Yereth Rosen

Arctic sea-ice extent in April was probably at a record low for the month, continuing this year’s trend of record or near-record lows, the National Snow and Ice Data Center said on Tuesday. Though mechanical glitches have made information from the NSIDC’s satellite temporarily unavailable, other satellite data collected by Japanese and German programs shows Arctic sea ice is much sparser now than it once was at this time of the year. “We are way, way down on sea ice,” said NSIDC director Mark Serreze. “There’s no indication of any kind of recovery.” He and his colleagues stopped short of declaring last month a record-low April, because the ice-extent information borrowed from the other programs is produced using a slightly different methodology than that used by the Colorado-based center...Yereth Rosen
Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to pull the plug on its offshore oil exploration program in Alaska's Arctic waters could have the unfortunate effect of shifting the nation’s gaze away from Arctic issues, according to the State Department’s top Arctic official. Robert Papp, the State Department’s special representative on Arctic issues, lamented the pullout in an April 25 Brookings Institution event marking the first year of the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council. “I’m worried that it’s reduced the sense of urgency,” Papp said in response to a question about Shell, the first posed to him during the Washington, D.C., forum. “I am discouraged that Shell is not going to be drilling up there in the near future because it was a visible—something that really drew a lot of attention, which...Yereth Rosen
Tourists are far more likely to see wolves in Denali National Park and Preserve when there is a protective no-hunting buffer established in key wolf habitat outside the park, according to a new study . The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that when the 122-square-mile buffer was in place from 2000 to 2010, the likelihood of seeing a wolf in the park was more than twice that of the years when the buffer was absent. Debate has long raged over the impacts of hunting and trapping near the park borders. The Alaska Board of Game in 2000 established the protective buffer on state-managed land along the park’s eastern and northern edges, banning wolf hunting and trapping there. But the board eliminated the buffer in 2010 and placed a six-year moratorium on any potential...Yereth Rosen
After three years of study, research and public outreach, the quest for a solution to Alaska’s feral cow dilemma is now halted. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week it won't be doing anything about the abandoned cattle roaming two Aleutians East Borough islands. The decision is in compliance with a passage in the 2016 federal budget, inserted by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, that forbids the Fish and Wildlife Service from moving cattle off Chirikof and Wosnesenski islands in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge . The language specifies that “no funds are provided to the Service for efforts to remove cattle on Chirikof and Wosnesenski Islands in the State of Alaska.” For Steve Delehanty, manager of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, it forces an end to a project...Yereth Rosen
As Siberian permafrost thaws, crumbling Russian coastlines and big rivers flowing north along eroding banks are dumping vast loads of organic carbon into marine waters there, causing much quicker acidification than had been anticipated and signaling future danger for the entire Arctic Ocean. So says a newly published study by a team of scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Russian Academy of Sciences and other institutions in Russia and Sweden. The scientists have been working together for years to study the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, a marine area that accounts for about a quarter of the Arctic Ocean’s open waters. Observations made since 1999 showed signs that in some locations, acidity has already surged past levels researchers didn't expect to emerge until the year...Yereth Rosen
Biologists have warned that disappearing summer and fall sea ice will force polar bears to swim greater distances -- and spend more energy doing so -- as they try to find enough food to survive. Now they've gathered direct evidence that it's already happening. Using satellite data sent from radio collars worn by 135 polar bears in the Beaufort Sea and Hudson Bay from 2007 to 2012 to track where and how often the bears made long-distance swims (defined by the researchers as more than 50 kilometers or about 31 miles), researchers found a correlation between low sea ice and long-distance swimming. The results of the study , which was conducted by scientists from the University of Alberta and Environment and Climate Change Canada and incorporated additional data stretching back to 2004, were...Yereth Rosen
When it comes to climate, what happens in the Arctic, scientists are fond of saying, doesn’t stay in the Arctic. And it turns out that the reverse is also true: What happens in the middle latitudes can make for changes farther north. That's because of changes to the way water moves through the atmosphere and oceans -- even rivers -- and the transfer of heat with it, according to an emerging picture of how the climates at different latitudes interact. The idea that the climates of the Arctic and lower latitudes are connected, once limited to scientific debate, has become increasingly mainstream. Recent research has supported the theory that Arctic warming is causing the jet stream to meander into a wavy pattern that affects weather events in temperate regions. And a study publicized...Yereth Rosen
Rising temperatures in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska will reduce stocks and harvests of Alaska pollock by mid-century, but there is a silver lining for the fishing industry, according to a new report : The ubiquitous whitefish gobbled around the world in fast-food sandwiches, frozen sticks and imitation crab meat will no longer be ultra-cheap. Economic losses from a catch diminished by climate change will be partially offset by rising prices for the fish species that supports the nation’s single biggest seafood harvest, according to an analysis by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center. The report, by economist Chang Seung and biologist Jim Ianelli and published in the journal Natural Resource Modeling, estimates that the...Yereth Rosen
Shrubs expanding northward into a warming Arctic -- and growing taller as they did -- paved the way for moose to expand their range northward too. That's the finding of a newly published study by scientists with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the U.S. Geological Survey. The long-legged ungulates were absent from Alaska’s northernmost tundra regions in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, but in recent decades, populations have spread along the rivers and streams that flow into the Arctic Ocean, said the study, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE. The proliferation of woody plants along rivers and streams made that moose expansion possible. Those plants grew to only about 1.1 meters (1.2 yards) tall in the period around 1860 -- meaning snow...Yereth Rosen
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is promoting a new climate change-denying film and will take part in a panel discussion at a Washington, D.C. screening, Variety reported on Monday. The film , called “Climate Hustle,” is produced by a conservative organization called Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and its affiliated . It will be shown on May 2 at 400 theaters nationwide, Variety reported. At the Washington screening this week, Variety reported, Palin and others will gather to discuss the issue, including educator Bill Nye, whom refers to as a “warmist.” U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and who has been battling the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration over what he...Yereth Rosen