Thursday, March 18, 2010

Climate Change Causing Negative Extinction in Arctic

Arctic Wildlife Index Increases 16% over last 34 years

From a paper presented today at The State of the Arctic meeting:
Tracking Trends in Arctic Wildlife: The Arctic Species Trend Index

For the first time, an index providing a pan-Arctic perspective on trends in the Arctic's living resources has been developed. The Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI), like the global Living Planet Index (LPI), illustrates overall vertebrate population trends by integrating vertebrate population trend data of an appropriate standard from across the Arctic and over the last 34 years (1970 as the baseline). An increasing index indicates that overall more vertebrate populations in the Arctic are increasing than decreasing. Whereas a decreasing index, indicates the opposite situation.

A total of 965 populations of 306 species (representing 35% of all known arctic vertebrate species) were used to generate the ASTI. In contrast to the global LPI, whose overall decline is largely driven by declines in tropical vertebrate populations, the average population of arctic species rose by 16% between 1970 and 2004. This pattern is very similar to the temperate LPI and is consistent in both the North American and Eurasian Arctic.

The author of the paper was interviewed by PRI International today: Download MP3 (starts at 26:00). Author states that polar bear populations are difficult to measure and trend could not be assessed for polar bears. However, other studies find that polar bear populations have declined by -400%.

The arctic wildlife apparently haven't received the memo either on AGW. Somebody: tell Paul Erhlich about the "population bomb" in the Arctic.

UPDATE: Well guess how the mainstream media decided to spin this story (in stark contrast to the author's take on PRI and the verbatim abstract from the study above):

High Arctic Species on Thin Ice
 ScienceDaily (Mar. 18, 2010) — A new assessment of the Arctic's biodiversity reports a 26 per cent decline in species populations in the high Arctic. They don't even mention the overall trend for the arctic was an increase of 16%.

Full report on ASTI

UPDATE 2: New Scientist surprisingly decided to headline the overall trend:
Boom time for Arctic animals    New Scientist 20 March 2010

CONTRARY to popular belief, Arctic animals have done rather well over recent decades. The first analysis of a 40-year database of Arctic species reveals that populations grew by 16 per cent on average between 1970 and 2004.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the AOS ASTI paper. They had their conference in Miami - they obviously like it warm!

    I wrote the following posting based on the ASTI report: