09 March 2007

Global Warming Impact Questioned

Annual Arctic air temperatures
relative to the 1961-1990 average
A day after the European Union agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by an arbitrary 20% from 1990 levels by the year 2020, a new survey of the number of polar bears in Canada's eastern Arctic suggests that the population is not declining, but has increased by 150% over the last twenty years because of mankind's interference in the environment, confirming the repeated claims of Inuit hunters that they were seeing more bears.

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.


Rebecca said...

I see the New Scientist is reporting that urban pollution and other aerosols have significantly reduced rainfall over hills in central China and are causing larger, more intense storms over the Pacific ocean, reducing rainfall in the areas where people need it - "Smog is changing the face of Earth's water cycle"

James said...

If you haven't already seen it, you might want to look at a few of the letters in today's Times on the subject: An inconvenient challenge. I particularly liked the idea that if David Miliband is to send Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, to all secondary schools, then a copy of The Great Global Warming Swindle should also be sent, so as to encourage proper debate.