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The BBC’s Outright Lies On Arctic Live

November 2, 2016

By Paul Homewood 





In Churchill, every year polar bears gather on the shores of Hudson Bay to wait for the big freeze, and every year they’re waiting longer.



This was the exact statement at seven minutes into the BBC’s Arctic Live programme last night. This was immediately followed up with the comment, “But the prospect of a future without them is impossible to imagine”.

This unsurprisingly set the scene for the rest of that segment of the programme. The Arctic is warming, ice is melting and polar bears are endangered.


As I showed yesterday, there is no truth in the claim at all.

But let’s look at one more graph, this time the week by week ice coverage for Hudson Bay in 2015, as presented by the Canadian Ice Service: 






It starts at the beginning of October, and runs to the end of December. As can be seen, the refreeze, which began in the last week of October, occurred just when it would be expected to. During November, ice coverage was, if anything, above average.


Arctic mammal expert, Dr Susan Crockford, actually addressed this issue three years ago:


This is a follow-up to an earlier post, Polar bear problems in N Hudson Bay not due to late freeze-up, to counter some misinformation that’s being circulated about the history of Hudson Bay freeze-up dates.

Polar bear biologists working in Western Hudson Bay published new definitions of breakup and freeze-up earlier this year. The new method better reflects how polar bears interact with seasonal changes in sea ice on the bay.

Formerly, 50% ice coverage levels were used to assign the date when major ice change phenomena were reached each year (breakup in summer, freeze-up in fall (e.g. Gagnon and Gough 2005). The new method (Cherry et al. 2013, see discussion here) defines breakup at 30% ice coverage and freeze-up at 10%.

Cherry and colleagues had a fairly complicated method of defining 30% coverage for breakup in Western Hudson Bay. However, freeze-up in the fall is much simpler because ice always forms first along the western shore, starting in the north.

This means that the weekly graphs of ice development provided by the Canadian Ice Service for Hudson Bay, which are expressed as a percentage (just like the Cherry et al. study), can be used to compare freeze-up dates historically.

These graphs refute the absurd claim that freeze-up on Hudson Bay has been “one day later each year” over the last 30 years – an assertion repeated just the other day at PBI.


If we use the 10% threshold, we can see that this arrived in the second week of November last year, exactly when the 1981-2010 median was.

Looking at this week for each year back to 1994, there is no obvious trend, and certainly no evidence to back up the BBC’s claim.






We can do one more test. Using the Canadian Ice Service data again, I have plotted the week when sea ice concentration passed above the 10% threshold, for each year since 1994. (Week 46 is November 12th).




As you can see, the refreeze occurred in week 47 for most of the years. Two years, 1998 and 2010, had the latest dates, whilst 1995, 2000, 2004 and 2015 had the earliest. It is clearly not the case that every year polar bears gather on the shores of Hudson Bay to wait for the big freeze, and every year they’re waiting longer.


I will be firing off a complaint to the BBC tonight.

Apparently the next episode in the series will look at “climatological changes taking place in the Arctic”. No doubt, this will also myths and prejudice, rather than actual facts.

  1. Stephen permalink
    November 2, 2016 6:27 pm

    Well it is the BBC when did they do the truth.

    • dennisambler permalink
      November 3, 2016 2:41 pm

      I find little difference between them, ITV and Sky. They all work off press feeds and government suggestions of scare programmes “at the right time”. The “right time” at the moment is COP22 and the government about to ratify the Paris agreement. They may have got rid of DECC but they haven’t ditched its policies.

      A few years ago, Rapley’s BAS invited Mark Austen from ITV to the Antarctic. They took him out in a boat and as an iceberg calved, he shouted out hysterically that they could see global warming happening in front of their eyes. Rapley did later feel a little embarassed about it and played down.

      The trick is take them somewhere like that in the Polar summer, lots of dripping and crashing ice, plenty of open water. David Shukman is a sucker for things like that, aided and abetted by people like Peter Wadhams.

