Waiting for the Ice

Polar Bear Blog – The Northwest Passage Lost

In the race of northern shipping routes, its becoming pretty clear that the Northwest Passage has lost.  Still clogged with ice, we are entering yet another year of poor navigation across the Canadian Arctic.  Hudson Strait has had heavier ice than normal, Iqaluit's breakup was weeks later than normal and, well, its just not a great season for commercial shipping in northern Canada. The Northeast Passage, on the other hand, has been open for some time and traffic just seems to be gathering steam over there.  This is a bit of a mixed bag in terms … Continue Reading ››
bear-ice

Polar Bear Blog – Oh No There Goes Tokyo

Well, this could be an interesting year...  Bears are spread out along the coast with good sightings at Arviat, Seal River and Churchill.  For some bears, its been a banner year especially if they rode the sea ice far south into Ontario.  From all reports, its looking like a good year and hopefully this means a good cub production year as well, looks like our bears may need it. I've written about the Pacific Blob and a potential El Nino (The Little Boy) for a while now but now it looks like … Continue Reading ››
Copyright Simon Gee - CanUK Images

Polar Bear Blog – Hudson Bay Sea Ice

Sea ice is rapidly declining across the arctic and many bears are ashore for another season, up to 40% of the world's polar bears spend some time on shore through the year.  Overall, arctic sea ice is below the 30 year average but above the record lows of late.  Regionally, this means a lot of things, Russian bears as usual seem like they are in tough once again, Southern Beaufort bears could have some long swims ahead of them. On the other hand, Baffin and Hudson Bay bears are looking to have a pretty … Continue Reading ››
Bears play in the water near Kaktovik

Polar Bear Blog – Walking Hibernationish Sort of

A recent study out of Alaska is gaining a fair bit of traction in the media, raising alarm bells that 'polar bears are not able to adapt to climate change' and the usual hub-bub.  It is a fairly comprehensive study of polar bear biology from spring to fall, measuring body temperature, locomotion and that sort of thing.  It is also a study that turns a few common polar bear facts on their head. First of all, the study suggests that 'walking hibernation' is actually not that important an adaptation for polar bears, if it exists at … Continue Reading ››
Polar Bear Family

Polar Bear Blog – Last Call

April and May are a busy time for polar bears. Not only is it peak seal hunting conditions but its also time for bears to, well, get busy. By age four or five, females are sexually mature and ready to mate. As they go into estrous, they appear to leave a scent trail in their footsteps allowing male polar bears to track them. Preferably, the female ‘allows’ the male to court her and they mate over several days, often find a ‘secluded’ spot for their tryst. However, there is considerable competition for mates among the males … Continue Reading ››
bear-ice-cape

Polar Bear Blog – The Blob

So, the world of weather and bears just keeps getting more complicated.  While El Nino and La Nina have not really messed with the bears since the 1990s, we have a new weather phenomena poking its nose into the arctic. The 'North Pacific Mode' seems to be responsible for a 'warm blob' of water in the Pacific.  This mode drives cold, wet air to eastern North America and keeps the west (and Yukon and Alaska) fairly warm and dry.  This blob is not quite as influential as an El Nino but it … Continue Reading ››

Polar Bear Blog and Churchill Manitoba Travel Guide

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