NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Global Warming Update: Some bad facts

Chip Ward writes about "Sudden climate change is not just about Eskimos in bikinis." in the Sunday Chronicle, June 19, 2005

Sometimes environmentalist cannot get the facts right when talking about climate change.
In recent years, conservationists report, marmots are emerging from their holes a month sooner than expected. But if the ground warms before deep snowpack melts, which is now often the case, emerging marmots cannot get to food and they starve.
Now tell me how it is that the ground warms under deep snowpack? If the deepsnow has not melted, the sun can not reach the ground, thus it does not get warm. If you have an explanation of how the global warming warms the ground under deep snow, please let me know.

Changes in snow patterns also present wolves with an unusual challenge. The reintroduced wolf, that symbol of our determination to restore the health of ecosystems that long suffered their loss, uses snow as an ally in chasing down and eating elk. The elk are weakened by starvation in winter and cannot as easily escape the nimble wolves through dense snowpack or across slippery ice.

In Yellowstone this past winter, snow and ice were sparse and the elk generally got away from the wolves. It wasn't just wolves that went hungry. Other animals and birds, including endangered grizzly bears, depend on sharing carcasses the wolves leave behind to make it through the winter, so they also fared poorly.
If I recall correctly, bears hibernate in the winter. They are not out scarfing up left over dead elk. It is only recently that the wolfs were introduced. If the bears leave the cave for a mid winter snack of dead elk, what did they do before the wolf was reintroduced to kill elk for them? Go hungry, or just stay in the cave until spring?

According to the US Fish and Wildlife:
The grizzly bear, like its cousin the black bear, is omnivorous, meaning it will eat plants, as well as insects and other animals. Scavengers by nature, grizzlies spend most of their waking hours searching for food. Forbs, roots, tubers, grasses, berries and other vegetation, and insects comprise most of the bear’s diet.

Food sources vary in availability from year to year, and from season to season. Grizzlies move throughout their habitat looking for foods available at that time of year. The availability of many foods is known to the bears by season, and the bears move to these areas based on their experience. In this way, the general seasonal distribution and movements of bears are predictable. Ingestion of large amounts of food in a short time period is critical to grizzly survival, since they are only active and feeding for 6-8 months of every year.
Given, these startling revelations: bear do not hibernate and feed in winter, and the earth warms under deep snow, should we believe the rest of this article?

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