  2. November 2, 2016 6:59 pm

    I am sure that the BBC considers telling a few lies is justified, in order to get what they consider to be the truth.
    The trouble is, most people consider what the BBC says is “gospel truth”, and they are not in a position to check the facts for themselves.
    They no longer distinguish between entertainment (e.g. Bake Off and Strictly) and educational programmes in their output.

  3. Phil permalink
    November 2, 2016 7:13 pm

    OK, but the Telegraph is showing this online at the moment. Different kinds of ice?

    • November 2, 2016 9:26 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Phil

      This is very old hat, and I am surprised NASA are still trying to peddle it.

      I will do a post on this tomorrow, but it should be pointed out that Hudson Bay has no multi year ice, as it all melts in summer

      • Green Sand permalink
        November 2, 2016 11:16 pm

        “…Hudson Bay has no multi year ice, as it all melts in summer.”

        Yup, though Johnny Leclair, the Coast Guard’s assistant commissioner (and you would think he would know?) appeared to think differently in July 2015:-

        “….Contrary to predictions made earlier this year, Leclair said, the sea ice in the bay has not been melting.

        That, in combination with southeasterly winds, has meant that Frobisher Bay has not been able to “flush” its remaining ice. Instead, a large compacted pan of thick, first-year and multiyear ice has formed in the bay….”

        Now just where did that ‘multiyear ice’ come from? Ho hum….

        Also worth a look:-

        “CCGS Amundsen re-routed to Hudson Bay to help with heavy ice
        Worst ice conditions in 20 years force change of plans to icebreaker research program” – Posted: Jul 22, 2015

      • Bitter&twisted permalink
        November 3, 2016 4:40 pm

        Ah yes the old “rotten ice” concept invented by climate “scientists”.

  4. November 2, 2016 7:14 pm

    Paul, it is obvious that you will need to fire off a complaint to the BBC after each of the episodes. Of course complaints to the BBC are always brushed aside and no action is ever taken. Raising the complaint to a higher level also never achieves anything. According to the BBC, the BBC is always right.

    Cardinal Harrabin was rewriting history when discussing pollution from dirty diesels this evening on Radio 4. The past can be changed with impunity by the BBC.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      November 2, 2016 8:45 pm

      You’re of course correct in what you say about the BBC and complaints. I still try my luck from time to time when I feel the urge to try a fruitless enterprise.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    November 2, 2016 7:17 pm

    Good sleuthing & analyses, Paul.

    Please do keep your readers informed of the BBC’s response, when it deigns to reply.

  6. November 2, 2016 7:19 pm

    After showing resilience in September, Arctic ice growth faltered in October. The reasons have nothing to do with CO2.

  7. November 2, 2016 7:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    Considered analysis by Paul Homewood demonstrates what we have known for several years, the BBC lies to promote man-made climate change propaganda. The sooner the licence fee is removed the better.

  8. November 2, 2016 7:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Cost of taxpayer funded BBC climate propaganda docco – probably nearing £1M.

    (NB, BBC a publicly funded broadcaster that is chartered by law to be balanced. Like Aus’ ABC)

    Cost and time to get the *truth* via NALOPKT – unfunded and a few hours.

    Thanks Paul and interested to hear Auntie’s reply to your valid complaint. (If they even care or bother about facts and truths!)

  9. November 2, 2016 8:30 pm

    Your third graph only shows a very short time period! The scientists are looking at trends over far longer periods.

    • November 2, 2016 8:47 pm

      I am making the point that, in the last 20 yrs, nothing has changed, which totally contradicts the BBC lies.

      In my first post, which I have linked to, I have pointed out that ice coverage was greater in the very cold 1980s.

      Your point, however, is very valid, because the satellite data only begins in 1971. To get a better comparison, we need data back to the 1920s, when much of the Arctic was as warm as it is now

    • AndyG55 permalink
      November 3, 2016 8:33 am

      Let’s look at the current interglacial.

      As you can see. The Arctic area is very much at a COLD period compared to the last 10,000 years.

      Thanks for bringing that to everybody’s attention.

