Alaska Climate Research Center

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2019 June Monthly Report


Extremely low arctic sea ice extent is heavily impacting the arctic ecosystem and consequently local communities. Hunters report that seals and walrus usually found close to the coast at this time of the year, moved further north chased by melting sea ice.

Local communities report large numbers of dead seals along the western and northern coasts of Alaska. At least 60 dead seals have been reported in early June on the coast of the Bering and Chukchi seas from NOAA Fisheries. This could be partially related to substantially above normal sea surface temperatures, reaching 60 °F, observed in the Arctic, especially in Kotzebue and Nome sounds. Likewise, warmer than normal sea surface temperatures, recorded off Alaska’s southern coasts, could be associated to the unusually high number of dead grey wales.