The Spread of Insomniac Bears

Cantabrian Brown BearReports out of Spain over the holidays indicate that Siberian bears aren’t the only ones losing sleep this winter. In the Cantabarian mountains of northern Spain, mother bears are postponing hibernation to gather food that isn’t usually available.

Experts predict that 2006 will go down as Spain’s warmest year on record. The warmer winter is causing nuts and berries to last further into the season, thus proving it “energetically worthwhile” for the bears not to hibernate and collect food instead.

In an article starring the bears, Mark Wright from the World Wide Fund for Nature commented:

I think it’s an indication of what’s to come. It shows climate change is not a natural phenomenon but something that is affecting not only on the weather, but impacting on the natural world in ways we’re only now beginning to understand.

His statement draws particular attention to the anthropogenic, or human, causes of climate change. In other words, this case and the “other seasonal freaks” mentioned in the article should have pivotal policy implications for the 110th Congress.

5 Responses to The Spread of Insomniac Bears

  1. hippie with a pistol says:

    Many factual errors in this climateprog post. Just in the first paragraph.

    “In the Cantabarian mountains of northern Spain, mother bears are postponing hibernation to gather food that isn’t usually available.”

    Fondo para la Protección de los Animales Salvajes (FAPAS) reports in Dec 2006:

    “This year, the autumn harvest, primarily chestnuts, has been excellent. The thousands of tons of chestnuts, as well as oak acorns, constituted a magnificant pantry for wildlife. The bears have taken advantage of these abundant food sources in the last few months. As a result, the photographs that FAPAS has obtained show that the bears are fat and well-fed, with sufficient body fat to enter their caves for their winter rest.”

    Last winter (2005) FAPAS found that some bears were not hibernating in the lower elevations of el Valle del Trubia as they were looking for food. Yet bear populations are growing at a rate of 3% with record numbers of cubs being born in recent years.

    El oso de Espana is an example of how wildlife is adapting to climate change and doing quite well with the help of NGO’s like FAPAS.

    Then a quote from the article.

    “It shows climate change is not a natural phenomenon…”

    Now that’s a stretch!

    There was the Medieval Optimum a Little Ice Age (climate change) that very well may have been a natural phenomenon. The Ebro River froze 7 times during the LIA. There are remnants of neveras or glaceres in locations that have not seen snow in hundreds of years. During the Medieval Optimum temperatures were 1 – 1.5 degrees warmer than today, during this period the last of the true glaciers Sierra Nevada de Espana melted and never recovered. Glaciers did expand into the Pyrenees during the LIA and have been melting since the end of the 19th century. So to say that climate change is not natural is absurd. Global warming was happening before anthropogenic GHG. Anthropogenic GHG is contributing to a natural warming trend that began at the end of the LIA, but is not the cause.

  2. Joe says:

    You have not pointed out a single flaw in the post. You also seem unaware that as best scientists can determine, the LIA, though a “natural” event was 1) mostly localized to parts of the Northern hemisphere and, 2) more important, the result of a change in climate forcings — less solar insolation and more volcanoes. Global warming deniers like to pretend that “natural” means random, but we know why it was warm and cold in the past — changes in external climate forcings. We are now forcing the climate to change more than 100 times faster than in the past. You really need to get more informed.

  3. hippie with a pistol says:

    1) [the LIA] mostly localized to parts of the Northern hemisphere

    Like Spain? However, the MWP and the LIA were indeed globally distributed. (see IPCC 2001 among other sources)

    2) more important, the result of a change in climate forcings — less solar insolation and more volcanoes.

    Solar variability and volcanoes are not natural phenomenon?

    And the bears delaying or not hibernating were found in Trubia Valley where there was an abundance of food in the autumn of 2006 (“not usually available” is incorrect), yet you and your source article have generalized this to represent all bear populations in the Cantabarians, which is not true.

    Paleo climate change in Spain, Europe, Mexico etc. were due to natural events (not anthropogenic sources) were more extreme in the past.

    “Climate is changing 100 times faster than the past”
    What is the past? How do you measure 100 times faster? You must certainly be ignoring the Holocene RCC events. Abrupt climate change has happened in the past…due to natural events.

    While I have not denied that the earth is warming or that anthropogenic GHG are contributing, you still continue to call me a “global warming denier” which is really just derogatory name calling. So I suggest that you are a “denier” for ignoring the paleo record and the evidence of millenial-scale climate change, while placing the blame squarely on humans.

    Finally, basing US policy on “seasonal freaks” and cherry-picked climate records is exactly the kind of irrational, hyper-reactive exaggerations from GW alarmists that cannot be taken seriously.

  4. Joe says:

    You willfully misread and misquote me, so I won’t keep replying to you. You have not pointed out any actual mistakes. But let’s cut to the chase. The rate of growth of CO2 is in fact 200 times faster than in the past–the past being that which we have records of, which goes back at least 600,000 years. The LIA — and all the big ice ages too — were caused by “natural” forcings — duh — but that is the point. The forcings todays are human-caused and occurring two orders of magnitude faster. I am happy to stop calling you a denier. You are more in the Delayer camp — you’ll have to read my book to see the distinction. Ciao!

  5. RFC says:

    Hippie likes to argue about semantics while dancing around the heart of the issue… Cheifly that GHG concentrations have caused the climate to change naturally in the past, and now are causing it to change due to human waste. We all agree that GHG increases will warm the planet. It is currently increasing faster than ever… Why can we not assume that recent changes are due to this, especially when it has been shown the sun’s variability cannot account for it?