my other post here).
JIK : Global warmers aren’t generally smart enough to Google. They prefer to carry on like Ian, playing mindless little Charlie Macarthy to to big Edgar Bergans of the AGW movement.

I did google it, which is good science in my mind, and the words “polar” “bear” and “population” bring up a nice little essay done for the NOAA… Sadly, it seems to indicate that climate change will likely affect polar bear populations for the worse.

So it’s not just those stupid scientists, it seems that Google is in on the AGW conspiracy too. That means we can’t even decide the fate of the planet by surfing the internet, cherrypicking data, and blog forums anymore.

Still, JIK, Kablunit, don’t be discouraged. The world has suddenly gone crazy and needs valiant individuals like you more than ever, to crusade against the intelligent and methodical maniacs in the universities and science academies who have the temerity to advise us about science.

… and how far did they have to swim 40 years ago?

Beside the point much?

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Congratulations to Al Gore for his Oscar-winning film, and congratulations to Desmogblog for promoting these truths for the public good.

As Gore said at the awards ceremony, we have everything we need to start solving the problems, except perhaps the will, and that is a renewable resource, so let’s renew it.

The sniping from those with confused political agendas is fading already, as is obvious from the quality of the posts, and the lame opposition from some new media quarters.
Wow, did he win? I missed that part; will have to check out Youtube tomorrow.
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