Despite misleading study, polar bears aren’t starving or dwindling

polar bearThe media is up in arms today over the imminent starvation of polar bears because they may have to rely on land-based foods for sustenance. But according to Susan Crockford, a zoologist and polar bear expert, the media has missed the point entirely of this new study. She writes that “whatever food polar bears consume in the summer – whether they are on land or on the ice – doesn’t really matter.” What actually matters is what polar bears eat and how much during the spring.

The most important food that polar bears consume yearly is fat-rich baby seals between March and June. By gorging on these plump little delicacies from late winter to the end of spring, polar bears put on enough fat to carry them “over the summer, no matter where they spend it.” According to Crockford, the authors of this new paper (Rode et al.) have tried to frame the issue as one “about the future survival of polar bears in the face of declining sea ice.” Without enough foodstuff in the surrounding water, polar bears will have to “eat things like berries and bird eggs and even mammals like caribou.” This is because declining sea ice, they predict, will cause the loss of their primary food source, forcing polar bears to live off the land.

Crockford, however, notes that “the fact that polar bears in the Chukchi Sea and Southern Davis Strait are thriving despite dramatic declines in summer sea ice (aka an extended open-water season), proves my point and disproves their premise. Bears in these regions are doing extremely well – contrary to all predictions – because they have had abundant baby seals to eat during the spring (see here and here).” She makes it clear that the sea ice models used by these biologists “do not predict a decline in winter sea ice (Dec-March),” but rather summer sea ice:

“…all GCMs project extensive winter sea ice through the end of the 21st century in most ecoregions (Durner et al. 2009).” (Amstrup et al. 2007:9)

Indeed, according to their own computer models, the state of the critical spring-feeding period from now until 2050 shows no decline in spring sea ice. Crockford writes that “when you hear or read stories about polar bears and predicted sea ice declines: “sea ice” does not mean spring sea ice.” When asked by InsideScience for a comment on this new study, Crockford told them:

“I agree wholeheartedly with the authors that there is little evidence to suggest that terrestrial foods are important to polar bears now, or would be in the future. However, this squabbling over what polar bears eat, or don’t eat, in the summer hardly matters, since the critical feeding period for polar bears is March to June.

“Chukchi Sea and Southern Davis Strait bears, for example, are doing very well – contrary to all predictions – despite marked declines in summer sea ice because they have ample food during their critical spring feeding period when sea ice is abundant.”

Crockford makes clear that all this background noise about polar bears eating land-based foods due to decreasing summer sea ice is nothing more than a red herring: “It doesn’t matter what, if anything, polar bears eat in summer — what matters is how much they eat in the spring.

Source

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment (newest first):

Comments (11)

  • Avatar

    sonnyhill

    |

    Polar bears are the meanest mothers in the most inhospitable part of the Earth. Only weirdo’s worry about them.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Gator

      |

      [quote]Only weirdo’s worry about them.[/quote]

      Or sane beings made of meat, that are in the direct path of a polar bear.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Aido

    |

    Don’t those guys in the media know anything?

    Polar bears are omnivorous. When their favourite snack – seal – ain’t available, they’ll eat anything. Ducks, arctic foxes, lemmings, eggs, berries, lichen, grass, seaweed – you name it, the bears will eat it.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Jason Howard

    |

    This lady is an adjunct professor at the university of Victoria Canada. She receives monthly payments from climate change denial organizations to continue to smear the real science. It is pathetic what some people will do for money.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Gator

      |

      What a load of crap.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    amirlach

    |

    [quote]According to Crockford, the authors of this new paper (Rode et al.) have tried to frame the issue as one “about the future survival of polar bears in the face of declining sea ice.[/quote]

    Sea ice is not “declining”. Seems the ironically named “CROCK-ford” is full of it.
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/old_icecover.uk.php

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Noah

    |

    In Heartland’s proposed budget for 2012 two Australian scientists are listed under the program to “undermine” the credibility of the IPCC’s reports.

