Really Sciency

Visit my other blog 'Really Sciency' looking at Climate Science and its portrayal, misrepresentation and denial in the media.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Collapasing Polar Bear Research?

In what feels like a follow up to a past post on Polar bears having to swim longer distances due to ice melt another (sort off) related  story has made the news.

It seems a scientist called Charles Monnett has been placed on administrative leave  because of "integrity issues." He and his team was responsible for publishing research in 2006 on deaths among polar bears swimming in the Beaufort Sea. Just about all the reports, like this one, have clearly made the case that these integrity issues were to do with that particular report with the clear implication that the validity of that report is now questionable. In fact WTFUWT actually states; 'his “research” is collapsing' while also linking the whole thing to AL Gore  who "he single-handedly inspired".

The problem is that it looks as if these accusations are all nonsense. I have no idea what these "integrity issues" are and until it all comes out in public saying anything is speculation but it seems that it has nothing whatsoever to do with his 2006 work or his scientific integrity because his employer, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, has obviously felt the need to publicly state that;

The agency placed Mr. Monnett on administrative leave for reasons having nothing to do with scientific integrity, his 2006 journal article, or issues related to permitting, as has been alleged. Any suggestions or speculation to the contrary are wrong.
So I think we can safely scratch all the insinuations about this research collapsing. What about Al Gores inspiration? Well Gore may well have seen this report and felt the need for inclusion in his famous climate change presentation but the threat to polar bears was well established before 2006. The 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment had already used research from as far back as 1999;

Changes in the extent and type of sea ice affect the distribution and foraging success of polar bears (Ferguson et al., 2000a,b; Mauritzen et al., 2001; Stirling et al., 1993). The earliest impacts of warming will occur at their southern limits of distribution, such as at James and Hudson Bays; and this has already been documented by Stirling et al. (1999)
Put simply, polar bears are far better of with the ice conditions they evolved to thrive in.

So Monnett's report was just more evidence adding to an already growing body of research and as my previous post on the subject shows that body of evidence has continued growing after his report. Still I doubt the facts will hold little sway with the anti global warming crowd and I'm sure they will be quoting and linking to these misinformed stories for years to come every time someone mentions the very real threat to the biodiversity in the Arctic from AGW.


  1. Off topic i know but your man Helmer has been upsetting the Daily Telegraph

  2. Thanks for that. There riots all kicked off while I was away on holiday but now I'm home it is good to see how little support a political Neanderthal like Helmer has in the main stream.

  3. Apropos the Polar Bear Man here's the latest from NPR, normally fair. Yes it's early to rush to judgment but the words ' the investigators seemed to accuse Monnett of improperly steering a contract' suggest to me it's all a fishing expedition .

  4. Now the latest is this . The case against polar bear man Monnett is definitely falling apart. Time to remind James Delingpole of his words when the story was first cooked up "definitely one to watch" he said! James has gone a little quiet on his commentary of polarbeargate LOL

  5. Thanks for that Hengist. As your link says; “A close examination of the record shows that the allegations pursued by the IG are based upon a mixture of false assumptions, misinformation and some just plain nutty notions,”

    But it still remains to find out what was the Inspector General's motive in all this.