We all know now that early warmist claims that polar bears were severely endangered by global warming were severely exaggerated. So this is interesting:
A US Federal wildlife biologist whose observation that polar bears likely drowned in the Arctic helped galvanise the global warming movement seven years ago was placed on administrative leave as officials investigate scientific misconduct allegations.
Although it wasn’t clear what the exact allegations are, a government watchdog group representing Anchorage-based scientist Charles Monnett said investigators have focused on his 2004 journal article about the bears that garnered worldwide attention.
Sure did. Here’s an example of the poley panic Monnett unleashed:
The researchers were startled to find bears having to swim up to 60 miles across open sea to find food. They are being forced into the long voyages because the ice floes from which they feed are melting, becoming smaller and drifting farther apart….
According to the new research, four bear carcases were found floating in one month in a single patch of sea off the north coast of Alaska, where average summer temperatures have increased by 2-3C degrees since 1950s.
The scientists believe such drownings are becoming widespread across the Arctic, an inevitable consequence of the doubling in the past 20 years of the proportion of polar bears having to swim in open seas.
“Mortalities due to offshore swimming may be a relatively important and unaccounted source of natural mortality given the energetic demands placed on individual bears engaged in long-distance swimming,” says the research led by Dr Charles Monnett, marine ecologist at the American government’s Minerals Management Service. “Drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack ice continues.”
But the fame! The money! The influence!
Charles Monnett, a wildlife biologist, oversaw much of the scientific work for the government agency that has been examining drilling in the Arctic. He managed about $50m in research projects….
Monnett and a colleague published an article in the science journal Polar Biology, writing: “Drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack ice and/or longer open water periods continues.”
The paper quickly heightened public concern for the polar bear. Al Gore, citing the paper, used polar bear footage in his film Inconvenient Truth. Campaigners focused on the bears to push George Bush to act on climate change, and in 2008, the government designated the animal a threatened species.
It was the first animal to be classed as a victim of climate change.
From an Inspector General investigator’s interview of Monnett, this glimpse of the issues and the integrity of “peer review”:
CHARLES MONNETT: – that right after we saw these bears swimming, this storm came in and caught them offshore, all right? And so if, um, if you assume that the, the, the 36 all were exposed to the storm, and then we went back and we saw tentially 27 of them, that gives you your 25 percent survival rate. Now that’s, um, statistically, um, irrelevant. I mean, it, it’s not statistical. It?s just an argument. It’s for, it’s for the sake of discussion. See, right here, “Discussion.”
ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].
CHARLES MONNETT: That’s what you do in discussions is you throw things out, um, for people to think about. And so what we said is, look, uh, we saw four. We saw a whole bunch swimming, but if you want to compare them, then let’s do this little ratio estimator and correct for the percentage of the area surveyed. And just doing that, then there might have been as many as 27 bears out there that were dead. There might have been as many as 36, plus or minus. There could have been 50. I don’t know. But the way we were posing it was that it’s serious, because it’s not just four. It’s probably a lot more. And then we said that with the further assumption, you know, that the bears were exposed or, you know, the ones we’re measuring later that are carcasses out there, it looks like a lot of them, you know, didn’t survive, so – but it’s, it’s discussion, guys. I mean, it’s not in the results. …
ERIC MAY: So combining the three dead polar bears and the four alive bears is a mistake?
CHARLES MONNETT: No, it’s not a mistake. It’s just not a, a, a real, uh, rigorous analysis. And a whole bunch of peer reviewers and a journal, you know –
ERIC MAY: Did they go through – I mean, did they do the calculations as you just did with us?
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I assume they did. That’s their purpose.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.