Polar Bear SWAG goes and goes

The Polar Bear has long been the poster child for global warming…and an excellent example of wild ass guessing.

We know very little about Polar Bears, but that has not stopped environmental groups from making claim after claim about the health of the species.  Polar Bears have been declared as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act because of predicted changes in the environment.  It is assumed that Polar Bear survival is directly tied to the size of the Arctic Ice Cap and that the ice cap is shrinking because of man caused events.

Good Arctic Ice Sheet Data is only 30 years old….we are all witness to wild extrapolation of that data. We are making policy decisions based on scientific wild ass guesses….or perhaps just wild ass guesses.

Today my local newspaper had a story about Polar Bear longevity.   Last March the conventional wisdom was that Polar Bears became a distinct species about 150,000 years ago.  In April that number was adjusted to 600,000 years and now (just 3 months later) it has been adjusted again to 4.5 million years.  I think it’s safe to say the first guess (150,000) was more than a little bit speculative. More WAG than SWAG.

If the Polar Bear has been around for 4.5 million years what does that mean?   Well for starters it means he is much more adaptable than previously thought.  We currently live in an Ice Age cycle that is 2.5 million years old….and it was warmer ….not colder before that cycle started.

Maybe it’s time to stop making wild ass guesses sound like statistical certainties.

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