BBC lied. Times told another story, the one climate alarmists don’t want to be told. The London School of Economics and Politics smeared the Times’ author. So, Polar Bear Science stepped in to provide the science. This is the story of climate change and walruses, sparked by a wandering walrus named Thor who, oblivious to it all, had a wonderful visit to the UK.
Last month, the BBC reported that a World Wide Fund for Nature (“WWF”) “expert” said a walrus found resting on a beach on the south coast of England was an “extremely rare” sight for the UK.
Although Rod Downie, WWF’s chief polar adviser, said it would be “difficult” to attribute any pattern to long-term climate change, he added:
“The Arctic is witnessing the effects of climate change more rapidly that anywhere … Walruses are living on the front line of climate change and face massive threats as sea ice diminishes … Walruses like colder waters, so it would be counter-intuitive to see more of them here – as Arctic waters warm, they would instinctively go further north to colder waters.”
He said he hoped the interest in the Arctic visitor would encourage more people to take part in the WWF’s Walrus from Space citizen science project to count walruses from satellite images, to monitor the impact of climate change on their population numbers.Thor: Walrus sighting at Calshot beach extremely rare, expert says, BBC, 13 December 2022
In early January 2023, Matt Ridley wrote about a “walrus comeback” in an article in the Times which opposed the climate alarmists’ narrative of walruses being under threat. The Grantham Institute of The London School of Economics and Political Science published an article by their Policy and Communications Director Bob Ward attempting to defend the climate alarmists’ narrative and debunk Ridley’s article. It is worth noting that Ward, the Communications Director, has a background in media relations, journalism and freelance writing.
Ward titled his piece ‘Climate change deniers continue smear campaign against Sir David Attenborough.’ And as if proving that a lie is difficult to defend, most of his article was a smear campaign against Ridley and “climate change deniers” in general. In fact, the entire article was accusing “climate change deniers” of doing exactly what climate alarmists and their propaganda machine do.
The icing on the cake was Ward’s final sentence. “It is clear that Viscount Ridley and other climate change deniers are still prepared to resort to extreme and desperate misinformation tactics in order to promote their political agenda,” Ward, a Policy and Communications Director from The London School of Economics and Political Science, wrote. You couldn’t make it up!
In a recent article, see below, Polar Bear Science corrected Ward, using science and facts. In case you’re wondering, Thor has returned to the sea to continue with his journey north.
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Svalbard walrus thrive in the face of sea ice decline, mocking predictions of future catastrophe
The extended visit of an immature male walrus to the UK last month – dubbed “Thor,” presumably from Svalbard, Norway – has precipitated the tired and vacuous “victim of climate change” cries from the peanut gallery, including Bob Ward of the Grantham Institute. The facts, however, put all that to rest.
I wrote about Ward in my book, ‘Sir David Attenborough and the Walrus Deception’, because he has a habit of tenaciously filing official complaints when anyone says or writes anything sensible that just happens to challenge the reigning narrative that climate change is ruining everything and will drive virtually every beloved species to extinction.
And as usual, Ward is wrong again, this time about Atlantic walrus, who have been busily rebuilding their once-decimated populations brought to near-extinction levels by human slaughter over 350 years. Legal protections against hunting enacted by Norway in 1952 have allowed the species to recover, albeit slowly.
That’s because in some areas, like Svalbard, very few females were left to populate the old hauling grounds (NPI 2022), which markedly reduced the rate of recovery until very recently.
Atlantic walrus status
The IUCN Red List classified the Atlantic walrus as ‘near threatened’ in 2016: an important step below ‘vulnerable’ which takes into account current healthy population numbers. This was despite concerns the subspecies could possibly face a population decline of >10% within three generations due to sea ice loss – much less than the Pacific walrus suffered due to food deprivation back in the 1980s (Fay et al. 1989; Lowry 1985) before everything could be blamed on lack of sea ice.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service determined in October 2017 that the Pacific walrus is not being harmed by climate change and is not likely to be harmed within the foreseeable future (MacCracken et al. 2017; USFWS 2017). The IUCN Red List (2015) assessed the Pacific walrus as “data deficient” (Lowry 2015). Despite these findings, the IUCN listed the walrus species – i.e., both subspecies together – as ‘vulnerable’ (Lowry 2016), apparently based on modelled projections of future declines.
In Svalbard, however, Atlantic walrus numbers have been steadily rising as summer sea ice has been falling. The Norwegian MOSJ website has conveniently graphed this trajectory, copied below:
The numbers on the graph start with two baseline estimated numbers provided in 1980 and 1993 (1980=100 and 1993=741) and conclude with population counts from aerial surveys done in 2006, 2012, and 2018 (2006=2629; 2012=3886; 2018=5503). That’s 109% between 2006 and 2018, and 42% between 2012 and 2018: impressive increases for any species.
