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Discussion > Soon, Baliunus, de Freitas, Etal

'We' have not 'established' anything. Dyck et al is not summative of Soon's findings about polar bears. It is just something you snagged off of Realclimate. The whole question is about the evidence (its veracity, category, strength and the underlying assumptions) that backs up claims of catastrophic population collapse. You know why, and how, they are flimsy or otherwise.

Why don't you answer the simple question? We could always start from there. Do you believe the polar bear is an endangered species?

Jan 3, 2012 at 1:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub

Dyck et al is not summative of Soon's findings about polar bears.

WTF are you talking about now?

Of course the polar bear is endangered. Arctic ice melt isn't a fantasy or some lie cooked up by eco-Marxists bent on installing World Government under the UN.

It is real. All the evidence points to the reduction in sea ice being crucial to the health of PB populations. So reduce sea ice enough (and it is still trending down in the real world, where I live) and you ultimately reduce PB populations to the point of endangerment.

Only a nutter would disagree with this, so choose your words carefully, won't you.

Jan 3, 2012 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

In 2009 the US Fish and Wildlife service estimated in a factsheet the polar bear population to be 20,000-25,000 bears - an historical high.

Jan 3, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Polar bears are widely dispersed in Canada and also in Greenland, on islands off the coast of Norway, on the N coast of Russia and on the N and NW coasts of Alaska.

The idea that polar bears are threatened seems to be based primarily on the perspective that polar bears have been declining in Alaska - a perspective not derived from declining numbers, but from Monte Carlo population simulations.

Declines which have been observed in 3 (out of 19 total) sub-populations have been ascribed to over-hunting.

Jan 3, 2012 at 8:22 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

matthu

Declines which have been observed in 3 (out of 19 total) sub-populations have been ascribed to over-hunting.

Please, go back a page and read the quotes and links.

Overall it is declines in 8 populations, stability in 3 and increase in 1, with 7 too remote for sufficient observational data to posit a trend. Look at the information about the health of the populations experiencing decline.

Jan 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

The polar bear apparently diverged from the brown bear, Ursus arctos, roughly 150,000 years ago. So that seems to suggest that the polar bear can adapt pretty well to changing temperatures ...

Jan 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Declines which have been observed in 3 (out of 19 total) sub-populations have been ascribed to over-hunting.

Declines shown as the result of computer modelling are ... well ... debatable.

But let's not quibble. In general, vulnerability must be determined by total population. At an historical high. And I do wonder how they survived the last 150,000 years?

Jan 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

But really, this polar bear alarmism pales into insignificance alongside Greenpeace's alarmism over human deaths due to global warming:

The headline figures are: 300,000 deaths and 300 million people affected every year, at a cost to the global economy of £125 billion. The report was issued by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan's thinktank, the Global Humanitarian Forum.

And if emissions are not brought under control within 25 years, things are predicted to get much worse. Increasingly severe heatwaves, floods, storms and forest fires will be responsible for up to half a million deaths annually by 2030, at a cost of $600 billion, making climate change the greatest humanitarian challenge the world faces.

Half a million deaths every year (due to AGW) within 18 years? really? Talk about credibility.

Jan 3, 2012 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

And even if we accept that all these causes are directly related to emissions (which we don't) ... half a million deaths (95% of which will occur in the world's poorest regions) being valued at 600 billion dollars?

That's values each life (including the 95% in the world's poorest regions) at 1.2 million dollars. (That will only happen if Greenpeace lawyers are getting involved (in which case the victims' families won't reckon to see more than a small fraction).

By comparison (randomly selected) the widow of a man who sustained mesothelioma cancer after exposure to asbestos in his workplace has been awarded 258,520 in industrial injury compensation against her husband´s former employers.

So where does the 1.2 million come from?

Jan 3, 2012 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Thanks to Barry Woods for insight into alarmism over human deaths here

http://www.realclimategate.org/2010/12/lost-in-alarmism-150000-climate-change-deaths-a-year/

and the BBC for insight into uncertainties when counting polar bear sub-populations here

http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8700000/8700472.stm

... projections are essentially educated guesses, based on experts judging or extrapolating how current population trends might continue as the climate changes.

"We developed a model for the mating ecology of polar bears. The model estimates how many females in a population will be able to find a mate during the mating season, and thus get impregnated."

Male polar bears find females by wandering the ice, sniffing bear tracks they come across. If the tracks have been made by a female in mating condition, the male follows the tracks to her.

The researchers modelled how this behaviour would change as warming temperatures fragment sea ice.

They also modelled the impact on the bears' survival.

Southern populations of polar bears fast in summer, forced ashore as the sea ice melts.

