From Polar Bear Science
Posted on February 19, 2021 | Feedback Offon Truth: polar bears are thriving regardless of sea ice loss in keeping with the scientific literature
Is Fb now an skilled on polar bear conservation standing? Apparently they’ve decreed themselves the final phrase for on-line content material. There’s a plan afoot to label something that claims polar bears are not being harmed by latest sea ice declines as ‘disinformation’ – however on whose authority? Due to Josh for the cartoon beneath.
A brand new part of the Local weather Science Info Heart, launching alongside the labelling trial, debunks widespread myths such because the false declare that polar bear populations are usually not struggling as a result of international heating, or the widespread perception that extra carbon emissions assist plants. Fb is working with local weather communication consultants from world wide, together with on the College of Cambridge, to supply the content material.
Ah, they’re consulting ‘local weather communication consultants‘! These consultants absolutely have to be up on all the most recent papers and never trusting the phrase of clearly biased conservations organizations just like the WWF or PBI whose actual motive for existence is the technology of as a lot cash in donations as doable?
The peer reviewed literature helps the declare that polar bears are at the moment thriving regardless of latest ice declines – particularly within the Chukchi and Barents Seas – no matter what laptop mannequin predictions say about what may occur sooner or later. This can be a truth, not a ‘fantasy’. See my paper from 2017 and my 2019 e-book for many of the citations (Crockford 2017, 2019) and others within the reference listing beneath. Examine them out your self earlier than you imagine Fb. Ask me for any paper you’d prefer to see by way of the ‘contact me’ kind and I’ll ship it alongside. Additionally, search for my State of the Polar Bear Report 2020 subsequent week.
The polar bear has two options that mark it as a thriving species: it’s as wide-spread throughout the Arctic because it was a whole bunch of years in the past and there has not been a sustained, statistically vital decline in numbers in any of the 19 official subpopulations. Modest declines in abundance for Western and Southern Hudson Bay documented in 2016 have been not statistically vital and have virtually actually been reversed since then.
That’s as a result of the final 4 years have been particularly good for Hudson Bay bears: in 2020, most Western Hudson Bay bears left for the newly-formed ice as early within the autumn as they did within the 1980s – for the fourth yr in a row – and sea ice breakup in spring was additionally just like the 1980s for the second yr in a row. Southern Hudson Bay bears skilled just about an identical situations. The variety of bear issues in Churchill, Manitoba, which self-identifies because the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’, have been the bottom in years.
Bears that got here ashore in mid-to-late August and left in November would have spent solely three months on land – about one month lower than most bears did within the 1980s and two months lower than bears did within the early 2000s (Castro de la Guardia et al 2017). The final 4 years at the least have been very comparable – so it’s no marvel none of this info has been made out there within the peer-reviewed literature.
It’s not simply these Canadian bears which were thriving: just about all polar bears throughout the Arctic have been in wonderful situation in recent times. Images of fats bears are the ‘new regular’. They’ve had an abundance of fats seal pups to eat within the spring due largely to elevated main productiveness. In accordance with NOAA scientists, summer time progress of plankton within the Arctic has elevated since 2002 due to longer ice-free intervals, particularly within the Russian Arctic, the Barents Sea and Hudson Bay. As a result of particularly low ice ranges in 2020, plankton blooms hit information highs in August (see photograph beneath). Extra considerable plankton advantages all the Arctic meals chain: extra fish means fatter seal pups and well-fed polar bears. This goes a great distance in the direction of explaining why polar bears doing so nicely in areas just like the Chukchi and Barents Seas the place profound summer time sea ice losses have occurred in recent times.
Nonetheless, none of those latest details have been taken into consideration for the 2020 laptop mannequin that predicted the near-extinction of the species by 2100 and minimal cub survival for Southern Hudson Bay bears earlier than 2030. This pessimistic mannequin’s main assumption was that historic information from Western Hudson Bay polar bears may very well be used as a proxy to foretell how all different bear populations throughout the Arctic would reply to numerous predicted declines in summer time ice protection. Sadly, the mannequin additionally depended upon the scientifically discredited and implausible ‘worst case’ local weather state of affairs (‘RCP8.5’) to reach at its dystopian imaginative and prescient of future sea ice situations.
As a consequence, this new prediction of polar bear extinction is even much less worthy of great consideration than the failed prediction polar bear specialists developed in 2007. We now know that polar bears have usually benefitted from a lot much less summer time sea ice than was out there within the 1980s and somewhat than declining repeatedly, September sea ice ranges have been somewhat steady since 2007 (see graph beneath, from US NSIDC).
