Most Polar Bears Live In Canada, Where There Has Been No Net Warming For Centuries. So Why Are They Endangered?

Modern Polar Bear Habitat Among Coldest  Of The Last 10,000 Years

The habitat range for polar bears extends across the circumpolar boundaries of the Arctic Ocean, primarily inclusive of North America (Canada), coastal Greenland, and northern Russia (Siberia, Northern Europe).

However, about 70 percent —  13 of 19 subpopulations — of the Earth’s polar bears reside in Canada.  And Canada not only has not been warming to any unusual degree in the last few centuries, modern temperatures are still colder now than they have been for most of the last 10,000 years.


A Benighted Short-Term Climate Perspective

The media-popularized viewpoint that insists polar bears are sweltering under an imminent threat of extinction due to global warming in general and Arctic warming in particular is benighted by a lack of appreciation or understanding of a long-term geological context.

For most advocates of the position that climate changes in the Arctic are predominantly caused by the explosive rise in anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions since the mid-20th century, there is a conspicuous hyper-focus on the climate monitoring period beginning in the 1950s…or the late 1970s, when the satellite era began (and polar sea ice could be monitored).

The problem with this short-term perspective, of course, is that the 1950s to 1980s were a cold period in the Arctic, so any trend line beginning in those years will skew towards the point of view that more recent warming is unusual, if not unprecedented.  As the graphs below illustrate, the 1920s to 1940s were a relatively warm period in the Arctic — similarly as warm as the most recent decades.

The willful selection of the coldest decades of the last 100 years as the prerequisite starting point for examining modern climatic trends is reflective of the tendentious narrow-mindedness afflicting most advocates of the position that we humans pose a dangerous threat to the biosphere.  Expanding one’s perspective and focus beyond the last 60 or 70 years, or even a cursory look at the long-term climatic context as presented in the scientific literature, severely undercuts the perspective that recent climate changes in the Arctic are unusual, remarkable, or unprecedented.

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Comments (1)

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    Amber

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    Approximately 40,000 polar bears live in in the Arctic . If they were so endangered why are approx. 500 killed each by poachers and hunters ? The threat they face is human
    high velocity lead not global warming .
    For every four humans in the Arctic there is a polar bear and even at its summer ice minimum there is still over 2,700,000 million square miles of ice for the polar bears to romp around in ,or over 60 sq miles each . For context the giant pandas population numbers less than 2,000 in the wild by comparison .
    Unless humans keep shooting and trapping them in increasing numbers the polar bears will be just fine and that “ice free ” Arctic myth spread by the scary global warming con men is just a marketing ploy better spent on some real endangered species .

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