On page 115 of Climategate I write:
Another fib from Gore’s film is, “a new study shows that for the first time they’re finding polar bears that have actually drowned, swimming long distances of up to 60 miles to find the [Arctic] ice.”
His lines are accompanied by cheesy animation of what appears to be a narcoleptic polar bear struggling to climb aboard a lonely sliver of sea ice. The weight of the bear snaps the thin ice chip like a Rye-Crisp. The polar bear is doomed to drown.
This too, is another fascinating work of fiction.
It has always been assumed that Gore was referring to the 2004 account of the four polar bear carcasses that were found floating in the Beaufort Sea off the coast of Alaska. The dead animals were spotted by researchers from the U.S. Minerals Management Service (USMMS), who, for the past 25 years, have regularly surveyed the polar bear population of that region. Because the animals are instinctively hearty swimmers, the USMMS says that, prior to 2004, drowned polar bears had never been documented in their surveys. However, in late September of that year, a USMMS helicopter crew witnessed four carcasses, presumed to have somehow succumbed in the sea. Word immediately got out to activists, who quickly blamed it all on anthropogenic global warming.
Truth is, according to the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, Alaska, at the time of the observation, a normal amount of sea ice was covering the Beaufort. Therefore, it was unlikely that the drowned bears ran out of ice to rest upon. So, what happened? I personally suspected a fierce storm and dug into records of the National Weather Service. Sure enough, according to a September Weather Service summary, there was a potent, three-day storm that whipped up some pretty wild waves:
“The most significant event of the month was the combination of a low pressure area that moved from Bristol Bay east over the Gulf of Alaska on the 19th and 20th, and into the Canadian Great Lakes on the 21st, and a western Aleutian low that moved over the central Bering Sea on the 19th and 20th, and into southwest Alaska on the 21st. These developments brought vigorous westerlies and rough seas to the Aleutians and the Gulf of Alaska.”
The polar bears were not killed by a lack of sea-ice rest stops; most likely they were swamped by three days of high winds and rough seas. Gore conveniently left out that part of the story.
Now we come to find that the chief researcher who discovered the dead polar bears is being investigated for engaging in what I often call the Junk Science Shuffle.”
This is from Becky Bohrer of the Associated Press, July 28, 2011:
Charles Monnett was one of the scientists whose observation that several polar bears had drowned in the Arctic Ocean helped galvanize the global warming movement.
Now, the wildlife biologist is on administrative leave and facing accusations of scientific misconduct.
The federal agency where he works told him he was on leave pending the results of an investigation into “integrity issues.” A watchdog group believes it has to do with the 2006 journal article about the bear, but a source familiar with the investigation said late Thursday that placing Monnett on leave had nothing to with scientific integrity or the article.
The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation, wouldn’t comment further.
The watchdog, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, filed a complaint on Monnett’s behalf Thursday with the agency, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
Investigators have not yet told Monnett of the specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, the watchdog group’s executive director. His group released excerpts of interviews investigators conducted with Monnett and fellow researcher Jeffrey Gleason, in which they were questioned about the observations that led to the article.
I’m obviously confident Mr. Monnet has been caught doing the Junk Science Shuffle with Al Gore–in fact doing the dance with their pants down. And wow, it’s not pretty.
I won’t hold my breath for an apology from Al Gore.
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