Sadly, the details indicating that polar bears are thriving throughout the Arctic are routinely pushed apart in favour of an ominous prophetic narrative as a result of it helps the ‘local weather change emergency’ rhetoric. ‘Belief the science’ is meaningless if mannequin outputs based mostly on defective assumptions are thought-about proof and if scientists show apparent biases, because the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group does when it ignores a large enhance in inhabitants numbers that was not statistically vital, as they did for Barents Sea bears, however adopts the brand new quantity if it’s not statistically vital however exhibits a slight decline as they did for Western Hudson Bay.
This is the reason I do what I do – somebody must maintain the general public abreast of latest literature and on-the-ground developments that don’t conform to the local weather emergency narrative and to name out false statements made by polar bear specialists with an agenda. There may be at the moment no local weather emergency for polar bears, regardless of what laptop fashions counsel may occur a long time from now.
Aars, J. 2018. Inhabitants adjustments in polar bears: protected, however shortly dropping habitat. Fram Discussion board Publication 2018. Fram Centre, Tromso. Obtain pdf right here (32 mb).
Atwood, T.C., Bromaghin, J.F., Patil, V.P., Durner, G.M., Douglas, D.C., and Simac, Ok.S., 2020. Analyses on subpopulation abundance and annual variety of maternal dens for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on polar bears (Ursus maritimus) within the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1087. https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201087. pdf right here.
Castro de la Guardia, L., Myers, P.G., Derocher, A.E., Lunn, N.J., Terwisscha van Scheltinga, A.D. 2017. Sea ice cycle in western Hudson Bay, Canada, from a polar bear perspective. Marine Ecology Progress Sequence564: 225–233. http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v564/p225-233/
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Crawford, J.A., Quakenbush, L.T. and Citta, J.J. 2015. A comparability of ringed and bearded seal weight loss plan, situation and productiveness between historic (1975–1984) and up to date (2003–2012) intervals within the Alaskan Bering and Chukchi seas. Progress in Oceanography 136:133-150.
Crockford, S.J. 2017. Testing the speculation that routine sea ice protection of 3-5 mkm2 ends in a larger than 30% decline in inhabitants dimension of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). PeerJ Preprints 19 January 2017. Doi: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.2737v1 Open entry. https://peerj.com/preprints/2737/
Crockford, S.J. 2019. The Polar Bear Disaster That By no means Occurred. International Warming Coverage Basis, London. Out there in paperback and e-book codecs. Crockford, S.J. 2020. State of the Polar Bear Report 2019. International Warming Coverage Basis Report 39, London. pdf right here.
Dyck, M., Regehr, E.V. and Ware, J.V. 2020. Evaluation of Abundance for the Gulf of Boothia Polar Bear Subpopulation Utilizing Genetic Mark-Recapture. Closing Report, Authorities of Nunavut, Division of Surroundings, Iglulik. 12 June 2020. Pdf right here.
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Perovich, D., Meier, W., Tschudi, M., Hendricks, S., Petty, A.A., Divine, D., Farrell, S., Gerland, S., Haas, C., Kaleschke, L., Pavlova, O., Ricker, R., Tian-Kunze, X., Webster, M. and Wooden, Ok. 2020. Sea ice. 2020 Arctic Report Card, NOAA. https://arctic.noaa.gov/Report-Card/Report-Card-2020/ArtMID/7975/ArticleID/891/Sea-Ice Pdf of total Arctic Report Card right here (12mb).
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Rode, Ok.D., Regehr, E.V., Douglas, D., Durner, G., Derocher, A.E., Thiemann, G.W., and Budge, S. 2014. Variation within the response of an Arctic high predator experiencing habitat loss: feeding and reproductive ecology of two polar bear populations. International Change Biology20(1):76-88. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12339/summary
Rode, Ok. D., R. R. Wilson, D. C. Douglas, V. Muhlenbruch, T.C. Atwood, E. V. Regehr, E.S. Richardson, N.W. Pilfold, A.E. Derocher, G.M Durner, I. Stirling, S.C. Amstrup, M. S. Martin, A.M. Pagano, and Ok. Simac. 2018. Spring fasting habits in a marine apex predator offers an index of ecosystem productiveness. International Change Biology http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13933/full