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Jul 29, 2011

More sloppy GW science, ‘drowning polar bear’ evidence called into question.

Anchorage-based scientist Charles Monnett, whose claims that polar bears may be drowning led to an outcry has been placed on administrative leave as officials investigate scientific misconduct allegations. We all remember Al Gore’s little cartoon of the poor bear desperately trying to gain refuge on a piece of sea ice before floating away:

The popular, but misleading photo of ‘stranded polar bears’ was dealt with here previously. A student on a field trip some two and a half years earlier than its release, and during the Arctic summer in fact took it. The Australian reports:

Although it wasn't clear what the exact allegations are, a government watchdog group representing Anchorage-based scientist Charles Monnett said investigators have focused on his 2004 journal article about the bears that garnered worldwide attention.

The group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, filed a complaint on Mr Monnett's behalf on Thursday with the agency, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

BOEMRE told Mr Monnett on July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending an investigation into "integrity issues." …

Whatever the outcome or the nature of the allegations, the investigation will likely fuel the ongoing fight between climate change activists and those who are skeptical of scientists' findings about global warming.

Mr Monnett, who has coordinated much of BOEMRE's research on Arctic wildlife and ecology, has duties that include managing about $US50 million ($A45.5 million) worth of studies, according to the complaint. The agency spokeswoman said other agency scientists would manage the studies in Mr Monnett's absence.

According to documents provided by Ruch's group, which sat in on investigators interviews with Mr Monnett, the questioning focused on observations that Monnett and fellow researcher Jeffrey Gleason made in 2004.
Investigations appear to be honing in on the circumstances of the alleged sightings, the accuracy of the death claims, the way in which the information was interpreted, and other factors. There is more information here, including interview transcripts and links to other details.


  1. It'll be interesting to see what this turns out to be but I suspect it'll be embarrassing to the warble gloaming catastrophists. If he was just fiddling his expenses or had screwed someone's wife they'd have just said so, and of course any link link to that article would be pretty tenuous. I suspect this something that someone hopes to sweep under a handy bit of carpet before the FOI requests start coming in. Another crack in the big fantasy that Big Eco is beyond reproach and has no vested interests.

  2. It appears that he saw four polar bears swimming in open water then returned after a savage storm and sew three dead ones, maybe four, and as he was covering around 11% of the area, multiplied that by four to get the mortality rate. After that his logic or what passes for it, becomes somewhat confusing.

    But hey, we are getting used to this shit.

  3. Just reading about it on WUWT - I've been through the partially randomised yadda with some assumptions about blah bits. I'm not an expert in these things but it sounds like he saw a few dead bears and pulled all the rest out of his arse, er, I mean extrapolated. And then we get to the bit where he says it's not a rigorous analysis and he really doesn't know if peer review actually did it's job.

    As you say, not unexpected given Big Eco form.