    Also listed is one Susan Crockford at the University of Victoria who would potentially receive $750 per month. She is one of three Canadian university professors on the denier dole at Heartland, along with Madhav Knandekar and Mitch Taylor.

    Greenpeace contacted the University of Victoria to raise conflict of interest questions relating to Heartland’s payments to Crockford, who has a history of denying climate science as a speaker for its anti-science International Climate Science Coalition. See Greenpeace’s letter to the University of Victoria here https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/310239-letter-to-university-of-victoria-re-heartland.html

    But apparently the University isn’t interested in investigating the matter, stating that, because Crockford is “not a member of regular faculty,” it won’t probe allegations of conflict of interest.

    “She is a member as a non-remunerated appointment as an adjunct, a professional zooarcheologist associate,” a university spokesperson told The Martlet correspondent Mark Worthing.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      GrubPubert

      |

      What we cause, we are responsible for. Since our emissions and burnings of forests and other large scale practices on land and sea, we have raised the earth’s temperature and caused the ice to break up earlier and earlier. Yes all animals adapt but generally they are given generations or millennia to do so. We have asked polar bears to make a 40,000 year leap in their practices of surviving, and we have expected that they make this leap in the 30 years in which we have irrevocably broken their razir’s edge life pattern. Yes of course they are opportunists but the ice cap breaking up where they are is not full of caribou or eggs or very much of anything. They cannot eat what is not there and nothing was ever there but them, the seals and a few foxes and maybe hares and whatever transient birds and mammals pass through. We have asked them to get by in a month’s less food. They cannot survive it in sustainable numbers. The situation is so critical that I believe we should air drop them carcasses during the month of early ice sheet melt. We are obliged to save what we ourselves are killing.

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Gator

        |

        What we cause, we are responsible for.

        Just what do we cause?

        1- List all climate forcings, order them from most to least effective, and then quantify them.

        2- Please provide even one peer reviewed paper that refutes natural variability as the cause of recent, or any, global climate changes.

        There is nothing unusual or unprecedented about our climate, or how we got here. For 4,500,000,000 years climates have always changed, naturally. This means there has been a set precedent, and the burden of proof falls on natural climate change deniers like yourself.

        Reply

  • Avatar

    Gator

    |

    Hey Noah! Thanks for reminding everyone here what lying sacks of garbage the alarmists are…

    [i]“Today marks the one-year anniversary of ‘Fakegate,’ the day Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick sent to liberal activists and reporters documents he stole from The Heartland Institute and claimed to have obtained from a ‘Heartland insider’ and later from an ‘anonymous source.’ The documents included Heartland’s annual budget, fundraising plan, and other confidential documents. Media outlets in the U.S. and around the world reported on the ‘leak’ of ‘secret plans’ by an anonymous ‘insider’ at the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made global warming.[/i]

    http://fakegate.org/

    Everyday a new skeptic is born, because of people like you. Thanks!

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Gator

    |

    And you know, I almost left out the best part. According to computer analysis of the stolen/forged memo, Gleick is not only a theif and a liar, but a forger as well.

    [i]In response to the question of who wrote the disputed Heartland strategy memo, it is difficult to deliver an answer with complete certainty. The writing styles are similar and the sample is extremely small, both of which act to reduce the accuracy of our analysis. Our procedure by assumption excluded every possible author but Bast and Gleick. Nevertheless, the analytic method that correctly and reliably identified twelve of twelve authors in calibration testing also selected Gleick as the author of the disputed document. Having examined these documents and their results, I therefore consider it more likely than not that Gleick is in fact the author/compiler of the document entitled ”Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” and further that the document does not represent a genuine strategy memo from the Heartland Institute.[/i]
    -Stylometric Report – Heartland Institute Memo
    Patrick Juola, Ph.D.
    March 13, 2012

    Reply

Leave a comment

No Trackbacks.