Tag Archives: Arctic ice cap

Polar bears are starving! (NOT)

Fake science: Two articles yesterday from the so-called science journals Nature and Science today illustrate once again how pervasive the corruption in the climate field has now spread to almost anything that relates to climate.

Both articles refer to a paper published this week in Science, though the Nature article is far more detailed and longer. Researchers had tracked 9 polar bears during the spring months in three separate years, and had found that 5 of them had lost weight during this time period. From the Nature article:

Polar bear calorie use in spring

On average, the bears needed nearly 12,325 kilocalories per day — 1.6 times more energy than previously thought. To meet such energy demands, a female bear on the spring sea ice should eat either one adult or 19 newborn ringed seals every 10 to 12 days, the scientists concluded.

But nearly half of the bears didn’t catch enough food — and were forced to fast or scavenge carcasses. These animals lost 10% of their body mass over about 10 days. “That’s dramatic,” says physiologist John Whiteman at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. It’s as if a person weighing 80 kilograms shed 8 kilograms in just over a week, he says.

Catching enough to eat isn’t the only challenge polar bears face. As rising temperatures thin the sea ice, wind and currents make it drift faster on the ocean surface. “Think about a treadmill,” says Merav Ben-David, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. If the sea ice moves faster under their paws, polar bears have to walk faster — or for longer — to remain in the same spot3, which forces them to expend more energy, she says. [emphasis mine]

Oh my god! The polar bears are dying! And global warming is killing them!

What a joke. A quick look at the graph above, captured from the Science video, reveals that what the researchers really found is that four bears lost weight, four bears gained weight, and one stayed about the same. The bears studied weren’t “starving,” they represented what looks like an ordinary cross-section of population.

Moreover, this study is incredibly uncertain in that it only studied 9 bears, and only during the spring months during three years. What happens during the rest of the year? What would happen if they studied a larger population? While the data here teaches us something about the polar bear’s diet, calorie intake and calorie requirements, it is absolutely insufficient to provide any conclusions about the future of the bear population.

Worse, while both articles were quick to mention the threat from global warming, neither mentioned that the polar bear population continues to thrive, and has been doing so for the past decade, with no declines in almost all Arctic regions.

Further compounding the bad reporting here, while both articles repeated their religious belief in global warming and the impending disappearance of the Arctic icecap, there remains zero evidence in all data gathered of the ice pack by satellites and ground research that the icecap is shrinking significantly. In fact, while it had shown a steady decline through the first decade of the 21st century, in the past few years there has been a marked recovery. While these scientists might want the ice cap to disappear for political reasons, it simply isn’t doing so.

This is junk journalism and fake science. In fact, it is downright pitiful. That the reporting at such important science journals as these has become so slipshod speaks badly for the future of science in general.

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Antarctic ice sheet thicker than expected

The uncertainty of science: New measurements of the Antarctic ice sheets using an unmanned underwater drone have found them to be much thicker than expected.

Risky robotic exploration of the vast expanse of sea ice around Antarctica has revealed it to be far thicker in many places than previously measured. “The conventional picture of Antarctic sea ice being a thin veneer over the ocean is probably only true for some portion of it,” says Ted Maksym, an ice researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts (WHOI). “We need to do a better job of surveying the overall ice cover.”

Previous observations of the thickness of Antarctic sea ice produced a mean draught — the depth between the waterline and the bottom of the ice sheet — of around 1 metre; the new work gives a mean draught of over 3 metres. And a previous maximum recorded ice-sheet thickness of 10 metres has now been increased to 16 metres.

Near the end of the article there is also this:

The more data scientists can gather about Antarctic sea ice, the more they can unpick why climate models struggle to accurately predict its extent. Although researchers have been generally successful at modelling the huge declines in Arctic sea ice, the extent of Antarctic sea ice has actually increased in recent years, contrary to the predictions of models.

Actually, the Antarctic sea ice has grown to record size in recent years, and the Arctic sea ice has significantly recovered in the past two years, all contrary to all climate models.

“But the science is settled,” whines a certain unnamed politician. “This can’t be true! Zimmerman must be a racist for writing it!”

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Antarctic sea ice extent largest on record

The uncertainty of science: Even as global warming protesters gather in New York to push their political agenda and fear-monger the threat of global warming, the Antarctic ice cap has set a record for its greatest extent ever measured.

No one really has a convincing explanation for why the south pole ice cap is so large even as the north pole ice cap remains relatively small (though recovering from the record lows from earlier in this century).

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