Polar bears of W Hudson Bay utilizing a substantial patch of thick first year ice

There’s been no word as yet, either from tour operators or polar bear researchers, that Western Hudson Bay polar bears have come ashore for the summer/fall season. Andrew Derocher reported at the end of June that the bears tagged by his team were still on the ice and as I write this, has not yet reported them ashore.

That pattern is consistent with the presence of thick ice along the west coast of the Bay — from well north of Churchill to the south of Wapusk National Park — for the last few weeks. The weekly chart for 3 July 2017 below from the Canadian Ice Service shows that virtually all of the ice remaining is thick first-year ice (>1.2m, dark green on this map):

By the 9 July, the extent of this patch of ice was somewhat reduced but still a very prominent feature over the Bay, suggesting that if adult seals are using this ice as a refuge while molting, some bears may still be attempting to hunt even though their success rate may not be very high:

Bottom line: As has been the pattern for more than a decade, 2017 will not go down in history as an especially early year for WHB polar bears coming off the ice for the summer/fall season but instead may be as late as last year, when lots of bears were reported off the ice by mid-July at Seal River (just north of Churchill), all in excellent condition.

It remains to be seen if the condition of bears will be as good this year as they were in 2016, given the late start to the season. But it does mean that the lack of trend in breakup dates since 2001 continues: the breakup of the sea ice in WHB since 2001 has been about one week later than it was before 1998 (Castro de la Guardia 2017; Cherry et al. 2013; Lunn et al. 2016).

If some polar bear struggle to survive this year it will be due to the late freeze-up date last fall combined with challenging winter conditions over Hudson Bay, not because of an early breakup of the sea ice.

And while it is certainly true that the overall trend in time spent onshore by WHB polar bears since 1979 has increased by about three weeks, the lack of a continued trend since 2001 is not what was expected or predicted, especially given the marked decline in global sea ice levels that have made headlines since 2007 (Crockford 2017), and the predictions of how devastating such low levels of ice would be for polar bears in areas like Hudson Bay that have to deal with a total disappearance of sea ice in summer and early fall.

Read more at Polar Bear Science

Comments (6)

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    The NRDC like the rest of the eco-wackos are lying to the public they just want more suckers to fall Hook,Line & Sinker for this Global Warming hoax just like they fell Hook,Line & Sinker for that SAVE THE RAINFORESTS hoax back in the 1990’s after all they also fell for the anti-pesticide campaign back in the 1970’s the same time in history when TIME magazine was brining up this Global Cooling/New Ice Age stuff

    • Avatar

      rakooi

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      WELL
      we lost the battle to save the Rain Forests
      …as the Amazon is drying thanks to the ill-thought-out mouthings of PEOPLE like SPURNING PLOVER.
      …..an ideologue with next to no FACTS to back up his particular brand of SLASH & Scorch Politics.

      THE ANTI DDT program, he refers to, was successful.
      ..IT CERTAINLY KEPT THE BALD EAGLE as our NATIONAL EMBLEM.

      AND leave it the Roll-ME-Over-in-the-CLOVER PLOVER….
      To BRING UP the FAKED TIME MAGAZINE COVER proclaiming a NEW ICE AGE which was a RIGHT WING & Killer COAL/BIG OIL FRAUD…..

      over a 500 newspapers ran REPEATS of a story WHICH WAS PART OF THOUSANDS OF PRESS RELEASES from COAL & OIL PR DEPARTMENTS.
      .
      (referenced to 2 scientist who studied COOLING EFFECTS of Aerosols)( not an ice age )
      .
      AS the 70’s ended,
      OIL & COAL Exec.s were High Fiving over the fact that the scare campaign about a NEW ICE AGE
      1. sold well over a million new furnaces,
      2. tied those customers to the OIL INDUSTRY for decades, and
      3. STOPPED ANY GOVERNMENT ACTION TO CURB CO2 EMISSIONS.

      ULTRA RIGHT Heartland Institute was sued by
      TIME MAGAZINE and SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
      (as it found a FAKED cover article on a new ice age as well)
      HEARTLAND LOST THE SUIT, and SIGNED a consent decree to NEVER commit a fraud like that again…….they sent the faked COVERS to other Killer Coal & BIG Oil front groups…who have kept the B.S. alive….
      THEIR STORY is that SCIENCE LIED ABOUT a new ICE AGE in the 70’s and now they are lying about GLOBAL WARMING…
      …..
      THE COURT RECORDS PROVE that it was
      Killer Coal & BIG Oil that lied about the ICE AGE in the 70’s
      and Continue to LIE ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING TODAY…….
      .
      THEIR new twist,
      proving how little they respect the U.S. citizenry.
      …they are once again spreading B.S. about a new ice age.
      …due in the next couple years.
      …..never mind that it takes thousands of years to slip into a new Glaciation.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Rakooi your a ignorant flatlander whos only views of nature comes from watching junk like FERNGULLY,A INCONNENT TRUTH and THE 1th HOUR and BEFORE THE FLOOD i live in a rural area where we know that a pile of milk bottles is not a cows nest

    • Avatar

      G

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      Spurwing, this guy is a troll. He doesn’t have the courage to stand behind a single screen name, so he keeps changing it, as if we can’t tell.

      As best we know he formerly called himself Drew, and then changed his name often as he was serially exposed for intellectual ineptitude. Just this week he also posted as Doug (something)…

      He can’t think for himself. Instead he regurgitates leftist bumper sticker jargon while cutting and pasting content from political websites casting politics as science. As you can see, he believes that ALL CAPS make his screeds irrefutable.

      It’s like having a debate in the back of a yellow bus with a 7th grader who believes he is the most clever guy in town. No logic, no humor, no substance – only stupid ad hominem attacks when he’s put to the test.

  • Avatar

    G

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    BTW, isn’t this entire discussion pointless? According to the Guru of Climate Science (Al Gore), polar bears should be extinct by now…

  • Avatar

    Sonnyhill

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    Considering the sorry state of politics, what kind of scientist would choose a side? Tell the truth and you’ll never have to cover your tracks. Leave the propaganda business to the professionals.

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