Study: Predictions of polar bear extinction based on bad science

Predictions that global warming would wipe out polar bears are based on “scientifically unsound” computer models, according to a new study by a veteran zoologist at the University of Victoria.

Some scientists predicted that shrinking Arctic sea ice threatened to kill off significant numbers of polar bears in the coming decades. But those predictions were based on computer-modeled habitat loss; both models, released in 2006 and 2008, were produced by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The University of Victoria study found data collected in 2008 contradicted prevailing dire predictions.

“Those mid-2000s survival assessments predicted significant population declines of polar bears would result by mid-century as a consequence of summer sea ice extent reaching approximately 3-5 mkm2 on a regular basis,” zoologist Dr. Susan J. Crockford, who wrote the study, said in a statement.

“Data collected between 2007 and 2015 by field biologists reveal that polar bear numbers have not declined as predicted and no subpopulation has been extirpated [destroyed completely],” Crockford said.

Polar bears became the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2008 over concerns of future global warming. USFWS predicted bear populations would decline 67 percent as the sea ice they rely on for hunting continued to shrink. But polar bears have only become more abundant, despite warming.

“The hypothesis that repeated summer sea ice levels of below 5 mkm2 will cause significant population declines in polar bears must be rejected,” Crockford wrote. “This result indicates the USFWS and IUCN judgments to list polar bears as threatened or vulnerable based on future risks of habitat loss back in 2006 and 2008 were scientifically unfounded and suggests that similar dire predictions for Arctic seals and walrus may be likewise flawed.”

Recent rumors about polar bear extinction underscore another time when scientists discovered the creatures possess higher resilience to changing levels of sea ice than previously believed.  Another new study by Canadian scientists found “no evidence” polar bears are currently threatened by global warming.

“We see reason for concern, but find no reliable evidence to support the contention that polar bears are currently experiencing a climate crisis,” Canadian scientists wrote in their study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Ecology and Evolution.

Polar bears became an icon for environmentalists who claimed that melting Arctic sea ice could kill thousands of bears. Former Vice President Al Gore heavily promoted this viewpoint by featuring polar bears swimming for their lives and drowning in his 2006 film on global warming.

Fears about global warming’s impact on polar bears even spurred the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to say that the bear was “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. Polar bears were the first species to be listed because of unproven future harm caused by possible global warming.

Scientists increasingly are questioning alarmists, since there are many more polar bears today than 40 years ago.

In fact, polar bears likely survived past ice-free periods in the Arctic. There is no evidence of large scale marine life extinctions in the Arctic in the past 1.5 million years, despite the Arctic going through prolonged periods with no summer ice cover.

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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller

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About the Author: Andrew Follett

Andrew Follett covers energy and the environment for the Daily Caller.

  • Immortal600

    You would think that with all their failed predictions over the last 20 years they (AGW proponents) would get a clue, but not them. Their hubris is only exceeded by their ignorance.

    • Dano2

      All them thar failed perdikins uh-huh:

      Here’s the latest on how the models are doing.

      Here’s how the models are doing.

      A different look at latest run.

      An interesting depiction of latest run.

      Here’s how some older models are doing.

      And some older ones.

      And some older ones.

      And some older ones.

      And some older ones all together.

      And what several scientist said in the 1980s that was surprisingly accurate about Arab Spring.

      Here is the the very first climate projection from 1981, constructed from this paper. Pretty dang good, no? Not what the disinfo sites tell you, is it?

      Here is something from the 1970s that is surprisingly accurate as well.

      Here is an early prediction from an early pioneer of climate science, from 1975, 50 years ago. Pretty darn good. (source, and original paper)

      Heck, even Exxon scientists were pretty durn close in the early 1980s!

      This is where we are now.

      ============================================

      For those not chart-driven:

      Global Climate Models have successfully predicted:

      That the troposphere would warm and the stratosphere would cool.

      That nighttime temperatures would increase more than daytime temperatures.

      That winter temperatures would increase more than summer temperatures.

      Polar amplification (greater temperature increase as you move toward the poles).

      That the Arctic would warm faster than the Antarctic.

      The magnitude (0.3 K) and duration (two years) of the cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

      They made a retrodiction for Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures which was inconsistent with the paleo evidence, and better paleo evidence showed the models were right.

      They predicted a trend significantly different and differently signed from UAH satellite temperatures, and then a bug was found in the satellite data.

      The amount of water vapor feedback due to ENSO.

      The response of southern ocean winds to the ozone hole.

      The expansion of the Hadley cells.

