Polar bear researchers experiment with crowdsourcing for data on climate change's effects

HELENA, Mont. – Polar bear researchers are experimenting with the idea of crowdsourcing data as they study the effects of climate change on the animals.

This time of year the bears gather on the Hudson Bay’s southwestern shore to wait for the water to freeze so they can trek the ice in search of food.

Live webcams set up in and around Canada’s Wapusk National Park allow the public to witness the migration and a new feature allows them to take webcam snapshots of the bears playing or lazing on the tundra, then download or share those pictures through email and social media.

Scientists want to see whether those photos will help their climate change research.

Krista Wright of Montana-based Polar Bears International says the photos will be added to a growing collection of data tracking changes to the bears’ size and health.