However, the 2016 North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (“NAMMCO”) Report on Atlantic walrus, updated in 2021, stated that the tendency of animals to pile on top of each other at haulouts makes it hard to see every individual, even if you are counting them in a photograph. Large numbers of animals in the water are similarly difficult to count, especially if they are close together and actively diving and swimming.
As a consequence, officials determined that all recent counts of Atlantic walrus were probably an underestimate of the true population abundance. This means the 2018 estimate based on an aerial survey was likely an underestimate, which means it’s highly likely, given other evidence, that numbers have continued to climb since then.
Arctic sea ice since 1979 has declined dramatically in summer – and very modestly in winter – but from 2007 to 2019, that declining pattern stalled. That’s not my opinion but the conclusion of Walt Meier of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (“NSIDC”), who showed the flat trend in a graph published in September 2019. The same pattern continues to 2022.
However, overall sea ice coverage is of little consequence to the issue of Atlantic walrus health and survival around Svalbard: what we need to know is what the ice has been doing in the Barents Sea, especially over the last 15 years or so.
Data on Barents Sea ice since 2006 has been published by Regehr et al. (2016) but only up to 2015. It shows the greatest decline of all Arctic regions: a loss of 4.11 days per year. It appears that this trend may have continued to 2022 (Frey et al. 2022).
In other words, the Svalbard population of Atlantic walrus increased by 109% between 2006 and 2018, even as summer sea ice declined markedly in the Barents Sea.
[In Franz Joseph Land, in the eastern half of the Barents Sea, walrus numbers in 2017 were estimated to be approaching “pre-hunting levels” (9,000-11,000)].
As did Matt Ridley, I call that walrus thriving in the face of sea ice loss. It makes a mockery of model predictions of future calamity based on summer sea ice loss because it is now clear that the less summer sea ice, the more food for walruses and other species (see below). Winter and early spring ice, on the other hand, is declining only modestly and that’s when walrus really need it to mate and give birth.
Primary productivity increases
A report by Frey and colleagues this year (Frey et al. 2022) confirms that primary productivity – which generates more food for walrus – has continued to increase due to less sea ice coverage in summer since 2003, especially in the Barents Sea (Crockford 2021).
In the graphic from the report copied below, note the marked overall increase in primary productivity in the Barents Sea compared to other regions (left column, 3rd from the top): it has seen the greatest increase in primary productivity, including a huge spike in 2017 – the year before the last walrus survey.
The increased amount of food available to all species, including walrus, means that the carrying capacity of the Barents marine ecosystem has also increased since 2003 – all as a consequence of dramatically less summer sea ice.
Despite all of the above, we shouldn’t forget the individual that started this discussion: a lone male estimated to be 3-5 years of age that visited the UK in December. In other words, an immature animal a decade away from what is considered breeding age for males – about 15 years. Mature walruses congregate on the sea ice to mate and give birth in the winter/early spring, January-April; immature animals and seniors past breeding age do not participate in this activity and are free to wander well away from the pack ice (Freitas et al. 2009; NAMMCO 2021).
Wanderer “Thor,” as long as he stuck to shallow coastal regions where he could feed easily, as he apparently did, was not in any danger from climate change on his UK sojourn, which had the added advantage of being well out of range of predatory polar bears.
- Crockford, S.J. 2021. The State of the Polar Bear Report 2020. Global Warming Policy Foundation Report 48, London. PDF HERE.
- Crockford, S.J. 2022. Sir David Attenborough and the Walrus Deception. Amazon KDP.
- Fay, F.H., Kelly, B.P. and Sease, J.L. 1989. Managing the exploitation of Pacific walruses: a tragedy of delayed response and poor communication. Marine Mammal Science 5:1-16. PDF HERE.
- Freitas, C., Kovacs, K.M., Ims, R.A. et al. 2009. Deep into the ice: overwintering and habitat selection in Atlantic walruses. Marine Ecology Progress Series 375:247-261.
- Frey, K.E., Comiso, J.C., Cooper, L.W., Garcia-Eidell, C., Grebmeier, J.M. and Stock, L.V. 2022. Arctic Ocean primary productivity: the response of marine algae to climate warming and sea ice decline. 2022 Arctic Report Card. NOAA.DOI: 10.25923/0je1-te61
- Kovacs, K.M. 2016. Odobenus rosmarus ssp. rosmarus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened
Species 2016: e.T15108A66992323. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T15108A66992323.en
- Lowry, L. 1985. “Pacific Walrus – Boom or Bust?” Alaska Fish & Game Magazine July/August: 2-5. pdf HERE.
