The Polar Bear Pic They Won't Show You

February 4th, 2007 12:23 PM

Images available here.

h/t Instapundit - Ann Althouse calls attention to an image of Polar Bears making the rounds, again - it was allegedly taken by Dan Crosbie in 2004 and is currently number one on Yahoo's photo list. The image I have up at right also involves Dan Crosbie from the same period in 2004 during a scientific trip during which they carried rifles to run off polar bears while planting equipment in the ice - ice that was much thicker than they expected it to be. (pertinent excerpted text at bottom)

But what's this? Scroll down and you'll see the same picture was first published with a credit to another person on the trip and the caption made it clear what was really going on.

Mother polar bear and cub on interesting ice sculpture carved by waves. photo © Amanda Byrd.

Wow! I didn't know Global Warming caused .... waves, too! Update: Apparently Amanda is also something of a poet.

 The image has been used in a variety of environmental campaigns over the years, sans the original caption, of course. Here it was used to solicit public comments to Save da' Bears! They've now been, or soon will be listed as an endangered species. It seems the picture makes some people cry. But the Global Warming folks know that, based on this report. Read the bragging over the media manipulation:

One of the credos of journalism is to seek balance in a story, to cover "both sides." But reporters' dogged tendency to do so on the issue of a human role in global warming has had a detrimental impact on the public's understanding of the subject, say many scientists who criticize media coverage of climate change.

In just the last year White said he has noticed a significant shift in media coverage of the subject.

"The reporting is better because I don't see the 'other side' anymore."

And the polar bears make good ammunition - when the caption is inaccurate, of course:

White isn't averse to using elements that people can grasp and relate to, like vanishing sea ice and what that means for polar bear habitat and survival.

"Scientists miss that, " White said. "Many of my colleagues complain that it's all about polar bears -- it is all about polar bears, it's all about seals. You use the ammunition you have."

And they basically admit to exploiting Hurricane Katrina, too.

White also said Hurricane Katrina has been a major influence on the press's new focus. While it's impossible to say conclusively that global warming is to blame for Katrina's strength, White said, the storm was nonetheless a huge catalyst for a growing press interest in warming and rising seas and their effects.

"I've come to appreciate the power of these seminal events," White said. "These are galvanizing events that focus people's attention on the problems."

The text below is from first link above to a trip journal in which the picture originally appeared. Only the ice was so thick they almost gave up and the ammunition they were concerned with was reserved for polar bears, not saving them. The infamous polar bear pic has a home here with three others at Environment Canada.

The ice ends up being almost too good. It is a hard old floe, and takes us a long time to drill with the 2" diameter hand auger. After drilling 4 m, we think that we are almost to the end, but don't have enough extensions. Not willing to give up on this floe, another site is selected, and there we penetrate the ice cover after only about 3.75 m. So the decision is made to go ahead with the deployment there. However, since it is late in the evening by the time we return, the deployment begins on the following day.

Up the next morning at 5:30, on the helicopter deck by 6 AM, and on the ice by 6:15 to deploy the ITP and IMB buoys. Although it was pretty foggy in the morning and visibility was limited, 8 of us were transferred to the ice in three flights (plus gear) for the operations. There were also two slingloads of cargo.

Cutting the 11" diameter hole in the ice was the hardest part of the ITP deployment. Cutting through the 4 m of old hard ice progressed reasonably well until we got past the halfway point. Then water turned the ice shavings into slush, and the auger flutes couldn't remove the material. So the going got very difficult. We tried using four people (instead of the normal two) on the auger, but that still didn't produce results. It helped considerably to set up the tripod and hang the auger from a chainfall, so that we could drill at a controlled rate. When the hole was cut, the anchor weight and wire were smoothly deployed, then the ITP profiler was attached to the wire.