Polar Bear Update

Cooper Island, Alaska, July 29, 2009 — Record high of 70 degrees F. (23 degrees F. above normal) in Barrow yesterday which tied the previous record high. The temperature on Cooper Island was 66 degrees F and I would have enjoyed the warmer air more if there was not a bear trying to cool down in grass clumps in the tern colony (0.5 to 0.75 miles from camp, but very visible). At one point the bear dug a hole in a grassy dune and slept for awhile — which would have been more cooling if the permafrost was still here.

After sleeping for about three hours it walked east out of sight (both because of the distance and all the heat waves coming off the island) at 7 p.m., but was back and visible at 2 a.m. this morning when it searched around in driftwood before heading to the beach and apparently swimming north.

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