    • dennisambler permalink
      November 3, 2016 3:52 pm

      “The scientists are looking at trends over far longer periods.”

      Like satellite records from 1979?

      How about the satellite record from 7000 years ago, or even 3500 years ago?

      Robert McGhee, Head of the Scientific Section, Archaeological Survey of Canada, Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa

      “By about 7000 years ago the massive glaciers of the last Ice Age had retreated to the mountain peaks of the eastern Canadian Arctic. Tundra vegetation had become established, and was grazed by caribou, musk oxen, and, in some areas, by bison.

      The gulfs and channels between the arctic islands had long been at least seasonally ice-free, and provided a home to populations of seals, walrus, and whales.

      There is considerable evidence that for the next 3500 years the arctic climate was noticeably warmer than today, the tree-line was north of its present position, sea ice was less extensive, and animal populations were large and well established.”

      During the last 5000 years of the geologic period, and continuing for the first half of the Holocene, the Arctic became increasingly warmer and wetter, reaching a peak about 5000 BP. At this peak, annual mean temperatures ranged anywhere from 3° C to 4°C greater than at present over the arctic islands to as much as 11 °C greater over the lower Mackenzie Basin.

      During the last half of the Holocene, arctic climate has alternated between periods warmer and cooler than today. For example, the years between 2000 BP and 1000 BP were generally warmer than both the thousand or so preceding years and much of the time since.

       Over the period of instrumental or historic record, the northern hemisphere has experienced three distinct phases: a general warming trend from the 1880s until the 1940s, a period of cooling until the mid 1960s, and a modest warming thereafter. The Canadian Arctic has reflected a similar pattern, although certain regions, such as the eastern Arctic, have exhibited rather different and more complex patterns, particularly on a seasonal basis.”

      Polar bears have of course lived through those earlier periods.

      One of the main NGO’s driving the Polar Bear crusuade has been the well funded Center for Biological Diversity,, aided and abetted by WWF and others, abusing the Endangered Species Act for political ends. For Polar Bears read Penguins, Walrus, or just about anything that fits their purpose. They are part of the new breed of “climate lawyers” with a cast of 1000’s.

      “This is a victory for the polar bear, and all wildlife threatened by global warming,” Kassie Siegel, a lawyer for the Centre for Biological Diversity, said. “There is still time to save polar bears, but we must reduce greenhouse gas pollution immediately

      “These penguin species will march right into extinction unless greenhouse gas pollution is controlled,” said the center’s Kassie Siegel. “It is not too late to save them, but we must seize the available solutions to global warming immediately.”

      Unless we dramatically reduce our greenhouse emissions, the walrus is on a trajectory toward extinction,” said Rebecca Noblin, the Center’s Alaska director.”

  10. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 2, 2016 8:31 pm

    Watching episode two and Kate Humble is talking bollocks about permafrost. I’ll need to increase the dosage of my blood pressure tablets.

  11. November 2, 2016 8:49 pm

    The Client Earth court case a BBBC commenter spots Shenanigans on BBr4 PM
    “Edmund King ,representing motorists, gave a reasoned assessment of the diesel problem which showed that cars only emit 5% of the pollution created by vehicles the remainder was (XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Eddie shouting down) ”

    “Edmund later pointed out that by removing the worst 10% of these dirty buses and taxis, 50% of the pollution would be removed at a stroke. No,no get rid of all the cars and get rid of 5% was the line from Alan Carhater and the BBBC.”

    • November 2, 2016 8:50 pm

      link to original comment

    • November 2, 2016 8:52 pm

      Over on BH Unthreaded Nov 2, 2016 at 8:05 PM Harry Passfield
      Claims a conspiracy saying the gov is looking for an excuse to ban diesel caras

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        November 3, 2016 4:25 pm

        I actually said it was my ‘personal conspiracy theory’, not that there was one. I really wanted to point out, which I did, that the Gov would rather ban diesel cars than diesel STOR (God knows how polluting they are).

