Too Much Spring Ice Threatens Alaskan Polar Bears

“Five meters of ice– about 16 feet thick – is threatening the survival of polar bears

in the Southern Beaufort Sea region along Alaska’s Arctic coast,” says this article on

Femail polar bear & cubs - US Fish & Wildlife Service
Female polar bear & cubs – US Fish & Wildlife Service

The thick ice could prevent ringed seals, the bears’ major prey, from creating breathing holes they need to survive in the frigid waters, according to Dr. Susan J. Crockford, an evolutionary biologist in British Columbia who has studied polar bears for most of her 35-year career.

This is the same time that female polar bears are just emerging with their newborn cubs from maternity dens either on or near the shore.

“Prompted by reports of the heaviest sea ice conditions on the East Coast ‘in decades’ and news that ice on the Great Lakes is, for mid-April, the worst it’s been since records began, I took a close look at the ice thickness charts for the Arctic,” Crockford noted in her Polar Bear Science blog on April 18th.

Ringed Seal - NOAA
Ringed Seal – NOAA

“Spring and early summer are really a critical time for polar bears,” Crockford said. “That’s when they need to eat as many seals as they can because that’s when they put on fat for the rest of the year. If they have trouble doing that in the spring, they’re in big trouble.”

The article, written by Barbara Hollingsworth, then points out that high levels of spring ice in the Beaufort Sea in 2004 and 2006 caused a decline in bear counts, which was mistakenly attributed to melting summer ice caused by global warming.

Also, the bear count did not take into account the fact that polar bears “can just move” to other areas if their food supply is limited, Crockford told “If some of those bears were part of that count, it would look like they died.”

See the entire article. It trashes the idea that global warming hurt the Alaska polar bear populations in 2004 and 2006, when bear counts were “one of the pieces of evidence used to have the bears listed as ‘threatened’ in the U.S.”

Thanks to Jack Hydrazine for this link

Dr. Susan J. Crockford website is here:
hanks to E Stephens for this link

15 thoughts on “Too Much Spring Ice Threatens Alaskan Polar Bears”

  1. How could this be? Big Fat Al Gore has been telling us for years that global warming is drowning these furry little creatures.

  2. What always amazes me about some scientists and the subject of polar bears. They seem to disregard the hardiness of the polar bear, which has lived through warmer interglacial periods than this present one, and through tens of thousands of years of a glaciated North America and Eurasia. This is one tough bear, and one which I would never want to meet in the wilds, face to face.

  3. I can recall…a few years ago, it was that the polar bears were going to die because of not enough ice…and they would get too tired swimming long distances to their food source. What a crock!!!!

    • I think Al Gore and a few of his friends should get a load of Salmon, then go Hand Feed the Polar Bears.

  4. Don’t worry the AGW crowd will simply blame it on global warming and no one in the media will call them out on it

    • Global warming scientists, politicians, criminals and perverts ought to be on the menu. After all polar bears ought to be made useful to humanity.

  5. the seals will stay at edges and the bears will go there, either genus not smart enough will remove its own genes from the pool. sounds about right.
    the fella that used aerial spotting of just FOUR dead polar bears after a heavy storm and extrapolated that with NO facts to back it that so called study removed and he copped flack n I believe left the employer.
    this one needs MAJOR public lets all send links far n wide:-)

  6. Hah! it reminds me of a comment I made to a co-worker years ago. I got tired of her constant complaining about the poor polar bears. So in a not so quiet voice I told her I had a solution to the problem. Gather up your eco friends and fly to Alaska and give yourselves to the bears!

  7. The climate of the earth is an ever-changing process upon which we humans have very little effect. The cycles of the sun with its massive solar flares or lack of cause an immediate change to the earth’s climate. Carbon dioxide, so very important for the growth of all plants, is a tremendously small percentage of “greenhouse gases”; water vapor, the largest, is caused greatly by the very things environmentalists so cherish… swamps, marshes, wetlands of all types that support a great many of earth’s little creatures.

    The other day a fellow was attempted to solicit money from me with the stated attempt of his organization to do away with to production of rice around the world. So I said, “is what you mean to say it that essentially you wish to do away with the millions of people who survive on rice as their primary source of protein?” He had nothing to say and he didn’t get my money.

    • What was the name of that org that wants to stop rice production? I gotta see their website. ui

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