      The poleward movement of storm tracks.

      The rising of the tropopause and the effective radiating altitude.

      The clear sky super greenhouse effect from increased water vapor in the tropics.

      The near constancy of relative humidity on global average.

      That coastal upwelling of ocean water would increase.

      References**

      o Troposphere warms, stratosphere cools

      Manabe and Wetherald 1967

      Manabe and Stouffer 1980

      Ramaswamy et al. 1996, 2006

      De F. Forster et al. 1999

      Langematz et al. 2003

      Vinnikov and Grody 2003

      Fu et al. 2004

      Thompson and Solomon 2005

      o Nights warm more than days

      Arrhenius 1896

      Dai et al. 1999

      Sherwood et al. 2005

      o Winter warms more than summer

      Arrhenius 1896

      Manabe and Stouffer 1980

      Rind et al. 1989

      Balling et al. 1999

      Volodin and Galin 1999

      Crozier 2003

      o Polar amplification

      Arrhenius 1896

      Manabe and Stouffer 1980

      Polyakov et al. 2001

      Holland and Bitz 2003

      o Arctic warms more than Antarctic

      Arrhenius 1896

      Manabe and Stouffer 1980

      Doran et al. 2002

      Comisa 2003

      Turner et al. 2007

      o Pinatubo effects

      Hansen et al. 1992

      Hansen et al. 1996

      Soden et al. 2002

      o Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures

      Rind and Peteet 1985

      Farreral et al. 1999

      Melanda et al. 2005

      o Temperature trend versus UAH results

      Christy et al. 2003

      Santer et al. 2003

      Mears and Wentz 2005

      Santer et al. 2005

      Sherwood et al. 2005

      o Water vapor feedback from ENSO

      Lau et al. 1996

      Soden 2000

      Dessler and Wong 2009

      o Ozone hole effect on southern ocean winds

      Fyfe et al. 1999

      Kushner et al. 2001

      Sexton 2001

      Thompson and Solomon 2002

      o Hadley Cells expand

      Quan et al. 2002

      Fu et al. 2006

      Hu and Fu 2007

      o Storm tracks move poleward

      Trenberth and Stepaniak 2003

      Yin 2005

      o Tropopause and radiating altitude rise

      Thuburn and Craig 1997

      Kushner et al. 2001

      Santer et al. 2003

      Seidel and Randel 2006

      o Tropical “super greenhouse effect”

      Vonder Haar 1986

      Lubin 1994

      o Constant average relative humidity

      Manabe and Wetherall 1967

      Minschwaner and Dessler 2004

      Soden et al. 2005

      Gettelman and Fu 2008

      ** Full citation list found here (plus much, much more).

      ============================================

      Other successful predictions:

      For example, the basics:

      1900: Frank Very worked out the radiation balance, and hence the temperature, of the moon. His results were confirmed by Pettit and Nicholson in 1930.

      1902-14: Arthur Schuster and Karl Schwarzschild used a 2-layer radiative-convective model to explain the structure of the sun.
      1907: Robert Emden realized that a similar radiative-convective model could be applied to planets, and Gerard Kuiper and others applied this to astronomical observations of planetary atmospheres.
      This work established the standard radiative-convective model of atmospheric heat transfer.
      1938: Guy Callendar is the first to link observed rises in CO2 concentrations with observed rises in surface temperatures.
      1956: Gilbert Plass correctly predicts a depletion of outgoing radiation in the 15 micron band, due to CO2 absorption.
      1961-2: Carl Sagan correctly predicts very thick greenhouse gases in the atmosphere of Venus, as the only way to explain the very high observed temperatures. His calculations showed that greenhouse gasses must absorb around 99.5% of the outgoing surface radiation. The composition of Venus’s atmosphere was confirmed by NASA’s Venus probes in 1967-70.
      1959: Burt Bolin and Erik Eriksson correctly predict the exponential increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere as a result of rising fossil fuel use.
      1967: Suki Manabe and Dick Wetherald correctly predict that warming in the lower atmosphere would be accompanied by stratospheric cooling. They had built the first completely correct radiative-convective implementation of the standard model applied to Earth, and used it to calculate a +2C equilibrium warming for doubling CO2, including the water vapour feedback, assuming constant relative humidity. The stratospheric cooling was confirmed in 2011 by Gillett et al.
      1975: Suki Manabe and Dick Wetherald correctly predict that the surface warming would be much greater in the polar regions, and that there would be some upper troposphere amplification in the tropics. This was the first coupled general circulation model (GCM), with an idealized geography.
      1989: Ron Stouffer et. al. correctly predict that the land surface will warm more than the ocean surface, and that the southern ocean warming would be temporarily suppressed due to the slower ocean heat uptake.