        Good that you brought up the way Mair was shutting down King’s comments. They were just too sensible…

    • dennisambler permalink
      November 3, 2016 4:21 pm

      The question is, although NoX may exceed EU guidelines, is it actually a problem? Compared to Beijing and Bangkok, perhaps not. Just like CO2, the presence of a target does not mean exceeding that target is necessarily harmful.

      Steve Milloy has spent years looking into this stuff and the false science coming from the EPA, which informs the debate elsewhere:

      “recall EPA-funded researchers sprayed diesel exhaust up the noses of children as young as 10 in experiments conducted at the University of Southern California and UCLA — after proposing that experiments on children be banned and after the state of California determined that there is no safe exposure to diesel exhaust.”

      The claim is that there are 40,000 “premature deaths” a year as a result of poor air quality. I guess if you were able to ask most people if their death was “premature” I expect they would agree. However, they push out these claims which have no basis in reality:

      Respiratory deaths were up last year because of a pernicious flu virus affecting older people. It was a reverse to a decade long trend of falling mortality, but was still considerably lower than 2005. The NE had the highest mortality rates in 2015, the SE had the lowest, yet has the highest population and the greater number of vehicles. The City of London had the lowest mortality rates of all, draw from that what you will. As air pollution as defined by the EU has increased during that time, why has mortality declined over the decade?

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        November 3, 2016 4:30 pm

        Good point, Dennis. BBC never queried the claim of the 40k premature deaths.They work on the false logic that diesels add to air pollution; air pollution causes premature deaths; therefore, diesel causes premature deaths.

  12. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 2, 2016 8:50 pm

    Paul, will you be able to put together a page that we can link to so that we can refute this BBC propaganda ?

  13. BLACK PEARL permalink
    November 2, 2016 9:30 pm

    I read an article some time ago which said that the majority of particulates in the air from traffic was due to brake & tyre dust

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 3, 2016 1:15 pm

      Very likely to be true. Tyre dust on the road is what makes them so slippery when rain comes after a dry spell. And anyone with alloy wheels or who works on their vehicle will be aware of brake dust. Trains do it to as I worked alongside a railway and particles actually got embedded in your paintwork. The windows facing the railway went opaque in the rain due to the coating of brake dust.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      November 3, 2016 9:01 pm

      A recent report showed that hybrids’ and EVs’ tyre and brake dust actually increased over fossil fuelled vehicles due to the increase in weight…

    • November 3, 2016 9:11 pm

      I think they were talking about Nox rather than particulates.
      The science is not as robust as they would make out.
      – There is a something very crucial at first glance at The Times Front page – I thought “ah this is about doing ba favour to electric car manufacturers”..and then I got to the Times editorial and it said exactly that “Now is the time for hybrid and electric cars”
      …before we know it we going to be on the road to unintended consequences ..subsidising replacement of diesels for electrics and ultimately causing more harm. Without magic laws Tesla is never going to get its money back.

  14. Curious George permalink
    November 2, 2016 11:08 pm

    Kate Humble looks MAGNIFICENT in that cold weather garb. A beautiful fur collar .. horror .. surely not a fur collar?

    • November 3, 2016 1:36 pm

      No, I do not think that is real fur. It has no luster or life to it which means it is made with petroleum products!! That should be just as bad to a green meanie. Her head appears as a giant pencil eraser.

      I’m about to make a winter coat to display my 1960’s REAL raccoon collar. Boy was it warm around my neck when I was an undergraduate at WVU. I also have a black fox fur baby doll hat I wore when skiing. And then the red fox pillbox hat purchased in the USSR in 1974. Truly one of the basket of “deplorables.”

  15. Athelstan permalink
    November 3, 2016 12:43 am

    Sorry Paul, much as I would be making some scientific study counting statistical errors uttered duing an ‘outside’ Polar Beeb nature broadcast, #polar bears “in trouble!” is so old hat and more importantly BBCclima-zoids bring me out in a nasty raw green rash.

    Though, thinking about it, I’d pay good money to see – an experiment say – “the unconscionable in pursuit of the inedible”;

    “armed only with my gob, alone and out roaming at night in snowbound Churchill – Canuckishire”:

    starring, numero uno global warming loony and narcissist outdoor wear clotheshorse and garrulous but ersatz naturalist – Chris Peckerhead.’

