January 3, 2007

My Computer Model Shows Trouble Ahead

Blog brother JohnGalt alerted me to this on December 28. The clever operative was listening to NPR in his Audi, gained their trust and learned of their diabolical plot to use the Endangered Species Act to enact global warming legislation to protect the Polar Bear.

Of course, when I say "they," I refer to the crazed environmental wackos at the...Bush Administration. Just in time for an Edwards Presidential candidacy and a Democratic majority House and Senate, the Executive Brach is prepared to provide both cover and strategy. Sure glad I worked hard and gave money to elect Republicans.

As per usual, the science is not quite so clear as the politics, and the Wall Street Journal Ed Page does a great job skewering Polar Bear Politics today (paid link, sorry!)

"We are concerned," said [Interior Secretary Dirk] Kempthorne, that "the polar bears' habitat may literally be melting" due to warmer Arctic temperatures. However, when we called Interior spokesman Hugh Vickery for some elaboration, he was a lot less categorical, even a tad defensive. The "endangered" designation is based less on the actual number of bears in Alaska than on "projections into the future," Mr. Vickery said, adding that these "projection models" are "tricky business."

Apparently so, because there are in fact more polar bears in the world now than there were 40 years ago, as the nearby chart shows. The main threat to polar bears in recent decades has been from hunting, with estimates as low as 5,000 to 10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s. But thanks to conservation efforts, and some cross-border cooperation among the U.S., Canada and Russia, the best estimate today is that the polar bear population is 20,000 to 25,000.


It also turns out that most of the alarm over the polar bear's future stems from a single, peer-reviewed study, which found that the bear population had declined by some 250, or 25%, in Western Hudson Bay in the last decade. But the polar bear's range is far more extensive than Hudson Bay. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain concluded that the ice bear populations "may now be near historic highs." One of the leading experts on the polar bear, Mitchell Taylor, the manager of wildlife resources for the Nunavut territory in Canada, has found that the Canadian polar bear population has actually increased by 25% -- to 15,000 from 12,000 over the past decade.

Mr. Taylor tells us that in many parts of Canada, "polar bears are very abundant and productive. In some areas, they are overly abundant. I understand that people not living in the North generally have difficulty grasping the concept of too many polar bears, but those who live here have a pretty good grasp of what that is like." Those cuddly white bears are the Earth's largest land carnivores.

Let me get this straight: we have tendentious computer models that we have used to predict global warming. We take the output of these models and feed another computer model of polar bear population. And the results (just a minute here, I have to convert the linefeeds from DOS to UNIX...hit F5...) Yup, it looks bad.

I'm glad to see so much government work for computer programmers. Maybe we can just model the next election and save all the time and costs of campaigning. Why play the NFL season next year, just plug T.O.'s stats into the database...hit F5... Alright! The Broncos win!

Deleterious Anthropogenic Warming of the Globe Posted by John Kranz at January 3, 2007 12:40 PM

When I first heard that the Bush Administration was on board with this I was stunned - like William Wallace when he unmasks the black knight riding with the English and finds Robert the Bruce.

Where do I go again to get those "A village in Texas wants its idiot back" bumper stickers?

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2007 3:43 PM | What do you think? [1]