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Articles on this Page
- 07/26/14--09:17: _Polar bear habitat:...
- 02/09/15--01:43: _Polar bears out on ...
- 04/07/15--17:44: _Tracking polar bear...
- 04/09/15--16:59: _Arctic sea ice exte...
- 04/12/15--01:58: _Challenging polar b...
- 04/29/15--09:21: _Polar bear season f...
- 05/14/15--01:49: _Snow depth over spr...
- 05/15/15--09:24: _Beaufort Sea polyny...
- 05/18/15--11:34: _Polar bear habitat ...
- 05/21/15--16:27: _Arctic polynyas and...
- 06/24/15--01:00: _Many polar bears cu...
- 06/25/15--08:35: _Polar bear habitat ...
- 08/06/15--11:14: _Pacific walrus sob ...
- 10/07/15--06:48: _Sea ice is not a st...
- 12/03/15--07:06: _Spring sea ice pred...
- 12/13/15--11:21: _Hungry polar bear a...
- 01/23/16--09:58: _Polar bear survival...
- 05/12/16--02:04: _Beaufort Sea fractu...
- 05/18/16--01:15: _More polar bear hab...
- 04/03/17--22:05: _East Coast crawling...
- 04/07/15--17:44: Tracking polar bears in the Beaufort Sea – March 2015 map
- 05/18/15--11:34: Polar bear habitat update: Hudson Bay sea ice breakup on track
- 05/21/15--16:27: Arctic polynyas and sea ice extent in Canada at 20 May 2015
- 08/06/15--11:14: Pacific walrus sob stories begin again
- 01/23/16--09:58: Polar bear survival: habitat 2013 vs. 2016 for 22 January
It was a good year for polar bear habitat in the southern portions of Eastern Canada this spring – surprisingly, much better than it was in 1968 through 1970. And since spring conditions are what really matter to polar bears, … Continue reading
polarbearscienceEnvironment Canada - Ice maps regions at July 26 2014Weekly Ice Coverage for the East Coast season, CISMaximum ice coverage for the East Coast, CIS Maximum ice coverage for the East Coast 1969-2014, CIS.Stats at July 26 2014_by month_PBSPBS_views by country map_July 26 2012 to July 26 2014 at 0737
We hear endlessly about the polar bears ‘forced’ to go without food for months because of receding summer sea ice — what about all the bears that stay out on the ice over the summer? Presumably, those bears keep hunting … Continue reading
polarbearsciencePolar Bear Breaks IceFigure 1. Devon Island in the central Canadian Arctic, adjacent to Barrow Strait, where Ian Stirling observed polar bears from a tower during the summer of 1973 (24 July to 8 August). Wikipedia map.Figure 2. This is Table 2 from Stirling and Øritsland (1995), showing their estimation of the number of ringed seals killed by polar bears each month in the central Canadian Arctic in the 1970s. Note that numbers of seal kills for winter months are assumptions (no data available) and that bears are assumed to spend the summer months (August, September) onshore fasting (although some bears spent that time on the pack ice, as did the bears in Stirling’s 1973 study).Sea Ice Figure 4.2 from NOAA's "Arctic Report Card 2014"
Here is the March 2015 follow-up to my post on the July 2013 track map for female polar bears being followed by satellite in the Beaufort Sea by the US Geological Survey (USGS) – “Ten out of ten polar bears … Continue reading
polarbearscienceputting_collar_on_polar_bear_slider_USGSFigure 1. From original caption: “Movements of 8 satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of March, 2015. Polar bears were tagged in 2014 on the spring-time sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea. All eight of these bears have satellite collar transmitters.” Ice map for 30 March, 2015. Original here. Movements of 7 satellite-tagged polar bears for the month of February, 2015. Polar bears were tagged in 2014 on the spring-time sea ice of the southern Beaufort Sea. All seven of these bears have satellite collar transmitters. The teal-green track was not present in January. Polar bear satellite telemetry data are shown with AMSR2 remotely-sensed ice coverage for 28 February, 2015.
Only half or less of the estimated 2.6% loss per decade of March sea ice extent since 1979 (Fig. 1, below) represents a decline in polar habitat. That’s because several regions with sea ice that are not home to polar … Continue reading
polarbearscienceFigure 1. Average monthly Arctic sea ice extent for March 1979-2015, which includes ice in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan, a decline of 2.6% per decade. NSIDC, March summary 2015. Sea of Okhotsk_1979 March marked_PolarBearScienceFigure 2. Arctic sea ice extent and concentration for 2015 and 2006 compared, courtesy NSIDC. Note that there was less ice in the Sea of Okhotsk in 2015 than in 2006, where MASIE archives show ice covered 0.59 mkm2. Click to enlarge.Figure 3. Comparing sea ice extent over the Sea of Okhotsk and northern Sea of Japan for 1979 and 2015 (extents approximate). masie_all_r14_v01_2006090_4kmmasie_all_r14_v01_2012091_4km2015 March
Here are some facts to counter the misinformation and fearmongering being spread via twitter by a polar bear biologist who is getting carried away with his conservation activism. Following up on my last post, I note that Arctic regions with … Continue reading
polarbearscienceArctic Sea ice extent March greater than PB habitat_April 12 2015Derocher tweet 2015 April 10_re March seaice and PB habitatDerocher tweet 2015 April 7 claims March ice is polar bear habitat
Two recent sightings of polar bears along the north shore of Newfoundland are a reminder that sea ice is still a prominent feature of the Davis Strait polar bear subpopulation landscape at this time of year. A polar bear was … Continue reading
polarbearscienceLaScie_Newfoundland_April 27 2015_ColleenGray labelLaScie and Fogo Island Newfoundland locationsLa Scie Newfoundland, from the town website. Photo from VOCM news report.Fogo, Fogo Island, Newfoundland. From the town website. Newfoundland sea ice conditions at 25 and 27 April 2015
Snow depth over sea ice in spring affects the hunting success of polar bears on ringed seal (Phoca hispida) pups, but the relationship is more complicated than you might think and there is less data on this phenomenon than you … Continue reading
polarbearscienceRinged seal lair_snow and ice thickness_PolarBearScience_smFigure 1. Adult Barents Sea ringed seal, Norwegian Polar Institute, Kit Kovacs photo.Figure 3. Newborn Barents Sea ringed seal with its white natal coat. Norwegian Polar Institute,Bjorn Frantzen photo.Figure 1. This is Fig. 8 from Lunn et al. (2013), the most recent report on the estimated size of the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population. Figure 2. Snow depth over North America, including Hudson Bay, at 25 April 2015. Courtesy The Weather Network.
With masses of very thick, multiyear ice off Alaska this spring, the developing polynyas (open water) at either end of the Beaufort Sea are providing essential polar bear hunting habitat. Patches of open water in the Beaufort Sea are naturally … Continue reading
polarbearscienceSB polynyas on ice thickness map 14 May 2015_PolarBearScienceFigure 1. Cape Bathurst polynya at 28 May 1975 (Smith and Rigby 1981: Fig. 14h), with the extent probably underestimated, and the polynya this year at 14 May (Canadian Ice Service). Click to enlarge.Figure 2. West Barrow polynya at 17 May 1975 (Smith and Rigby 1981: Fig. 15c) and the polynya this year at 14 May (Naval Research Laboratory). Click to enlarge.Figure 3. Ice thickness map from the Naval Research Laboratory for 14 May 2015.Figure 4. Ice thickness map from the Naval Research Laboratory for 8 April 2015.Figure 5. Ice cover in the Beaufort Sea for the week of 14 May, 1968-2015, using Canadian Ice Service data. Click to enlarge.
Hudson Bay sea ice coverage is only slightly below average for this time of year (week of 14 May, below) but well above levels for 2006, when Western Hudson Bay breakup was relatively early). Even at its highest extent in … Continue reading
polarbearscienceSea ice Canada 2015 May 14_CISFigure 1. Sea ice coverage over Hudson Bay for the week of 14 May, 1971-2015. Canadian Ice Service. Click to enlarge. Figure 2. Sea ice coverage over Canada at 23 May 2013, showing patches of open water and/or low ice concentrations along the southwest coast of Hudson Bay, near Churchill (a bit south of where an opening occurs this year), and along the west coast.Figure 3. The peculiar pattern of ice melt on Hudson Bay is illustrated by this figure from Stirling et al. (2004). Ice along the southwest coast of Hudson Bay (darkest gray) is the last to melt each season. As a consequence, the southwest quadrant is where most Western Hudson Bay bears come ashore. Note that the “time of breakup” on this map uses the old, out-of-date method (50% ice coverage).Sea ice Canada 2015 May 18_CISFigure 5. Hudson Bay breakup patterns for 17 May (Region 10, day 137) compared: 2015, 2011, 2009, 2010, 2007, 2006. NSIDC MAISE products archive. Note that 2009 had one of the latest breakup dates on record (30 July), while 2006 was relatively early (mid-June). Comparing the current year to only one previous year is uninformative because breakup patterns and dates are so variable year to year. Click to enlarge.
The map of sea ice extent in Canada at 20 May 2015 is an almost-perfect example of the placement of recurring patches of open water polynyas that were present in the Canadian Arctic at this time of year in 1975-1979. … Continue reading
polarbearsciencePolynyas and shore leads vs sea ice at 20 May 2015_PolarBearScienceRegional East Coast week of May 21 1968-2015 CISDavis Strait same week May 21 1971-2015 CISHudson Bay Regional same week May 21 1971-2015 CISHudson Bay same week May 21 1971-2015 CISBeaufort Sea same week 21 May 1968_2015 with average_CISBarents Sea ice plus East Greenland 2015 May 19_NISBarents Sea ice 2014_19 May_NISBarents Sea ice 2009_19 May_NISmasie_all_zoom_v01_2015139_4kmPolynyas and shore leads_Smith and Rigby 1981Sea ice Canada 2015 May 20_CIS
Good news from Norway: polar bears around Svalbard are in excellent condition this spring and many females with new cubs have been spotted. This is a marked turn around from conditions just last year. According to a Norwegian news outlet … Continue reading
polarbearscience Roy Mangersnes / Wildphoto Figure 1. Biologist Jon Aars with a Svalbard cub. Figure 2. Barents Sea ice coverage at 1 November 2013 (top) and 2014 (bottom). Click to enlarge.Figure 3. Sea ice extent at 5 August 2014. Almost everywhere except Svalbard was below average.
Polar bear habitat over Hudson Bay was average this week (at 60% coverage), despite the odd pattern of breakup – but the end of spring in the Arctic is only 5 days away and there is still plenty of polar … Continue reading
polarbearscienceHudson Bay breakup 2015 June 22 and 24_smFigure 1. Hudson Bay sea ice, difference from average at 22 June 2015. Blue is less than average, red is more than average. CIS. Figure 2. Sea ice concentration for Canada at 25 June 2015. End of spring for the Arctic is 30 June. CIS.Figure 3. Locations of nine Western Hudson Bay polar bears on 22 June 2015. Tweet from polar bear biologist Andrew Derocher, 23 June 2015. Figure 4. Sea ice coverage for the Beaufort Sea, week of 25 June, 1968-2015. CIS.Figure 6. Sea ice concentration over the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. NRL, http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/ courtesy WUWT Beaufort Sea Ice Page. Figure 7. Barents Sea ice concentration at 25 June 2015. NIS.Figure 8. Global sea ice extend with anomaly for 23 June 2015. NSIDC, courtesy. WUWT Sea Ice Page.