    • Annie permalink
      November 3, 2016 9:00 am

      Well, I’m now DownUnder but I seem to remember that some of these ‘live’ nature programmes on the BBC took a nosedive into PC AGW nonsense when Chris Packham joined the mob. I used to like Kate H but I think she’s fallen for the rubbish. ‘Countryfile’ went downhill, to the point that we only ever tuned in near the end when Adam Henson’s slot was on. We really liked him; a very nice chap when we met him.

      • Athelstan permalink
        November 3, 2016 1:14 pm

        Adam is the salt of the earth, an English lad not given to believing mystic nostrums, funny to say – he is the only bloke worth listening to, if nothing else for his love of his [tacitly family first] livestock, his gentle ways and ardent passion in what he does, the tradition, nature and care to farming the land.

  16. November 3, 2016 6:50 am

    JoNova has a go at the BBC.

    “Dear BBC et al, half the electorate is mocked, reviled, and otherwise ignored. No wonder the other half are clueless… The divided electorates throughout the West don’t understand each other because there is no national conversation to understand. When was the last time the BBC (or ABC) employed a show host that was a skeptic, Brexit-fan, or UKIP voter? Count the years. How about a whole panel? A series? A doco? When was the last government grant awarded to someone to explain the dangers of big-creeping-government?

    It’s practically BBC official policy not to even interview people who disagree with certain views, even if that includes 62% of the British public. This is a good way to divide the electorate and create ignorance and misunderstanding, yes? It’s not that the skeptical half can’t get half the evening news, they can’t even get a 10 second, heavily edited sentence in. Greenpeace, on the other hand, get invited to high level seminars where they decide what the BBC policy will be.”

    • November 3, 2016 10:15 am

      I now listen mostly to LBC radio (one lefty Brexit whiner presenter, but some right wingers), its audience figures are rocketing, no doubt due to the exasperation of many people with the BBC, which is now effectively the official opposition.

  17. November 3, 2016 8:20 am

    Hi all,

    It’s frustrating for me not to be able to see these broadcasts but probably better for my blood pressure that I can’t. I’ve been up to my neck in grandbabies for the last couple of days, with more again tomorrow (one set of parents are moving, the other set are ill with flu – both crying “Grandma, help! Now I’m exhausted but can’t sleep).

    FYI, my early Tuesday post contains some critical background info about Churchill bears (with links to previous posts on specific topics)

    And this is what I wrote about freeze-up last year, which (similar to Paul’s analysis), shows that freeze-up was less than 2 weeks later than the average date in the 1980s.

    Cheers, and hang in – just one more to go!

    Dr. Susan Crockford, Zoologist.

    • Jack Dawkins permalink
      November 3, 2016 10:33 am


      If you have an Apple Mac computer, you can download British tv and radio programmes using a very nifty little application with the rather un-nifty name of “GetiPlayerAutomator.” The downloaded material is placed directly into your iTunes library. It works all over the world.


  18. Coeur de Lion permalink
    November 3, 2016 9:34 am

    I think this BBC piece runs out at four harrabins where their Climate Change By Numbers was six.

  19. CheshireRed permalink
    November 3, 2016 1:05 pm

    Good work Paul. It’s not just the provable outright lies though, is it? (They’re usually very hot on avoiding provable untruths) No, the bigger issue is their implied doom which insidiously invokes the threat of ‘catastrophic climate change’ at every opportunity, without actually supporting it with evidence. It’s become an assumption to be taken as read. W*nkers.

  20. November 3, 2016 5:07 pm

    If the bbc are involved lies are going to ensue…not only that but arctic live is soooo boring it will be a certainly not watching arctic”politically motovated”live again

  21. November 3, 2016 7:51 pm

    As Malcolm Tucker, once said, “Just because it didn’t happen – that doesn’t mean it isn’t true!”


  22. November 4, 2016 12:05 pm


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