'Every year climate science seems to get less sure until I want to shout 'Just vanish back into obscurity until you've got a handle on this mess! Go on, go to your room and don't come out till your predictions last longer than it takes the ink to dry on them." '

Jun 29, 2013 'TinyCO2' commenting at Bishop Hill


Friday, 19 July 2019

Teachers! - please don't teach climate alarm fallacies. Arctic Sea Ice and Polar Bears Section

Susan Crockford is one scientific specialist who has hit back at the Climate Crisis Science Establishment with many excellent posts, papers, and books.  Recently, she published:

'10 fallacies about Arctic sea ice & polar bear survival: teachers & parents take note'

1. ‘Sea ice is to the Arctic as soil is to a forest‘. False: this all-or-nothing analogy is a specious comparison

2. Polar bears need summer sea ice to survive.  False: polar bears that have fed adequately on young seals in the early spring can live off their fat for five months or more until the fall, whether they spend the summer on land or the Arctic pack ice.

3. Ice algae is the basis for all Arctic life. Only partially true: plankton also thrives in open water during the Arctic summer, which ultimately provides food for the fish species that ringed and bearded seals depend upon to fatten up before the long Arctic winter.

4. Open water in early spring as well as summer ice melt since 1979 are unnatural and detrimental to polar bear survival. False: melting ice is a normal part of the seasonal changes in the Arctic.

5. Climate models do a good job of predicting future polar bear habitat. False: My recent book, The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened, explains that the almost 50% decline in summer sea ice that was not expected until 2050 actually arrived in 2007, where it has been ever since (yet polar bears are thriving).

6. Sea ice is getting thinner and that’s a problem for polar bears.  False: First year ice (less than about 2 metres thick) is the best habit for polar bears because it is also the best habitat for Arctic seals.

7. Polar bears in Western and Southern Hudson Bay are most at risk of extinction due to global warming. False: Ice decline in Hudson Bay has been among the lowest across the Arctic.

8. Breakup of sea ice in Western Hudson Bay now occurs three weeks earlier than it did in the 1980s. False: Breakup now occurs about 2 weeks earlier in summer than it did in the 1980s.

9. Winter sea ice has been declining since 1979, putting polar bear survival at risk. Only partially true: while sea ice in winter (i.e. March) has been declining gradually since 1979 (see graph below from NOAA), there is no evidence to suggest this has negatively impacted polar bear health or survival, as the decline has been quite minimal.

10. Experts say that with 19 different polar bear subpopulations across the Arctic, there are “19 sea ice scenarios playing out (see also here), implying this is what they predicted all along. False: In order to predict the future survival of polar bears, biologists at the US Geological Survey in 2007 grouped polar bear subpopulations with similar sea ice types (which they called ‘polar bear ecoregions,’ see map below).


Given that polar bears have been promoted as being under acute threat from our CO2 emissions, there will be many teachers using them as attention-getters in lessons on climate change.  Here's hoping that they would not want to mislead their pupils.  After all, many are being scared witless as it is, and if that is due to duff (or probably more commonly, inadequate) information that would be quite a shameful thing.  As Crockford notes in her title, parents should also be keeping their eyes on this.

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