Polar bears benefit from arctic warming, according reports in ScienceDaily 23 September 2020 and Global Change Biology, 23 September 2020, doi: 10.1111/gcb.15286.
An international team of scientists have studied a population of polar bears living in Kane Basin a region in the high Arctic between Ellesmere Island, Canada and Greenland. They compared the bears’ overall body condition, number of cubs and seasonal migration from 1993–1997 and also from 2012–2016.
Overall, the bears were doing well. The researchers wrote: “Our study provides evidence for range expansion, improved body condition, and stable reproductive performance in the KB polar bear subpopulation”.
The scientists also studied changes in sea ice over the three decades covering the study period. The ice in this region is thinning and shrinking, allowing more sunlight onto the sea. Researchers reported “The annual cycle of sea‐ice habitat in KB shifted from a year‐round ice platform (~50% coverage in summer) in the 1990s to nearly complete melt‐out in summer (<5% coverage) in the 2010s”. As a result there is an overall increase in “biological productivity”, i.e. increased growth of algae (seaweed) and therefore more fish and more seals living in the water.
The scientists suggest this improvement in the polar bears is only “transient” and refer to studies of other populations of polar bears that are not doing as well. According to the ScienceDaily article the decline is because “In summer when the sea ice melts, the polar bears fast on land”. The research team concluded: “The duration of these benefits is unknown because, under unmitigated climate change, continued sea‐ice loss is expected to eventually have negative demographic and ecological effects on all polar bears”.
Editorial Comment: How often have you read alarming predictions that polar bears will die out because they won’t be able to hunt for seals on the ice? However, the fact is the “complete melt out” of summer has not harmed any bears in this study. Therefore, we recommend scientists should look for different reasons for any declining conditions in other bear populations. Polar bears can eat many other things besides seals. They are omnivores that will eat almost anything they can find. Just ask those who live with them.
Rather than making dire predictions about “negative demographic and ecological effects” these scientists should be rejoicing in the increased biological productivity that is benefitting many living things.
Remember the advice to researchers given almost 2,000 years ago? ‘Test everything and then only keep the things that turn out to be true’. It’s actually in a letter an old man wrote to a group of young Greeks. See 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Climate Change scare tactics fail this big time.
For more on polar bears and changing climate see the question:
POLAR BEARS: have they evolved to live in cold climates if God made an ice-free good world? Can they live in warmer climates? Answer by John Mackay and Diane Eager here.
Creation Research News 30 September 2020
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