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June 13: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Sea ice has not completely melted out of the Bering Sea, there is still some ice off the northeast coast of St. Lawrence Island, the western Gulf of Anadyr, and on the west side of the Bering Strait.

All of this is typical for this time of year but even in the absence of sea ice, except in eastern Norton Sound and in the Yukon River Delta, the northern Bering Sea ocean surface temperatures are cooler than normal for this time of year.

It’s a different story in the Chukchi Sea, ice remains in high concentrations from the Seward Peninsula west to the Russian coast, and this is causing problems for marine traffic.

However, farther north in the Chukchi Sea, there’s actually a fairly large area of open water beyond the shorefast ice from south of Point Hope all the way up to Utqiagvik. Even with this mid-June sea ice extent in the Chukchi Sea as a whole is the highest in more than 20 years.

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Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.