Fri. Oct 18th, 2019

No, local weather change hasn’t pushed polar bears to take over a Russian city

Dr. Susan Crockford writes:

The MSM have gone mad for this story right now. I wrote up a submit yesterday debunking the AGW declare.

Polar bears have been terrorizing a Russian city on the Barents Sea since December

Since early December, a gaggle of 52 polar bears have terrorized the Russian village of Belushaya Guba on southern Novaya Zemlya. The aggressiveness of a few of the bears, their boldness in coming into native buildings and fearlessness within the face of the standard deterrents has triggered the native authorities to name a state of emergency to assist the city residents.

International warming is blamed for the issue however as is so usually the case, that declare doesn’t stand as much as scrutiny.

Massive group of polar bears on the Belushya Guba city dump on Novaya Zemlya, Russia. From the 11 Feb. 2019 story at The Day by day Mail.

Belushaya Guba is situated on the southwest coast of Novaya Zemlya within the japanese Barents Sea. It’s a city of principally navy personnel and their households:

The predictable claims that this case is because of international warming are confounded by the truth that the area has not had considerable sea ice by December in additional than 30 years, but that is the primary time the city has had such an issue with polar bears. Polar bears in winter could be very harmful, as they’re usually lean and desperately hungry. [except these ones are not, see update below]

UPDATE 11 February 2019: The worldwide media have gone mad for this story and a few images are actually out there. Finest sequence of images and video is at The Day by day Mail, UK (11 Feb 2019: State of emergency is said after greater than 50 polar bears invade Russian city and ‘chase terrified residents’). No new info is offered on the story itself however loads of hyperbole has been added. The images present how fats and wholesome these so-called ‘determined’ bears are, which makes the claims that international warming is accountable for the disaster much more ludicrous (see the ice charts under). Thus far, essentially the most over-the-top tackle this goes to the Washington Put up (11 Feb 2019: A ‘mass invasion’ of polar bears is terrorizing an island city. Local weather change is accountable): they went to essentially the most bother to make the hyperlink to local weather change and produce up the vilified ‘ravenous polar bear’ video that Nationwide Geographic was compelled to apologize for final August and the debunked 2007 prediction that 2/Three of the world’s bears can be passed by 2050 (Crockford 2017). The Guardian‘s effort is weak by comparability, as is CNN‘s. The information outlet (not a weblog) Day by day Caller has some quotes from this web page. Competitors amongst bears for scarce pure sources in winter makes dump websites and saved meals out there round Arctic communities all of the extra enticing. When polar bear numbers are excessive, as they’re now, this competitors can get fierce. It’s no surprise the bears don’t wish to go away.

The Barents Observer (9 February 2019) had essentially the most detailed report on the so-called ‘invasion’ (which appears to have come with out images of the bears concerned):

“From December 2018 to February 2019 a big group of polar bears have stayed across the settlement. There are 52 polar bears contained in the territory of the village,” says Deputy Head of the municipal administration of Belushaya Guba, Aleksandr Minaev, in a press release posted by the press-service of Arkhangelsk Oblast.

Minaev says a few of the bears are aggressive and have entered residential- and workplace buildings.

“Individuals are scared, afraid to go away their homes. Their each day actions are disrupted, mother and father are afraid to let the kids go to highschool and kindergarten,” Aleksandr Minaev, explains.

Thus far, Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Pure Assets has refused to allow capturing essentially the most aggressive polar bears which have attacked folks. Polar bears are on the Purple Record and have been protected within the Russian Arctic since 1956.”


Ice-map offered for the realm by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute’s Ice Service from Friday reveals how the Kara Sea off the east coast of Novaya Zemlya are full of very shut drift ice, whereas there are principally very open drift ice and open water alongside the west coast the place Belushaya Guba is situated.

The specialists now on their option to Belushaya Guba hope to search out methods to scare away the bears from the settlement. Nonetheless, if nothing else works to resolve the scenario, capturing animals might turn into the one and needed measure to make sure security, the assertion from Arkhangelsk authorities reads.

Zhigansha Musin is head of the municipal administration on Novaya Zemlya. He has been on the town since 1983 and says he has by no means earlier than seen such huge invasion of polar bears.”

Learn the remaining right here. A BBC account right here leaves out many pertinent particulars. The Straits Occasions report out of Moscow (9 February 2019, Aggressive bears ‘invading’ Russian Arctic archipelago) provides this element not included within the report within the Barents Observer, which suggests the issue is extra wide-spread than simply this one city:

“In January, a defence ministry official stated that tons of of disused navy buildings had been demolished on Novaya Zemlya as a result of polar bears have been settling inside them.”

