Drowning polar bears scientist being investigated for misconduct

Is ManBearPig to blame for global warming?
Is ManBearPig to blame for global warming?

CBS News reports. (H/T Lonely Conservative via Reformed Seth)

Excerpt:

A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.

Charles Monnett is an Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

He has not been informed by the inspector general’s office of any charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, according to Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Monnett was told July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending results of an investigation into “integrity issues.”

On Thursday, Ruch’s watchdog group plans to file a complaint on Monnett’s behalf.

Lonely Conservative notes that this man’s government-funded “research” was featured by Al Gore in his “documentary”.

And here’s more on this story from the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Something about this story is very odd. Surely, under the Obama administration any government official who was discovered to have been “emotionalising the issue” in order to raise public awareness of the terrible dangers of ManBearPig would be given a promotion, and a Congressional Medal of Honor at the very least? Can it really be possible that BOEMRE remains so principled and inviolate that it still insists its employees cleave to the truth?

It’s definitely one to watch, anyway. After all, the “drowning polar bear” story was instrumental in the US Interior Department’s controversial decision in 2008 to have Ursus maritimus declared a “threatened species.” (Despite evidence that polar bear populations have increased roughly five-fold in the last 50 years: not so much a threatened species, you might say; more like a plague or an infestation). It also prompted the silly scene in Al Gore’s fantasy movie An Inconvenient Truth where an animated polar bear is shown drowning because of “global warming.”

At Watts Up With That you’ll find an excellent World Climate Report essay reporting on the background to the “drowning polar bear” story.

But the part of the study that garnered the press attention so much so that it has become ingrained in global warming lore was that Monnett et al. reported the sighting of four polar bear carcasses floating in the sea several kilometers from shore, presumably having drowned. All four dead bears were spotted from the plane a few days after a strong storm had struck the area, with high winds and two meter high waves. Since polar bears are strong swimmers, the authors concluded that it was not just the swimming that caused the bears to drown, but that the swimming in association with high winds and waves, which made the exertion rate much greater, sapping the bears of their energy and leading to their deaths. The authors also suggested that the frequency and intensity of late summer and early fall storms should increase (as would the wave heights) because of global warming and thus the risk to swimming bears will increase along with the number of bears swimming (since there will be less ice) and subsequently more bears will drown. But they didn’t stop there—they suggested that the increased risk will not be borne by all bears equally, but that lone females and females with cubs will be most at risk—putting even more downward pressure of future polar bear populations. And thus a global warming poster child (or cub) is born.

But does all of this follow from the data? Again, we haven’t heard of any reports of polar bear drownings in Alaska in 2005, 2006, or 2007—all years with about the same, or even less late-summer sea ice off the north coast of Alaska than in 2004, the year of the documented drownings.

How is that science?

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