As these ice-free seasons lengthen, fewer bears are expected to have enough fat and protein stores to survive the fast.

By developing a physiological model that estimates how fast a bear uses up its fat and protein stores, the researchers could estimate how long it takes a bear to die of starvation.

"Our view is that the Canadian assessment should be redone, properly accounting for climate change effects.

"The status of polar bears is likely much more dire than suggested by the Canadian report," he adds.

"For instance, for a while we will only see small changes in summer fasting season survival in Western Hudson Bay.

"[But] eventually mortality will dramatically increase when a certain threshold is passed ..."

I simply point out that polar bears have survived whatever climate could throw ta them over the past 150,000 years. But then I haven't used a computer model and I haven't considered thresholds.

Say no more.

Jan 3, 2012 at 10:27 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

matthu

[Arctic ice melt] is real. All the evidence points to the reduction in sea ice being crucial to the health of PB populations. So reduce sea ice enough (and it is still trending down in the real world, where I live) and you ultimately reduce PB populations to the point of endangerment.

Only a nutter would disagree with this, so choose your words carefully, won't you.

On deaf ears, apparently.

Jan 3, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

[Arctic ice melt] is real.

So is [global warming].

Arctic ice has melted before - so you are being unnecessarily alarmist.
Polar bear populations are at an historical high and they have survived the last 150,000 years.
If they needed to adapt before, they will do so again.

[ The evidence you refer to is output from computer modelling. The only nutter is you. ]

Jan 3, 2012 at 11:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

matthu

Superficially:

The relatively recently speciated polar bear survived the Eemian (peak GAT 1 - 2C warmer than present). Arguments that it will survive the effects of 3C or higher cannot be validated by reference to the Eemian.

Nobody apart from lukewarmers and hard-line contrarians now thinks that GAT will have 'only' risen 2C by late/end century. These groups have not provided any evidence for their claims, so rationalists are forced to conclude that polar bears are endangered.

Very seriously:

Exchanges on this blog are instructive. Yes, there's been an emetic amount of bandwaggoning by far too many 'green' opportunists. Yes, this (and the house tone) puts the back up. No, it doesn't have any bearing on the atmospheric physics. Yes there are less-than-lovable scientists, yes the Mannean hockey stick was dodgy. No, it doesn't have any bearing on the atmospheric physics. Yes, climate change is politicised, no, this doesn't falsify the atmospheric physics. Yes, both sides go too far - no, this doesn't mean that the sceptics are right by default.

Jan 3, 2012 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

No-one is claiming sceptics are "right by default". Sceptics simply point out that neither are mainstream scientists "right be default". Scientists need to establish their credibility by writing up reproducible results.

And if we now accept that the subject is highly politicised and contains dodgy science (which is not often, if ever, been publicly admitted to either by so-called mainstream scientists or by politicians)then one should questions why not?

What other dodgy science are they not admitting to?

And no, this does not by itself falsify anything - but it certainly does nothing to bolster it either. And sceptics obviously require a higher level of confidence before spending £5k per person per year of other people's money. Because there may be other more deserving causes.

It certainly cannot be honest of politicians (like Beddington or Huhne) or scientists (like those at CRU) not to be open about the fact that there has been dodgy science going on.

Jan 3, 2012 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

matthu

No-one is claiming sceptics are "right by default". Sceptics simply point out that neither are mainstream scientists "right be default". Scientists need to establish their credibility by writing up reproducible results.

Where are the reproducible results of 'sceptical scientists'? I've looked carefully and don't see them. That's why I'm not a lukewarmer these days. The lack of supporting evidence forced me to change my position.

Jan 4, 2012 at 12:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

matthu,
You are arguing with a person who doesn't know the difference between "is endangered" and "is going to be endangered perhaps".

"Ecomarxist wold government un etc"

What a dishonest bullshit tactic from this person! These are certainly not the words of a grown-up.

Jan 4, 2012 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Anybody proposing a new theory needs to put forward reproducible results to back up that theory. Mainstream or otherwise. By definition, sceptics maintain the status quo and don't need theories of their own in order to dispute an alternative theory.

Of course, some sceptics (of mainstream AGW theory) do put forward alternative theories e.g. Svensmark - in which case they are required to have supporting, reproducible evidence. And in this case, the sceptics (of Svensmark's cosmic ray theories) are actually mainstream scientists.

Jan 4, 2012 at 6:24 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

BDD suggests:

The relatively recently speciated polar bear survived the Eemian (peak GAT 1 - 2C warmer than present). Arguments that it will survive the effects of 3C or higher cannot be validated by reference to the Eemian.