Notice that the report doesn’t point out the physique situation of the bears concerned. They don’t seem to be reported as ravenous or skinny however I feel we will presume that they’re positively hungry, as are all bears right now of 12 months.


In line with Wikipedia:

“Belushya Guba is situated in a deep bay with the identical title, inside a geographical space that’s influenced by heat ocean currents. The pure situations enable year-round crusing of every kind and courses of vessels with minimal price for icebreaking assist. The bay is properly protected against excessive surf and drifting ice.”

Subsequently, Belushya Guba on southwest Novaya Zemlya is influenced by the identical heat currents which have stored western Svalbard free from winter ice because the early 1980s. The ice chart under is for 7 December 2005 (the earliest 12 months out there from the Norwegian Ice Service):

The final 12 months that I may discover an ice chart exhibiting ice on the west coast of Novaya Zemlya as early as the primary week of December was the typical November chart for 1982 (NSIDC), when there would even have been ice on the west coast of Svalbard:

Not coincidentally, the guy quoted within the Barents Observer story who stated he had been within the city of Belushaya Guba since 1983 (the 12 months after the situations proven above), claimed he had “by no means earlier than seen such huge invasion of polar bears.”

So, this winter in Belushaya Guba was completely different from the numerous ice-free winters that went earlier than.

Right here is the present ice chart for the area, from the NIS, for eight February (2019):

Final 12 months (2018), there was even much less ice at this level within the month (9 February):

Nonetheless, February ice charts that inform us little about why this 12 months, bears ended up on the west coast in winter, when they need to be out on the ocean ice attempting to find seals. For the reason that issues in Belushaya Guba began in early December 2018, let’s have a look at the ice situations round that point:

By late November, there was really sufficient ice for any bears that had spent the summer time on southeastern Novaya Zemlya to return to the ice and resume searching. Nonetheless, it additionally would have allowed any bears who had been on the ocean ice to come back ashore, in the event that they so desired. Nonetheless, by mid-December (see under), the cell pack ice quickly contracted, which might have stranded any bears left onshore:

By late January (see under), the ice was again on the southeast coast (shut sufficient for decided bears to stroll there) however by then, it’s seemingly the bears in Belushaya Guba have been entrenched. They knew there was some meals round and nobody was capturing at them. Don’t overlook that January by early March are lean occasions for polar bears: seals are very onerous to catch through the winter all through the Arctic and most bears are at their lowest weight of the 12 months by the point seal pups are born (Crockford 2017).


In line with latest analysis outcomes, regardless of low ice cowl since 2016, the inhabitants of polar bears round Svalbard and presumably within the Barents Sea as a complete are nonetheless growing, as they get well from many years of over-hunting within the 19th and 20th centuries (Aars 2018; Aars et al. 2009, 2017; Crockford 2017).

This incident of winter issues with polar bears and others like itreported from the Russian Arctic, virtually definitely replicate the confluence of a rising human presence within the Arctic and thriving polar bear populations, not lack of sea ice because of international warming.

Recall that explorer William Barents and his crew, who turned stranded on the shore of northeast Novaya Zemlya over the winter of 1596-1597, had limitless issues with polar bears (again when polar bears and sea ice have been actually considerable). That story offers an essential perspective on this 12 months’s troubles.

Republished with permission of the writer, initially printed at


Aars, J. 2018. Inhabitants adjustments in polar bears: protected, however shortly shedding habitat. Fram Discussion board Publication 2018. Fram Centre, Tromso. Obtain pdf right here (32 mb).

Aars, J., Marques, T.A., Buckland, S.T., Andersen, M., Belikov, S., Boltunov, A., et al. 2009. Estimating the Barents Sea polar bear subpopulation. Marine Mammal Science 25: 35-52.

Aars, J., Marques,T.A, Lone, Okay., Anderson, M., Wiig, Ø., Fløystad, I.M.B., Hagen, S.B. and Buckland, S.T. 2017. The quantity and distribution of polar bears within the western Barents Sea. Polar Analysis36:1. 1374125. doi:10.1080/17518369.2017.1374125

Crockford, S. 2017. Testing the speculation that routine sea ice protection of Three-5 mkm2 leads to a larger than 30% decline in inhabitants dimension of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). PeerJ Preprints 2 March 2017.


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