The Global Warming Challenge

Evidence-based forecasting for climate change

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Archive for the ‘polar bears’ Category

Yes, Virginia, there is a polar bear

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Yes, Virginia, there is a polar bear
Margaret Wente
Friday, February 01

Every eight-year-old knows the polar bears are drowning. “I feel sad for them,” said one friend’s kid the other day as he bundled up for school. Maybe he’d seen those TV ads featuring adorable baby bears with voiceovers by appealing children. “The ice is melting because of global warming,” lisps a little girl over pictures of polar bears apparently swimming for their lives. “Baby bears have died. Please help them.”

No one wants the polar bears to die. Obviously the grownups should do something – and so they are. A host of scientists, environmentalists, legislators and worried citizens is pressuring the U.S. government to add polar bears to the list of endangered species. A decision is expected soon, and they’ve got an impressive array of studies to back them up. One study forecasts that the melting of the Arctic sea ice could kill off two-thirds of the polar bear population by 2050 by destroying their habitat.

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Written by climatebet

February 6th, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Q&A With Senator Inhofe

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Below are excerpts from the Q&A session between Armstrong and Senator Inhofe. Full Text of Examining Threats and Protections For the Polar Bear.

Dr. Armstrong, when you were talking, this chart up here, first of all, did you say that you had a paper that you wrote in 1978?

Mr. Armstrong. I was writing books on long range forecasting then.

Senator Inhofe. You were writing books in 1978?

Mr. Armstrong. Well, I have been in this field for 48 years now.

Senator Inhofe. Wow. I thought maybe I heard wrong. You are the forecasting expert, I recognize that.

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Written by climatebet

February 6th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Armstrong's testimony available on YouTube

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Below is Armstrong’s testimony from YouTube; it is approximately 6 minutes in length. Before you watch the video, please take this brief poll. Based on the image, what do you think will be the trend for the rest of the 21st century? Then, after watching the video, click to see Exhibit 3 found at the end of this post to see how Hunter et. al came to their conclusions.


I think the trend will be:
1) sharply upward
2) upward
3) slightly upward
4) hard to say
5) slightly downward
6) downward
7) sharply downward

View Results


Click here to see Exhibit 3. It shows the data used to estimate the key relationship.

Written by climatebet

February 5th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Spiked Online: Bearfaced Lies?

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Decimation of the polar bear: bearfaced lies?
A leading expert in forecasting tells spiked that research into the impact of climate change on polar bears has been shockingly shoddy.
Tim Black

Despite the steady growth of the polar bear population over the past 40 years – it now stands between 20,000 and 25,000 – there is no shortage of doom-laden reports about the bears’ imminent demise on our warming planet. Some refer to polar bears as the ‘canaries of climate change’. Indeed, so strong is the misery-mongering about polar bears that the US is currently trying to list them as an endangered species; and its campaign has been aided and abetted by several pieces of US government-sponsored research into polar bear numbers. Yet according to experts in the field of forecasting methods, official rumours of the polar bear’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

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Written by climatebet

February 5th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Armstrong presents testimony at the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

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On January 30, 2008, Scott Armstrong gave a talk presenting his findings to the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works’ “Examining Threats and Protections for the Polar Bear”. Click here for full text of the talk. The following are selected excerpts. Full text is available of the paper “Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public Policy Forecasting Audit” by Armstrong, Green, and Soon.

We conducted forecasting audits of two of the nine administrative reports that were prepared in 2007 to “…Support U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Polar Bear Listing Decision.” We selected the reports Amstrup et al. and Hunter et al. as they appeared to be the primary forecasting documents. Our concern was to establish whether the reports’ forecasts of the polar bear population over the balance of the 21st Century were the product of scientific procedures.
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Written by climatebet

January 31st, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Anchorage Daily News: Lacking studies, state still disputes polar bear 'doom'

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Ken Taylor has had easier jobs than this one. It’s not like the good old days chasing rhinos, climbing into bear dens and wrestling beluga whales in shallow water.

Click to enlarge

These days, sitting at a desk as deputy commissioner of fish and game, the veteran wildlife biologist has to muster the best science he can find to argue that Alaska’s polar bears are in good shape and need no special protection from hypothetical doomsday scenarios.

This requires Taylor to stand up to the prevailing wisdom about global warming in most of the world’s scientific community and the public — not to mention some pretty strong opinions in his own department.

But Taylor, the Palin administration’s point man on polar bears, argues that the scientific justification simply isn’t there — at least not yet — to declare the polar bear “threatened” and touch off a cascade of effects under the Endangered Species Act. A decision on the bears is expected from the U.S. Department of the Interior in the next few weeks.

“From my perspective, it’s very difficult to put a population on the list that’s healthy, based on a projection 45 years into the future,” Taylor says. “That’s really stretching scientific credibility.”

The state also pokes at studies used to predict the future of polar ice, quoting at length from the climate scientists’ own demurrals about margins of error. The chain of predicted problems following from those studies are based on “unsupported conjecture,” the state says.

The state’s critique was based on the work of a consultant, J. Scott Armstrong, a University of Pennsylvania expert on mathematical forecasting who has elsewhere challenged former vice president Al Gore to a $10,000 bet on whether the globe is truly warming.

Written by climatebet

January 27th, 2008 at 5:16 pm