Anybody who suggests that Eemian peak GAT being only 1-2C warmer than present is in any way relevant to future species survival should try sitting with their feet in a bucket of ice and their head in the oven. Deep ice core records from Greenland show that the Eemian period was 5 K warmer in Greenland than in our present interglacial period and very stable.

Polar bears survived.

Jan 4, 2012 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

folks, I was thinking exactly the same thing. the problems are so unusually fundamental and obvious, as we lay them out, that it does immediately call into suspicion the integrity of the review process.

We probably need to take this directly to the chief editor at JGR, asking that this not be handled by the editor who presided over the original paper, as this would represent a conflict of interest. if we are told that is not possible, then we would at least want the chief editor himself to closely monitor the handling of the paper. I too am happy to sign of at this point,

mike

By Michael Mann, in 2009.

The guy sees flaws in the 'integrity of the review process' everywhere.

Jan 4, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

matthu

GAT stands for GLOBAL AVERAGE temperature :-)

Of course the Greenland cores show a higher local temperature. Every heard of 'polar amplification'? Try Google.

Once again, you display a disconcerting mixture of ignorance and bias. Would you be so noisily outspoken on any other topic about which you knew next to nothing? I bet you wouldn't. Ponder on that for a while.

Jan 5, 2012 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BDD - back to being rude as well as alarmist.

Of course I have heard of polar amplification. You will notice - that's why the figure quoted was 5 K.
And polar bear populations (currently at a historic high) survived - remember that.

Now what eveidence do you have to base your alarmism on? the output of several computer models.

One to model projected GATs.
One to model how sea ice would fragment when subjected to projected GATs.
One to model the mating ecology of polar bears.
One to model how polar bear behaviour would change as projected GATs are projected to fragment sea ice.
One to model how fast a polar bear is likely to use up its fat and protein stores.
Finally one to model the impact on the polar bears' survival.

What assumptions have been made about how the polar bear would be likely to adapt to changing environment? And where is the evidence that any of these models have been validated against real life data? (Note: validated, not calibrated.)

Do you have these details? Do you have any idea how to go about validating any of these models?

Jan 5, 2012 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Do polar bears adapt?

Clues:

Polar bear populations are currently at an all-time high. They have successfully survived at least four global warming periods, which were thousands of years longer and stronger than the present one. They have been shown to adapt to ice-free seasons in coastal and island tundra habitats like their very close relative, the brown bear.

Jan 5, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

matthu

I get short with you because you :

Are ill-informed, contentious and do not read threads (here, see above for likely outcome of continued warming elevating GAT to 3C or higher on PB pop).

Don't forget the polar amplification: what are the implications for a 3C increase in GAT on Arctic temperatures? There has been reams written about this. You need to acquaint yourself at least with the outline argument. Then you will understand what I am saying at Jan 3, 2012 at 11:21 PM. You will also understand why I am no longer bothering to be polite in the face of your continuing denial of the obvious.

This touches on a general point. You seem to believe that you can say what you like, however absurd, ad nauseam, and yet must be treated with the utmost seriousness and deference.

Why?

Jan 6, 2012 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

You seem to believe that you can say what you like, however absurd, ad nauseam, and yet must be treated with the utmost seriousness and deference.

Why?

It's called good manners, BBD; that's why.
And my comments and matthu's and shub's are only absurd in your eyes. There are plenty of people, even in your side of the argument, who accept that the arguments (especially about polar bears) are quite reasonable ones to make even though they may disagree with them.
Oops! I shouldn't have said that. I haven't done enough research and I can't quote all the peer-reviewed literature.

matthu
I think there's a disconnect here. I'm trying to make sense of this:

The relatively recently speciated polar bear survived the Eemian (peak GAT 1 - 2C warmer than present). Arguments that it will survive the effects of 3C or higher cannot be validated by reference to the Eemian.
to which you replied
Deep ice core records from Greenland show that the Eemian period was 5 K warmer in Greenland than in our present interglacial period and very stable.
and got the answer
Of course the Greenland cores show a higher local temperature. Every heard of 'polar amplification'?
Which I would have thought proves the point you were making. No?

Jan 6, 2012 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

MJ

Eemian GAT was only 1 - 2C warmer than present, which, with polar amplification manifested as +5C on top of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Ask yourself what the effect on the GIS and the Arctic generally might be - taking polar amplification into account, as per the Eemian - if GAT rises by 3C or more.

Then - at last - you might get the point of this discussion.

By the way, mean sea level during the Eemian was about 5m higher than present. Just thought I'd mention it while you were thinking about the probable effects of a further increase in GAT of between 1 - 2C.

Jan 6, 2012 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD