You may have forgotten about it but one of the early stimuli that energized the recent wave of hysteria about the so-called “global warming” was a claimed observation of four dead polar bears floating on the sea after a thunderstorm in September 2004 – exactly when TRF was getting started.
The main relevant articles ultimately appeared in 2005 and 2006:
Potential effects of diminished sea ice on open-water swimming, mortality, and distribution of polar bears during fall in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea (2005)
Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming by polar bears in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea (2006)
The authors of the 2006 article, Charles Monnett (lead author of both articles) and Jeffrey S. Gleason, have de facto claimed that 5/6 of a group of polar bears died in a 16-year period and it’s surely due to global warming and it’s gonna get worse.
As the media – see e.g. AP and CBS news – just figured out, Charles Monnett, employed by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, was put on leave until the verdict about the investigation of his “integrity issues”. Obama administration officials are behind the investigation: they confiscated Monnett’s hard drives and notebooks, among other possible proofs.
Gleason, the second author in both papers, has told the investigators that none of the polar bears in either article had anything real to do with global warming (and they haven’t even mentioned the term global warming) and Monnett has added this spin to his interpretations (which has surely sweetened his life until 2011, I add).
Polar bears have developed modern techniques to adapt to global warming.
As you may determine if you study some literature, Charles Monnett is the world’s main scientist behind the idea that polar bears are increasingly drowning because of global warming – something that added a couple of scenes to Al Gore’s movie (which was a part of the investigation as well), too. Until these days, he de facto controlled the U.S. Arctic Wildlife research and decided about $50 million of its funding (see the AP report).
Arctic sea ice as of yesterday, via The Cryosphere Today. It’s Summer and the ice is receding, reaching the minimum in mid September. Some polar bears may have chosen the pack ice for the Summer which makes it impossible – as the gap has grown – to reach e.g. North Asia. If they got stuck on a shrinking area of pack ice near the pole and if the sea ice went to zero, they would be in trouble but be sure it won’t happen in 2011.
He was told the charges. They are related to his polar bear research and chances are 50-50 that they can either demonstrate that this whole research has been fraudulent or the same thing holds for the “climate change” interpretations of it. See Where are all the drowning polar bears? at World Climate Report (2008) for more details why Monnett’s results never looked right.
It seems increasingly likely that the research backing the global warming doctrine is corrupt at every conceivable level. We can’t know what the final verdict of the investigation will be – but I am pleasantly surprised that the Obama administration dares to investigate at all when the target is a top doomsday-believing would-be defender of a climatic holy cow, I mean the holy polar bear.
Just a trivial point: many people, including myself, tended to think in the past that the polar bears live near the North Pole where the ice has been diminishing in recent 3 decades (and doing many other things before that) which would clearly affect them. If you have these tendencies, you should check the map of their habitat. Of course that the normal range is on the firm land, near the Arctic Circle, far enough from the pole, and the experienced animals probably know damn well that the pack ice and especially open sea increase the likelihood of drowning. Right now in the Summer, when the ice is still receding, they’re probably careful not to get too far from the land. (The minimum ice is achieved around mid September.)
Five days ago, media highlighted the observations that polar bears may swim up to 700 km without a pause.
For many reasons, I don’t really think that the polar bears are endangered or threatened. But if they were, I would be a support of actions to save them and my guess is that it couldn’t cost more than a billion of dollars (a fancy Mercedes for each polar bear would cost just about that). At any rate, it’s preposterous to use polar bears as an argument in the attempts to reduce the integrated GDP by trillions of dollars.