RECENT TELEVISION NEWS images of the shrinking Arctic ice mass have encouraged me to think about what the cousins of our housebound polar bear might be facing.
In a past life, I flew inside the Arctic Circle several times a month. On many clear afternoons, we could see the ecosystem alive below. I know some of those cockpit views have changed during the past 30 years.
Imperiled polar bears sinking into arctic seas because of melting polar ice caps have become an iconic symbol of the devastating consequences of global warming but some of those video clips and much of the "scientific" evidence lacks solid peer review.  
My hesitations stem from reading the community reaction to a 2006 issue of the journal Polar Biology--the issue that crested into the public domain with its baseless assumptions about four specific polar bear deaths. These assumptions became part of the foundational argument for the fight against global warming. In reality, the deaths may have had nothing to do with melting ice caps, and everything to do with a simple windstorm.
However, I'm respectful for the ecosystem represented by polar ice and you'd have to be ignorant to claim the ice isn't receding. I'm also a big believer in the major climatic influence exerted by frozen ice north of the Arctic Circle. If that ice isn't present, the jet stream changes and presents double low pressure systems on top of Ireland for many months on end.
So I hug our stuffed polar bear and wonder what I'd see if I was making contrails overhead the house. I know I'd spot less arctic ice and my aircraft would have a weaker jet stream pushing my flight across the North Atlantic.
1. Audrey Hudson -- "Global Warming Link to Drowned Polar Bears Melts Under Searing Fed Probe", August 11, 2011.
2. Ethan Huff -- "Global warming fraud: Iconic polar bear on melting ice cap a hoax2, August 19, 2011.
Bernie Goldbach is collecting snippets for his flying journal and polar bears fit into those pages.