So far, the cause of the die-offs remains a mystery, though theories include starvation from lack of food, or a disease that mimics chronic wasting disease. Teams of scientists are investigating what the casualties mean for the gray whale population as a whole. But some also fear that the deaths could be part of a larger trend as animals struggle to adapt to climate change. Said Ferguson: The “gray whales are just one piece” to the environmental puzzle.
“…something’s off-kilter around the Bering Strait…”
n February, southwest winds brought warm air and turned thin sea ice into “snow cone ice” that melted or blew off. When a storm pounded Norton Sound, water on Feb. 12 surged up the Yukon River and into Kotlik, flooding low-lying homes. Lifelong resident Philomena Keyes, 37, awoke to knee-deep water outside her house.
“This is the first I experienced in my life, a flood that happened in the winter, in February,” Keyes said in a phone interview.
Alaskan Waters Near ANWR Opened for Oil Drilling
On Wednesday, the Trump Administration proposed creating a new gas-drilling island less than 30 miles from the coast of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The move is the latest in the Trump Administration’s plan to open up and auction off nearly all US waters for offshore drilling. The deal would reverse President Obama’s Arctic drilling ban.
Unseasonal Warm Waters off British Columbia Coast
The blob is back. A meteorologist says unseasonable conditions in B.C. are likely once again causing a large area of the Pacific Ocean to heat up, emulating a phenomenon from past years called the “blob.” That mass of warm water was blamed… Read More ›
“The Blob” and the Cod of Alaska (Or less cod for fish n’ chips)
At its peak, the blob stretched from Alaska to South America. In the Gulf of Alaska, the cod population plummeted by more than 80 percent.
Alaska & Oyster Larvae in an Acidified Ocean
As the Pacific Ocean acidifies—a consequence of carbon emissions—oyster farms off California, Washington State, and British Columbia have struggled to get larvae to grow into seed, the stage when young oysters’ shells have formed. Though scientists are not quite sure why, the water off Southeast Alaska hasn’t seen the same deleterious effects. Now, entrepreneurs and investors are eyeing the state, looking to turn a profit off the short-lived gains of climate change.
Warming Seas Impact Alaskan Marine Ecosystem
Farther south, the Bering Sea has emerged as a hot spot for warming-water studies — almost literally. Sea-surface temperatures in the Bering reached 14 degrees Celsius last summer (57 degrees Fahrenheit) and were generally 3 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal, scientists reported.
Entangled Whale’s Body Goes to Art & Science
A humpback whale entangled in fishing gear in Unalaska Bay ended up giving its body to art and science last week. The whale was last seen barely alive, trailing lines from a big fishing pot, perhaps a crab pot, but… Read More ›
Barge Delivers Massive Amounts of Collected Marine Debris
By: Peter Murphy for the NOAA Marine Debris Program SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — a football-field sized barge carrying nearly 3,400 super-sacks of marine debris from remote and rugged beaches from Alaska and British Columbia docked at the Waste Management facility in… Read More ›
Fishery Sustainability vs. Native Alaskans
When you buy a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich, you might notice the little blue label that tells you the fish you’re about to eat is certified as environmentally sustainable. That sounds like good news for the environment, for fish, and for… Read More ›