Yereth Rosen

For those who loathed or loved last winter’s non-wintery Alaska weather, climate scientists have an important message: There is a good chance of a repeat this winter.

Forces at sea, in the atmosphere and on land, both short-term and long-term, are combining to create what might be a perfect storm of heat for Alaska. That means another much-warmer-than-normal winter is expected for Alaska and northwestern North America.

“You might not want to buy that 70-below parka,” said Rick Thoman, the National Weather Service’s Alaska climate science and services manager and one of the scientists focused on winter even in the warm days of Alaska’s summer...

Yereth Rosen

Royal Dutch Shell began drilling an exploratory well in Alaska’s offshore waters Thursday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the company said.

At about 5 p.m. Alaska time, the Transocean Polar Pioneer began drilling at the Anglo-Dutch oil company’s Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, according to Anchorage-based spokeswoman Megan Baldino...

Yereth Rosen

Authorities forced protesters in kayaks from a river Thursday in Portland, Oregon, where the demonstrators were trying to stop a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker from leaving dry dock and joining an Arctic oil drilling operation.

Police also tried to lower protesters who were dangling from a bridge into the water below. Shortly before 6 p.m., the icebreaker managed to slip through the space created after two activists were lowered from their positions.

Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said safety was the main priority as authorities tried to move protesters away from the area. Police and Coast Guard officers were joined by firefighters and a rope rescue team.

“This is, obviously, a very unique situation,” he said...

Hal Bernton,Evan Bush,Yereth Rosen

A 100-yard buffer is not good enough to protect seals in Alaska’s glacial fjords from cruise-ship and tour-boat disturbances, so federal regulators have issued new guidelines advising the ships to stay about 500 yards away.

The new guidelines, issued Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, are described as "voluntary but strongly recommended" and aimed at the burgeoning ship traffic around scenic tidewater glaciers that draw both harbor seals and tourists...

Yereth Rosen

A Shell-contracted icebreaker damaged earlier this month in Unalaska Bay had up-to-date navigational charts on board, but the ship's draft went deeper than a previously unidentified shoal rising up from the bay's floor, according to initial findings of an investigation into the accident, the U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday...

Yereth Rosen

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake that hit south of Mount Iliamna around 6:35 p.m. Tuesday rattled Alaska from Kodiak to Fairbanks, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center.

The quake struck roughly 70 miles below the Earth’s surface across Cook Inlet from Homer, said Michael West, a seismologist at the Alaska Earthquake Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The epicenter was about 144 miles southwest of Anchorage.

“It’s deep -- that’s important,” he said. “That means the shaking was not as strong, but spread widely.”

Linda Hull of Clam Gulch, about 65 miles away from the earthquake’s epicenter, said she heard a very low rumble before a slow rolling motion started. That lasted for several seconds before she felt a jolt...

Tegan Hanlon,Yereth Rosen

Waves grew bigger and spaced farther apart as ice cover diminished in the Arctic and sub-Arctic waters off Alaska and western Canada, new research shows.

Since the 1970s, the biggest waves in the Beaufort, Chukchi and Bering Seas have grown at a rate of 0.3 to 0.8 percent per year, according to a comprehensive study led by Environment Canada. The time it takes waves to cycle, a measurement known as period, has grown even more, by 3 to 4 percent per year, more than tripling since 1970, according to the study, published by the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate ...

Yereth Rosen

An orphaned and injured seal pup rescued this week from a Southeast Alaska beach was one of several found this summer, federal agency officials said.

The female seal pup found on Douglas Island was taken to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward and is in stable condition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement. The pup was lethargic and very thin -- only 16.5 pounds -- and bore wounds on her face and upper body, probably from predator attacks, officials said...

Yereth Rosen

Herbicide applications are scheduled to start Friday to rid Anchorage's Lake Hood -- the nation’s busiest floatplane center -- of a newly discovered invasive plant infestation , a state official said.

The work to combat elodea at Lake Hood Seaplane Base in Anchorage will start quickly, thanks to an emergency authorization from state environmental officials and other speedy permitting and funding, said Heather Stewart, invasive weeds and agricultural pest coordinator for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources...

Yereth Rosen

Decades ago, fishermen, fishery managers and environmentalists from Alaska and the Soviet Union put aside their nations’ differences to try to stop uncontrolled high-seas pollock catches that were imperiling stocks throughout the Bering Sea. That effort led to a 1994 international agreement that banned fishing in the Bering Sea “Donut Hole ,” an international area lying between U.S. and Russian territorial waters...

Yereth Rosen

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