      Of course, scientists often get it wrong:

      1900: Knut Angström incorrectly predicts that increasing levels of CO2 would have no effect on climate, because he thought the effect was already saturated. His laboratory experiments weren’t accurate enough to detect the actual absorption properties, and even if they were, the vertical structure of the atmosphere would still allow the greenhouse effect to grow as CO2 is added.
      1971: Rasool and Schneider incorrectly predict that atmospheric cooling due to aerosols would outweigh the warming from CO2. However, their model had some important weaknesses, and was shown to be wrong by 1975. Rasool and Schneider fixed their model and moved on. Good scientists acknowledge their mistakes.
      1993: Richard Lindzen incorrectly predicts that warming will dry the troposphere, according to his theory that a negative water vapour feedback keeps climate sensitivity to CO2 really low.
      1995: John Christy and Roy Spencer incorrectly calculate that the lower troposphere is cooling, rather than warming.
      2007: Courtillot et. al. predicted a connection between cosmic rays and climate change. But they couldn’t even get the sign of the effect consistent across the paper. You can’t falsify a theory that’s incoherent! Scientists label this kind of thing as “Not even wrong”.

      Adapted from source.

      ============================================

      Just say derp!

      Best,

      D

      • Immortal600

        That link is garbage. Anybody with half a brain knows that the models are useless.

        Also, your attempt to be humorous with your childish spellings don’t help you at all. It just makes you look like the fool you are.

        • Dano2

          Weak bluff.

          You were refuted.

          Best,

          D

          • Immortal600

            Is that all you can say? I don’t think you even know the definition of the word ‘bluff’. You certainly haven’t used it correctly.

            All you can do is call responses ‘dis-information’ or something along those lines.

            BTW, you have refuted NOTHING, as usual.

            • Dano2

              Back to your basket.

              Best,

              D

              • Immortal600

                Come on, Dano. You must be able to do better than that, right?????

                • Dano2

                  Basket.

                  Best,

                  D

                  • Immortal600

                    That is stepping backwards. Upset today? Trump is now President and I know that hurts your feelings.

          • Brin Jenkins

            When, and by who?

            One word responses to others more learned writings is unimpressive. I would dismiss you as incompetent unable to refute, only be disagreeable.

  • Dano2

    Susan Crockford: fake expert.

    Best,

    D

    • ninetyninepct
      • Dano2

        Disinformation sites! Drink!

        Best,

        D

    • Otter

      Despite your claim (with Zero evidence to back it up), everything she says is TRUE. Every time an ‘expert’ has said something about the polar bears / ice situation, she has provided specific information for that exact group at that exact time in question and it has Not been what they claimed.

      • Dano2

        “TRUE”

        Best,

        D

        • Otter

          “Correct”
          Best,
          CO

          • Dano2

            The word I quoted was the locus of the failure of the argument. Repeating the failure won’t fix the failure.

            Best,

            D

  • Apr 20, 2012 “If I wanted America to fail”

    The environmental agenda has been infected by extremism—it’s become an economic suicide pact. And we’re here to challenge it.

    https://youtu.be/CZ-4gnNz0vc

  • Nov 30, 2015 Won’t Someone Think of the Polar Bears?!?

    Those cute, furry little Global Warming icons are in danger according to the bought-and-paid-for campaigners in the global warming alarmist industry. The truth, however, is (as always) the polar opposite of what the alarmists want you to believe. Join James for today’s Thought for the Day as he breaks down the lies and misinformation about polar bear populations and how these lies have been used to sell the climate change hype.

    https://youtu.be/dKRneha-4VE

  • Russ Wood

    The fact that there are STILL polar bears shows that they have survived ice ages and at least the Minoan, Roman and Medieval warm periods. Their Arctic habitat has shown more and less ice in recorded history. So, why should they be threatened NOW?

    • Dano2

      Because Arctic ice is lower than at any time in recorded history and polar bears depend upon pack ice to hunt? Is this a trick question?

      Best,

      D

  • A.J.

    A study that the author effectively admits is so bogus, she didn’t even get the paper peer-reviewed and gave a preposterous excuse for not having it peer-reviewed.

    Earth to Follett: if it’s not peer-reviewed and published, then it’s as credible as the dog crap I stepped in when I cut through my neighbor’s yard..