Polar Bear Researchers Caught Hiding Significant Population Increases In Southern Hudson Bay; + Greenland SMB Riding Above 1981-2012 Average

Polar Bear Researchers Caught Hiding Significant Population Increases In Southern Hudson Bay

Zoologist Susan Crockford tells, in a recent post on polarbearscience.com, of researchers vigorously promoting a possible 27% decline in Western Hudson Bay (WH) polar bear numbers while hiding a 30% increase in the adjacent Southern Hudson Bay (SH) over the same period.

“The bombshell SH results call into question everything the ‘experts’ have been saying about polar bears in Hudson Bay for years,” writes Crockford, who is a zoologist with more than 40 years experience, and former adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia.

Breakdown of polar bear areas.

In December 2022, the world’s media eagerly reported on the findings of the latest (2021) WH survey released by the Nunavut government. The coinciding SH survey, although published simultaneously and referenced several times in the WH report, was never touched by mainstream outlets, suggesting “reporters never actually saw the WH report but were simply given a press release with approved talking points,” contests Crockford.

As per the report, the WH population back in 2011 was estimated to be 949 (range 618-1280), the 2016 estimate was 842 (range 562-1121), and the latest 2021 estimate was 618 (range 385-852).

“The media must have been handed the 27% figure representing the drop between 2016 and 2021 in a press release,” continues Crockford, “because that figure isn’t mentioned in the WH report.”

From the BBC to the Japanese Times, the MSM dutifully ran with these numbers, using screamers like population plummets,” “polar bears vanishing,” “polar bears…in sharp decline,” and “polar bears disappearing fast”. However, and as stated in the WH report itself (pg. 29), the apparent decline from 2016 to 2021 was not statistically significant and neither was the decline between 2011 and 2021.

The numbers of adult male bears remained unchanged over the three sampling periods, reads the NH report, it was a decline in abundance of adult females and subadult bears that appears to have driven an apparent decline in overall numbers.

One logical query is, did these adult female and subadult bears simply relocate? The authors of the report were quick shut this line of thinking down, even though their own data reveals concurrent increases in these types of bears in the surrounding areas (pg. 32).

Notably, between 2016 and 2021, the estimated abundance of SH increased by 223 bears while that of WH decreased by 224 (Northrup et al. 2022). Changes in both subpopulations, at least between 2016 and 2021, could therefore be accounted for by movement of WH bears into SH. [WH report, Atkinson et al. 2022, pg. 24, bold]

Still, confusion abounds, and the authors are keen promote the apparent WH polar bear population decline as being “consistent” with predictions of adverse effect of global warming, despite them failing to provide sea ice data for the relevant period.

“However,” writes Crockford, “observations by others (including the authors of the SH report) indicate the decline couldn’t have been caused by poor sea ice conditions over the last five years because WH ice from 2017-2020 was better than it had been for decades.

In short, the authors of the WH report were unable to explain why there was an apparent decline in abundance between 2011 and 2021, except that several hundred adult females and subadults seemed to have disappeared from the central WH area.

The authors seemed unsure that an actual decline had taken place at all, given the uncharacteristically tenuous language used to describe their results: Estimates derived for the WH subpopulation indicated a possible decline in total bear abundance between 2011 and 2021. [WH report, Atkinson et al. 2022, pg. 29, bold]

Looking briefly at the SH report, numbers here went from 943 bears in 2012 (range 658-1350) to 780 in 2016 (range 590-1029) to up to a whopping 1119 in 2021 (range 860-1454), an increase of 30% over five years (see pgs. 29 and 42).

“The report authors initially claim that it is “highly implausible” that an increase of this magnitude could be due to natural increases in birth rate or reduced mortality alone over such a short time period (pg. 29),” continues Crockford.

“However, their data also indicated that 35% of all SH bears they counted were yearlings or cubs-of-the-year (more than found in WH in 2021), and the authors finally concluded that a natural increase in numbers did happen in conjunction with good sea ice conditions from 2017 to 2020 (pg. 31), perhaps in conjunction with immigration of some bears from another subpopulation that they couldn’t verify.”

The data from these reports speak volumes, as does the apparent muddying of the waters by the confused phrasing and language employed by the authors. Questions remain.

For more from Susan Crockford, you can read her article in full here, which concludes with the line, “No wonder polar bear specialists didn’t want the press to get wind of the SH report.”

And then there’s this:

Greenland SMB Riding Above 1981-2012 Average

Frustrating for the AGW catastrophizerers –yes… I made up a word– the poster boys for global warming continue to let the side down. In line with inconvenient polar bear population increases, Greenland snow and ice is also building.

The Greenland Ice Sheet has been faring incredibly well in recent years, and this season is continuing the trend.

Record gains were observed on its opening day (Sept 1), followed by whopping ≈14 gigatons gains in early-Oct (which, when translated into dumb, decontextualized headlines: That’s enough to bury Central Park, New York City under 15,000 feet of ice).

Impressive Surface Mass Balance (SMB) gains have persisted across the ice sheet this week.

Just yesterday (Oct 17), Greenland gained another 5+ gigatons of mass (fig. 1), pushing the season’s overall gains back above the 1981-2012 average (fig. 2), as per Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) books, where it had stood for the majority of September.

Fig. 1., daily SMB gains [DMI]
Fig 2., accumulated seasonal SMB [DMI]

Greenland’s SMB has held above average for five out of the last seven years which has assisted its Total Mass Balance (TMB) –a calculation that combines three separate measurements in order to determine the overall health of an ice sheet: SMB (as mentioned), Marine Mass Balance (MMB) and Basal Mass Balance (BMB)– in experiencing a stark reversal of fortunes.

While it is true that the Greenland ice sheet lost mass ≈1995 to 2012, that trend has indeed now halted, and reversed. From 2010 to 2015, like the gradual turning of a vast ship, Greenland’s TMB changed course and has been on an upward trajectory ever since:

A representation of TMB from 1986-2022 (to be updated with 2022-23’s data), assuming the MMB was that of 2021 (which was 10% more than that of 2020).

In line with an ever-increasing Greenland pack, snow cover across the entire Northern Hemisphere is also on the rise:

For more on that, click below:

Please help keep Electroverse online, consider becoming a Patreon.
Become a patron at Patreon!