Arctic Ocean

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Alaska Public Radio: Walrus Crowding Alaska’s Northwest Beaches

Annie Feidt of Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage, Alaska interviews USGS researchers Chad Jay and Tony Fischbach about the tens of thousands of walruses -- mostly females and their young -- that have hauled-out on Alaska's northwest coast as sea ice in the region has disappeared from the animals' feeding areas. 

From the Poles to the Equator, High Sea Surface Temperatures are Taking a Toll

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported yesterday (15 September 2010) that sea surface temperatures thus far in 2010 are the second warmest on record.  The observed impacts range from a near-record low sea-ice extent in the Arctic to a hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season and damage to coral reefs.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent Reaches Annual Minimum, Among Lowest On Record

The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reports today (15 Sep 2010) that Arctic Sea Ice appears to have reached its annual minimum extent on Friday, 10 September.  "The minimum ice extent was the third-lowest in the satellite record, after 2007 and 2008, and continues the trend of decreasing summer sea ice," says the NSIDC.

Video: 2010 Arctic Sea Ice Update

As Arctic sea ice reaches its annual minimum extent --  the third lowest on record -- and as tens of thousands of Walruses are hauled-out along the Chukchi shoreline in Alaska, Peter Sinclair provides us with an invaluable -- and sometimes humorous -- video update on the state of Arctic sea ice.

Tens of Thousands of Walruses Concentrating Along Alaska's Shore

Forced to haul-out along the Alaska shoreline as see ice has vanished from the Chukchi Sea, unprecedented numbers of walruses now are being reported onshore.  Meanwhile, a new Federal report was released yesterday (10 September 2010) saying that climate change would be a major contributor to a "clear trend of worsening conditions for the Pacific walrus" during the rest of the 21st century.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent Now Third Lowest on Record -- and Still Dropping

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports today (7 Sept 2010) that with 1-2 weeks left in the melt season, Arctic Sea Ice extent now is the third lowest on record.  With anomalously warm air temperatures, persistent southerly winds, and thin disintegrating ice, the Chukchi sea saw especially rapid ice loss -- forcing large numbers of walruses to haul-out on land along the Alaska coast.

USGS Confirms Thousands of Walruses Hauling-Out on Alaska's Northwest Coast as Sea Ice Rapidly Retreats

Alaska Public Radio Network reports that "for only the third time in human memory, walruses have started to congregate in large numbers on Alaska’s Northwest coast. It says "the animals began hauling out on shore, after the sea ice they depend on for foraging disappeared."

Walruses Again Being Forced Ashore as Arctic Sea Ice Retreats

An animated map from the U.S. Geological Survey shows the daily locations of tagged walruses and sea ice distribution in the Chuckchi sea.  As the extent of Arctic sea ice again declines to one of the lowest levels on record -- especially off the coast of Alaska --  watch the walruses congregate on the remaining ice and increasingly in "haul outs" along the Alaska shoreline.

The Pacific Walrus says: "The time has come...We have many things to talk about, people!"

In what she modestly calls a "doodle," talented writer and illustrator Karen Romano Young captures the plight of the Pacific Walrus as it faces a decline in vital Arctic sea ice.  "The walrus, some say, could be as much a poster child for the effects of climate change as its compatriot, the polar bear," says Young.

Sea Ice Extent Far Below Previously Recorded Levels in Northern Route of Northwest Passage

"[T]oday’s conditions in the Northwest Passage would likely astonish 19th century explorers," reports the National Snow and Ice Data Center.  Overall, the center reports that as Arctic sea ice approaches its September minimum, sea ice extent is 649,000 square miles below average.

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