The latest study follows one published by the National Center for Policy Analysis last summer demonstrating that only two of the bear's populations, accounting for about 16% of the total number of bears, are decreasing, and they are in areas where air temperatures have actually fallen, while another two populations, representing about 14% of the total, are growing, and they are in areas were air temperatures have risen.
Of course, man's interference comes in various forms and the bears may have been helped by an increase in their food supply as a result of reduced hunting of seals. Yet, a professor from World Conservation Union, quoted in the Daily Telegraph, conceded, "Contrary to concern over a celebrated photograph of a bear and its cub floating on a tiny iceberg, the animals often travel in that way. Bears will often hang out on glacier ice or large pieces of multi-year ice." As has been pointed out elsewhere, polar bears obviously managed to survive five centuries of the warm weather during the relatively recent Medieval Warm Period.
It will be interesting to see what results come out of the International Polar Year's research over the next two years.