Polar Bear Habitat Replace Mid-August – Watts Up With That?

From polar bear science

Oddly enough, the Arctic melting season has stalled after light winter ice cover on Canada’s east coast and a slightly earlier break in sea ice in Hudson Bay. That’s not my opinion, it’s the observation made by the sea ice experts at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC):

The loss of sea ice in the first half of August has stalled, although the ice in the Beaufort Sea is finally weakening. The North Sea Route appears to be closed in 2021, although it has been open every summer since 2008.

Overall, the ice cover is well above the value of 2012 (the lowest September extent since 1979) and for many years since:

Russia and the North Sea Route

No getting through this ice, shown below on August 19, 2021, close-up (NSIDC MASIE):

Chukchi Sea (Western Arctic) in detail

Wrangel Island is still half covered in ice, as is most of the Chukotka coast. Too much ice for walrus to haul on Russian beaches, and not a word from them on land in Alaska either (although they were expected last month, of course).

Canada and Alaska

There is still a lot of ice in the western part, Kane Basin (between Ellesmere Island and northwest Greenland) and in the Foxe Basin, where the polar bear attack took place 10 days ago:

As the graphics above and below show, all routes through the North American Northwest Passage are also closed:

Beaufortsee in detail

The sea ice in the Beaufort Sea has not been that big since 2005:

Barents Sea and Svalbard

As can be seen from the following graph, the ice around Svalbard has only fallen below normal levels in the last few days. Although ice stands were very low last summer and in some places during winter, data collected on polar bears in the area this spring shows that they are still doing fine.

PS. Oddly enough, the town of Churchill has not released any more polar bear problem reports since July 12th, although they are usually released every week between the dissolution and the freezing in Western Hudson Bay. No idea why. The first two are included in this post.


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