- Lowry, L. 2015. Odobenus rosmarus ssp. divergens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T61963499A45228901. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T61963499A45228901.en.
- Lowry, L. 2016. Odobenus rosmarus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T15106A45228501.
- MacCracken, J.G., Beatty, W.S., Garlich-Miller, J.L., Kissling, M.L and Snyder, J.A. 2017. Final Species Status Assessment for the Pacific Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens), May 2017 (Version 1.0). US Fish & Wildlife Service, Anchorage, AK. Pdf HERE (8.6 mb).
- NAMMCO. 2021. Atlantic walrus. North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission Report for 2016, updated January 2021. Tromso, Norway. https://nammco.no/topics/atlantic-walrus/
- NPI (Norwegian Polar Institute). 2022. Walrus population in Svalbard. Environmental Monitoring of Svalbard and Jan Mayen (MOSJ). http://www.mosj.no/en/fauna/marine/walrus-population.html
- Regehr, E.V., Laidre, K.L, Akçakaya, H.R., Amstrup, S.C., Atwood, T.C., Lunn, N.J., et al. 2016. Conservation status of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to projected sea-ice declines. Biology Letters 12: 20160556. http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/12/12/20160556
- USFWS 2017. “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Findings on Petitions to List 25 Species as Endangered or Threatened Species” [pdf] 4 October
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Ever wonder why the graphs showing arctic ice decline start in 1980? Did they not measure ice extent before then, or is it a convenient place to start when you want to push the “decline” narrative?
I need to point this out!! Please can you ‘correct’ your contradiction of the last paragraph -**see below … when you speak about the ‘times’ article by Matt Ridley speaking about scientific facts in opposition to the ‘Climate Alarmist Agenda!
** “You day that ‘Ward” makes final statement – ** please look up this up – if he is pushing the ‘climate change Agenda in Grantham, then surely he wouldn’t be making that statement against the ‘politicsl climate narrative”
This statement is ‘Key’ but I don’t think 🤔 it makes sense in conjunction with what you have previously written.
Hi Susanna, I’m not sure I’m understanding your point. In the meantime, I have identified who “they” is in the second sentence of the article and reordered the sentences in the paragraph directly under the quote from BBC’s article. It may help clear things up?
In a nut shell: Ward (Grantham Institute) is pushing the climate change narrative which claims that walruses are under threat from climate change and melting of sea ice etc. Ward is smearing Ridely (author of the Times article) who says walruses are making a comeback ie.. not under threat from climate change as claimed.
Still waiting for those beach front homes to have a flood sale…
Ready for the #WEF’s next stunt to push #smartcities and #rewilding ? Fancy having your house bulldozered? How??? Consider this: what does radiation have in common with a virus? Answer, both radiation and viruses are INVISIBLE, which is quite handy if you’re an evil Globalist. We’re also told that they’re both major public health threats. In the future, could we see ‘dirty bomb’ false flags used to clear humans out of areas that the central planners have decided to re-wild? What do you think? Far fetched, or on the money?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfTvR1u_z6s
These days “conspiracy theory” usually takes about 6 months to become conspiracy Fact….
We had ‘Weekly Readers’ in the States and one many children of the late 60’s and early 70’s probably do recall is the report concerning Geo-Engineering to create rain where rain seldom fell to promote crop growth in dessert regions. Of course, Geo Engineering WEATHER WAS PERFECTED.
Geo Engineering began during WW2 according to documentation and it was perfected after several decades; somewhere around the 80’s which is the exact same time the Prostitute Politicians placed their wealthy, eugenicist Globalist Minions of the 1970’s into a ‘Shadow Govt. in the U.S. by Jimmy Carter called ‘The Trilateral Commission.’ It was filled with the Agents of the OSS/CIA and DOD…The spooks spies still remaining following WW2. It was in the 70’s when MEDIA, MOVIES and TV ADS began to squawk about ‘Global Warming’ first and then ‘Global Cooling’ which was going to kill the whole planet by 2000. 2000; of course it would be a CERTAINTY by 2010. Of course, folks my age and older were too intelligent to believe in anything the Psycho-Predators with their OWNED College Science Flunkies began to scream about.
Now, the ‘Warming and Cooling’ has been RE-IMAGINED as ‘CLIMATE CHANGE’ and the Psycho-Predators, like Al Gore, who seemed to disappear when nobody believed the manure spewing from their mouths, SCREAMING FROM THE PAST ARE SCREAMING EVEN LOUDER, NOW.
