Polar Bears: Reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated

Here we go again.  Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, no less, who ought to know better, is warning (with a huge lack of originality) that the survival of polar bears in the Arctic is under threat from “global warming”.  Apparently he predicts that summer Arctic ice will cease to exist within four years (odd, that, as there’s been no effective net warming for fifteen years).  This will deny the pin-up predators their happy hunting grounds, and they will all starve to death.

Let’s try to get this in perspective.  First of all, the world has been warming, slowly and fitfully, since the Little Ice Age in the 17th & 18th centuries.  Say a couple of hundred years (since way before serious industrialisation, by the way, which rather undermines the anthropogenic theory of climate change).  During this time, the polar bear has done rather well, with repeated studies suggesting that numbers doubled or trebled over the last decades of the 20th century.  But climate zealots are interested in computer-based projections, and rarely care a damn about what is actually happening in the real world.  “I know the theory, don’t bother me with the facts”.

And if we’re going for perspective, let’s look at the longer term.  Viewed against the context of the last 12,000 years — that is, over the current Interglacial period — today’s temperatures are not at all exceptional.  As I love to say, the recent slight warming is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term, natural climate cycles.  It was warmer in the Roman Optimum and the Mediaeval Warm Period.  It was consistently warmer over the long-term in the early millennia of the Holocene.

Of course there weren’t too many earth-observation satellites in polar orbit during those earlier periods, but if (I repeat “IF”) the Arctic summer ice is about to go, then we can be sure that it also went during those earlier periods.  Yet the polar bears survived just fine.  They survived during the previous 100,000 years of severe glaciation.  They were about in the previous (Eemian) Interglacial 120,000 years ago — fossils indistinguishable from modern polar bears have been recovered from that period.  And they, or their immediate ancestors, have also survived through the last 2 million years of Ice Age conditions interspersed every 100,000 years or so by a 10,000 year interglacial.

Polar bears evolved in these conditions.  They have experienced them, and survived them, again and again.  So provided that we humans don’t hunt them to extinction with high-powered hunting rifles, it’s a racing certainly they’ll be here for the next interglacial, in A.D. 100,000.  Indeed I’d give the polar bear better odds of survival to A.D. 100,000 than I’d give the human race.

This is a microcosm of the whole Global Warming Debate.  Again and again the IPCC and assorted green zealots present theories, models and forecasts with a cavalier disregard of the facts on the ground.  Above all, they fail to address the key challenge: that in a geo-historical context, nothing whatever has happened that requires any special or anthropogenic explanation.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Polar Bears: Reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated

  1. Of course accept what you say about polar bears.
    A further thought.
    Anthropogenic climate change? Not really.
    But what about anthropogenic population explosion?
    Actually, that is really important. I have always been worrying away at the problem of why population increases and decreases.
    We haven’t got the figures, but it does seem that in the 12th century, and in the Roman period and also in the 6th century BC, the climate got a bit hotter and population – as far as our very limited knowledge extends – increased. But I am afraid that I shall have to leave the figures to the UES and NASA. Especially those of central Africa and China.
    Was that because the earth was warmer at the time?
    In the olden days, people who knew everything, like my old history teachers, used to explain it away by “plague”.
    I have always wondered about that.

  2. Typo: for UES please read UEA

    • When it gets cooler, the population of polar bears increases killing far more humans, and causing our poulation to decrease. When it gets warmer, polar bear numbers decrease, and human population increases.

  3. Climate Change Con says:

    Polar Bears & Global Warming – Dr Mitch Taylor

  4. Charles Wardrop says:

    Thanks, Mr Helmer for the reassuring, common sense!

    Do you agree with James Delingpole’s arguments in”Watermelons”? That also makes perfect sense to me, but I just can’t understand the Cambridge Professor’s becoming a victim of the anti-commonsense view. Can he possibly have been intellectually and/or otherwise corrupted, which explanation(s) seem to fit many of the UK & Scottish Governments. Surely they can be absolved from simple ignorance and stupidity, or even mental infirmity, as in “Mr Chicken-Licken.”

  5. John Russell says:

    Here we go again. “…No effective net warming for 15 years”?

    That’s a total denial of the evidence. Year on year, Arctic sea ice — that is, the polar bear’s habitat — continues to melt at an unprecedented rate. Here’s an animation for the last two decades produced using real ice thickness data by Ignatius Rigor, a scientist from the University of Washington. Watch and learn.

    Now show us your data, Roger; rather than just your unscientific opinions.

    • Global warming stopped in Nov 1996 says:


      Dr Syun Ichi Akasofu founding Director and Professor of Physics, Emeritus, of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks from its establishment in 1998 until January of 2007. Dr Akasofu has published more than 550 professional journal articles

      In his peer reviewed work, Akasofu has evidenced that recent Arctic warming is entirely consistent with what would be expected of the earth’s recovery from the Little Ice Age :


      “it is shown that the Earth has been warming from about 1800–1850 to 2000 at approximately the same rate, so that there is no definitive proof that “most” of the warming after 1975 is due to a manmade greenhouse effect (Figure 2b). This is simply their hypothesis. It is well known that CO2 molecules can cause the greenhouse effect and that its amount in the atmosphere is increasing, so it is natural to hypothesize that CO2 is one of the causes of the warming trend. However, it is not appropriate to conclude a priori that the 0.6°C rise is mostly due to human causes without carefully subtracting the contributions of natural changes. Natural causes are almost ignored in the IPCC study except for some obvious causes (e.g., solar changes and volcano effects). The results presented in this paper show that natural changes are substantial and, further, that there is nothing unusual about the present temperature rise.”

    • http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent_mono.htm

      This shows the satellite data.
      I do hate giving references, but there you are.

  6. Pingback: Polar Bear Population, are they endangered? | Environment Views

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s