Now we have poor hunting conditions in the Bering Strait touted as evidence that “walrus migration patterns have changed” with the implication that this is because “…the past eight years have had the eight lowest amounts of summer sea ice … Continue reading
polarbearscienceWalrus 2012 July USGSPt Lay map Google marked
In The Arctic Journal, 7 October 2015: Unstable thinking about polar bear habitat [not my title choice] This is a previously unpublished summary, written exclusively for The Arctic Journal, of my peer-reviewed, fully referenced essay on this topic that was … Continue reading
polarbearscienceUnstable thinking about polar bear habitat_Oct 7 2015 title page
EATEN – my new polar bear attack novel – is set in Newfoundland 2025 for a reason. I wondered: what if sea ice coverage 10 years from now is as high or higher than it has been for the last … Continue reading
polarbearscience2016 Newfoundland Ice outlook for 19 Feb 2016_at Dec 1 2015Sea ice Canada 2015 Feb 18_CISSea ice extent Canada_2014 Feb 19_CISSea ice extent Canada 2015 March 12 CISSea ice extent Canada 2014 March 12_CISSwart et al 2015 sea ice pause Fig 1
As I’ve pointed out previously, polar bears are leanest – and thus, hungriest and potentially the most dangerous to humans – at the end of winter (i.e. March). That is why the unexpected prospect of hundreds of lean and hungry … Continue reading
polarbearsciencePolar bear feeding by season simple_Nov 29 2015EATEN_cover full smMelt-down_Terror at the Top of the World_Nov 12 2014 press release book coverHarrowing encounter_2015 titleEATEN_A new novel_final_lg
Using sea ice maps issued by the National Sea Ice Data Center (NSIDC), it’s interesting to compare these two years with respect to polar bear health and survival (keeping in mind that no polar bears live in what I like … Continue reading
polarbearscienceSea ice extent 2016 Jan 22 NSIDCSea ice extent 2013 Jan 22 NSIDCSvalbard sea ice extent 2016 Jan 22_NISSvalbard sea ice extent 2013 Jan 22_NISPolar bear feeding by season simple_Nov 29 2015
The Canadian Ice Service has a cool NASA animated video showing the Beaufort Gyre in action – you can actually see the solid mass of ice crack and swirl west and north under the pressure of the massive corkscrew current … Continue reading
What a difference a bit of historical perspective can make to one’s attitude on the annual Arctic sea ice breakup. The usual recent pattern (since 1979) has been for breakup to begin on the east side. However, this year and … Continue reading
polarbearsciencemasie_all_r10_v01_2016137_4kmmasie_all_r10_v01_2006136_4kmmasie_all_r10_v01_2011136_4kmmasie_all_r10_v01_2015136_4kmIce speed drift 2016 NRL May 16Sea ice extent Canada 2016 May 17 CIS
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 … Continue reading
polarbearscienceMelrose nfld Polar Bear 02_2017 April 3_Brandon Collins shared photo The PacketEast Coast March April polar bear sightings 2017 V4_22 April_PolarBearScienceGreat Brehat footprints_Early March 2017 cruz-randell_Amy Randell submitted to CBCBlack Tickle polar-bear 7 March 2017_Sherman Downey shared photoLabrador polar-bear-2070615_submitted photo 15 March 2017 TelegraphWesleyville nfld praying bear_THE STAR 30 March 2017 headlinepolar-bear-new-wes-valley_Dana Blackmore shared_CBC 3 April 2017Bonavista nfld Polar Bear 2017 April 2_Brandon Collins shared photo CBCMelrose nfld Polar Bear 01_2017 April 3_Brandon Collins shared photo The PacketMelrose nfld Polar Bear 01 snowmobile_2017 April 3_Shelly Ryan shared photo CBCMelrose nfld Polar Bear 02_2017 April 3_Shelly Ryan shared photo CBCMelrose nfld Polar Bear 02_2017 April 4_Dion Diamond shared photo THE PACKETSt brendan's bear 01 VOCM report 5 April 2017 Tracy HynesSt brendan's bear airlifted out 5 April 2017 VOCM 5 PMStbrendansbear2 airliftPinware footprint_Vernon BucklePinware and Capstan Island location LabradorLittle Catalina pb 8 on the rocks April 2017 Brandon Collins_The PilotLittle Catalina pb 8 April 2017 Brandon Collins_The PilotBrookside southern Nfld locationBrookside southern Nfld pb_Rosyln Denty_9 April 2017Parkers Brook location on Pistolet BayNewfoundland East daily ice conc 19 April 2017_CISSea ice extent Canada 2017 April 2 CISSea ice Canada 2017 April 3 CISSea ice Canada 2017 April 4 CISSea ice Canada 2017 April 5 CISSea ice Canada 2017 April 7 CISSea ice Canada 2017 April 8 CISSea ice Canada 2017 April 9 CISSea ice extent Canada 2017 April 19 CISSea ice extent Canada 2017 April 22 CIS