The older, wiser folk have been here before and DO NOT BELIEVE THEIR B.S. The ‘COMMON CORE’ Computer-Addicted kids of the 2000’s we raised have been indoctrinated/brainwashed. They have gulped Jim Jone’s Kool-Aid to the last drop and now line-up at CVS to get the latest of the Gene Therapy Bioweapons the Psychopaths at Big Pharma, Legacy Media and the Gates/Fauci Medical Complex use for DEPOPULATION and to fill their bank accounts.
The old Nazi Bankers were allowed to live following WW2 by U.S. and British Nazi Sympathizing International Bankers. They moved the money allowing the Axis War Supply Chains and they were all GUILTY OF THE MURDER OF MILLIONS of their own people. They installed the old Nazis BACK INTO THE OLD BANKING SYSTEM and were those creating the Banking System currently used today which now seeks Absolute Control as in China through the CCP.
They placed the GREEDY, EUGENICIST BANKER SYNDICATE IN PLACE TO LEAD TO WORLD TAKE OVER AS DIDN’T SUCCEED IN WW2 and the youth are now STUPID as THEY CREATED AND TAUGHT THEM TO BE while we parents all went to work to deal with the CRISES THEY CREATED AND THE WARS THEY BEGAN…TO GET RICHER TO LEAD TO WORLD TAKE OVER AS THE NAZIS ORIGINALLY PLANNED.
With fighting-age kids being as stupid, gullible and spoiled/lazy as they are; it’s possible the Technocrat Authoritarian Nazis could succeed this time. And, nobody will rise up until there has been too much misery of manmade starvation/exposure to the elements and many have been tortured, murdered, enslaved and forced to die for their organs as in China.
Seems to be a fact…We’ve loved our kids too much. To much love has created gullible, naive, SPOILED, STUPID monsters willing to believe garbage having no capacity to change their minds even as they watch their own friends die, lose babies, develop heart problems and myriad other illness and injury from the POISONS the Activist Antifa/BLM Militia hero’s suggest they get.
The YOUNG were those brainwashed into murdering parents, villages, siblings, etc. during the Chinese Revolution…Ending with an estimated 100 MILLION murdered. Is THIS GOING TO BE THE U.S. in five or ten years?
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hah im laughing myself silly..so walruses want and seek out cold waters..hmm question..what about the seals and walruses who live in southern california..please enough with the lies already so sick of it all..want to save the world ? want to stop climate change? hold your breath!! shut up the world will be instantly better less noise and less co2 from the old wind bags.
Are you going to be the first to hold your breath?
In an interview, Patrick Moore who co-founded Greenpeace, was less than complimentary when speaking of David Attenborough. Apparently, in one of his documentary’s there was a scene in which walruses were supposedly throwing themselves off a cliff because of hunger. However, the real reason was that there was a group of polar bears approaching with the intention of eating them. The walruses had two choices. Either go over the edge, which gave them a slight chance of survival or, stay put and be eaten alive.
the fact that the documentary of al gores..an inconvenient truth is actually located under fiction in both libraries bookstores and on web stores
and in fiction according to the sellers of movies and videos..this was a giant flag for me back when it came out..how stupid are people really..as a whole people should be highly ticked off at how ignorant these liars think and insist we are..they never answer a question ..answering a question with yet another question that sends you off on rabbit trails is another clue that its all lies..a new ice age.. global warming..
climate change..now since it hasnt happened they want to dim the skies to block sunlight..they are crazy
Is NYC under water yet? (predicted in 1998 to occur by 2015)
NO? Ok then, call me when that happens…. then I will care…
[…] Read More: Thor is not an indication that walruses are in danger due to “climate change” […]
How many more lies have been told about all manner of things? Dr Strangelove? If the radiation from nuclear bombs is so deadly, how come Hiroshima and Nagasaki were immediately re-built and occupied? Also those who watch Bald and Bankrupt’s channel on a popular video hosting platform will have seen his visits to see elderly Babushkas who have been living happily off-grid inside Chernobyl’s exclusion zone for decades, surviving of food grown on irradiated soil. Things that make you go hmmm. Now consider this: what does radiation have in common with a deadly virus? Answer, both radiation and viruses are INVISIBLE, which is quite handy if you’re an evil Globalist. We’re also told that they’re both major public health threats. In the future, could we see ‘dirty bomb’ false flags used to clear humans out of areas that the central planners have decided to re-wild? What do you think? A far far fetched conspiracy theory, or am I bang on the money??