Historically, available polar bear den habitat models have been based primarily on the presence of topographic features capable of capturing drifting snow. In any given season, however, the availability and precise location of snowdrifts of sufficient size to accommodate a bear den depends on the antecedent snowfall and wind conditions, and these vary from one year to the next. Thus, suitable topography is a necessary pre-condition, but is not sufficient to accurately predict potential den sites in a given year. To satisfy the requirements of agency and industry managers what is needed is a user-friendly decision-support tool that takes into account the current fall and early-winter meteorological conditions, and provides den habitat information that can be used to guide polar bear management and avoidance decisions for the rest of that winter after the bears have entered their dens.
Supplemental Info: None Provided.