Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Federal Polar Bear Research Critically Flawed, Forecasting Expert Asserts

Date:
May 10, 2008
Source:
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Summary:
Research done by the US Department of the Interior to determine if global warming threatens the polar bear population is so flawed that it cannot be used to justify listing the polar bear as an endangered species, according to a new study. The Interior Department has been ordered to make a determination by May 15.

On May 15, 2008 the polar bear was listed as a 'threatened species' under the Endangered Species Act.
Credit: iStockphoto/Jan Will

Research done by the U.S. Department of the Interior to determine if global warming threatens the polar bear population is so flawed that it cannot be used to justify listing the polar bear as an endangered species, according to a study being published later this year in Interfaces, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Related Articles


On April 30, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ordered the Interior Department to decide by May 15 whether polar bears should be listed under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. (Note regarding decision: On May 15, 2008 the polar bear was listed as a 'threatened species' under the Endangered Species Act.)

Professor J. Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School says, “To list a species that is currently in good health as an endangered species requires valid forecasts that its population would decline to levels that threaten its viability. In fact, the polar bear populations have been increasing rapidly in recent decades due to hunting restrictions. Assuming these restrictions remain, the most appropriate forecast is to assume that the upward trend would continue for a few years, then level off.

“These studies are meant to inform the US Fish and Wildlife Service about listing the polar bear as endangered. After careful examination, my co-authors and I were unable to find any references to works providing evidence that the forecasting methods used in the reports had been previously validated. In essence, they give no scientific basis for deciding one way or the other about the polar bear.”

Prof. Armstrong and colleagues originally undertook their audit at the request of the State of Alaska. The subsequent study, “Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public Policy Forecasting Audit,” is by Prof. Armstrong, Kesten G. Green of Monash University in Australia, and Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. It is scheduled to appear in the September/October issue of the INFORMS journal Interfaces.

Professor Armstrong is author of Long-Range Forecasting, the most frequently cited book on forecasting methods, and Principles of Forecasting. He is a co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting, the International Journal of Forecasting, the International Symposium on Forecasting, and forecastingprinciples.com.

The authors examined nine U.S. Geological Survey Administrative Reports. The studies include “Forecasting the Wide-Range Status of Polar Bears at Selected Times in the 21st Century” by Steven C. Amstrup et. al. and “Polar Bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea II: Demography and Population Growth in Relation to Sea Ice Conditions” by Christine M. Hunter et al.

Prof. Armstrong and his colleagues concluded that the most relevant study, Amstrup et al. properly applied only 15% of relevant forecasting principles and that the second study, Hunter et al. only 10%, while 46% were clearly contravened and 23% were apparently contravened.

Further, they write, the Geologic Survey reports do not adequately substantiate the authors’ assumptions about changes to sea ice and polar bears’ ability to adapt that are key to the recommendations.

Therefore, the authors write, a key feature of the U.S. Geological Survey reports is not scientifically supported.

The consequence, they maintain, is significant: The Interior Department cannot use the series of reports as a sound scientific basis for a decision about listing the polar bear as an endangered species.

Prof. Armstrong testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works on January 30, 2008 in a hearing, “Examining Threats and Protections for the Polar Bear.” A portion of the testimony can be viewed on a website partly supported by Prof. Armstrong and questioning climate change http://theclimatebet.com/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. "Federal Polar Bear Research Critically Flawed, Forecasting Expert Asserts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508132549.htm>.
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. (2008, May 10). Federal Polar Bear Research Critically Flawed, Forecasting Expert Asserts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508132549.htm
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. "Federal Polar Bear Research Critically Flawed, Forecasting Expert Asserts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508132549.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
E.U. Leaders Agree To 40% CO2 Emissions Cut By 2030

E.U. Leaders Agree To 40% CO2 Emissions Cut By 2030

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) The latest E.U. emissions deal calls for a 40 percent greenhouse gas cut, which leaders say sets Europe up to lead in climate negotiations next year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins