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Comradez

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Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« on: June 30, 2019, 08:20:15 PM »
One of the most dramatic developments this year has been the record warmth in the Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea.  For anyone who has not been paying attention, here are two articles that summarize what has been going on:

As Arctic neared 2019 winter max, Bering Sea was virtually ice-free
18 March 2019
https://news.mongabay.com/2019/03/as-arctic-neared-2019-winter-max-bering-sea-was-virtually-ice-free/

Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska Wreaks Havoc on Communities and Ecosystems
MAY 30, 2019
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/record-breaking-heat-alaska-wreaks-havoc-communities-and-ecosystems-180972317/

The ocean along the Alaskan coast is already getting up to around 15 Celsius in some places.  That's 60 F.  Almost warm enough for a cool dip in the water!  And this has been having a huge effect inland as well.  These past several weeks they have been having highs around 70 F and lows around 50 F along the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers.  That's about 10 F above normal. 

This winter, the sea ice is going to have a hard time overcoming all the warmth absorbed in the Chukchi Sea...and then overcoming all of the warmth in the Bering Sea...so much so that I really don't see how the Bering Sea ice can bounce back from this.  We may be witnessing the transition of the majority of the Bering Sea from seasonally ice-free to perennially ice-free. 

Last year the sea ice extent only made it down the coast of Alaska to roughly the area just barely past the Yukon River delta (see map below).  Norton Sound only had the most tenuous tendrils of ice for a couple of days at most.  For most of the winter, the ice extent didn't even make it past Nome. 

Map of Norton Sound region:



Map of Bristol Bay farther south:



How far south along the Alaskan coast will the ice make it in 2020?  Going from north to south, here are the options (could we make this into a poll?):

  • Not even making it to the Bering Strait (significant open water in Chukchi Sea all winter, no continuous ice in Bering Sea)
  • Bering Strait (no continuous ice in Bering Sea, but no significant open water in Chukchi Sea)
  • Nome
  • Yukon River delta (as far south as Nunivak Island)
  • Kuskokwim River delta
  • Bristol Bay (Dillingham/Port Heiden)
  • Port Moller
  • Cold Bay or farther

In the last decade, this is roughly how far the continuous sea ice extent has made it each winter (by continuous, I mean that I am not counting little microscopic pieces of ice in sheltered bays as part of the ice extent unless it is continuous with the rest of the Bering Sea ice pack) :

2010:  Port Moller (March 23rd)
2011:  Bristol Bay (Dillingham/Port Heiden) (March 4th)
2012:  Cold Bay (March 21st)
2013:  Bristol Bay (Dillingham/Port Heiden) (March 24th)
2014:  Bristol Bay (Dillingham/Port Heiden) (March 19th)
2015:  Bristol Bay (Dillingham/Port Heiden) (March 15th)
2016:  Kuskowkwim River delta (March 9th)
2017:  Port Moller (March 28th)
2018:  Kuskowkwim River delta (March 12th)
2019:  Yukon River delta (March 22nd) Edit: Kuskowkwim River delta (Jan 20th)

I'm gonna put my bet on Nome edit: the Yukon River delta areaThat is to say, I think there are better than even odds that Norton Sound won't even ice-over this coming winter.  hat-tip to Niall Dollard for pointing out that the ice extent was much farther in January and February of 2019, with Norton Sound solidly frozen and the ice making it all the way beyond the Kuskokwim delta area.  I honestly didn't even think to check dates that early in worldview.  I've changed my prediction accordingly.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 03:52:33 AM by Comradez »

ArcticMelt2

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2019, 08:28:58 PM »
One of the most dramatic developments this year has been the record warmth in the Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea. 

In principle, this fits into many climate models that believe that the greatest warming will occur from the Pacific Ocean. This is due to the slowing down of the Gulf Stream (the North Atlantic is being cooled due to the fresh water of melting Greenland).

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/5/e1600871?intcmp=trendmd-adv


ArcticMelt2

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Stephan

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2019, 10:29:52 PM »
To put these graphs back "in line" for 2020 the following winter/spring should become really cold (like 2013). Otherwise I do not see any other option than to declare a state change that occured there in the last four years...

ArcticMelt2

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2019, 10:52:13 PM »
https://twitter.com/zlabe/status/1107828113830887424

Quote
Historical reconstruction of western Alaska sea ice (Bering Sea) shows February 2019's sea ice extent was the 2nd lowest on record (after 2018) since at least 1850

Data is assembled from recent satellite data, whaler's logs, ship records, etc. More info: http://seaiceatlas.snap.uaf.edu/


ArcticMelt2

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2019, 11:00:38 PM »
As in the case of Antarctica and Svalbard, the most complete data on the area of ice in the Bering Sea in the pre-satellite era are obtained from whalers.

http://seaiceatlas.snap.uaf.edu/about

Quote
Whaling ship logbook data  Daily observations taken from logbooks and journals of whaling vessels cruising in the Bering and Chukchi seas to investigate seaice conditions in this region of the Arctic between 1850 and 1914. Extracted and digitized daily data on the presence or absence of sea ice from logbook records of annual cruises in an unbroken record from 1850 to 1914, though there were very few cruises (hence inadequate data) from 1911 to 1914. Data include more than 52,000 daily observations in an unbroken 65 year record from 516 cruises. These represent 19% of the total 2,712 cruises. Similar findings are discussed by Eicken et al.  in this paper.

Niall Dollard

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2019, 02:16:25 AM »
One of the most dramatic developments this year has been the record warmth in the Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea. 


I agree. Ice extent in the Bering Sea has struggled not just this year but last year as well.

But please there are many observers on here (including myself) who regularly check the ice conditions and some of your statements are not correct. Just check out the conditions at Worldview.

 


Last year the sea ice extent only made it down the coast of Alaska to roughly the area just barely past the Yukon River delta 



No. On Jan 20th for example the ice extends some 100 km out from the Alaskan coast below the Kuskokwim Delta. At this stage there was plenty of ice in Norton Sound.
Norton Sound only had the most tenuous tendrils of ice for a couple of days at most.


After the intially spreading south in January, by late Jan instead of getting a foothold the ice retreated back north during early Feb. By Feb 8th half of Norton Sound was covered. But during mid Feb it spread south again and by Feb 19th practically all of Norton Sound was covered. This was not "tenuous tendrils".


 For most of the winter, the ice extent didn't even make it past Nome. 


I watched the webcam at Nome looking south over Norton Sound almost every day this winter and many, many days were ice covered. January thru March

The ice waned again during late Feb in Norton Sound but reformed again during mid March. But during April this broke up quickly with only small amounts remaining until last pieces vanished by the end of the month.

So all in all, it was a poor year for Bering sea ice along the Alaskan course. Just when ice was starting to get a foothold it was blown away by many of the storms. But this often is a feature of the Bering Sea.

I think it is important to highlight the waning sea ice conditions in the Bering. There are many ways to do this. And many have produced excellent graphs on this. But I also think it is important to be more precise with your data/comments.

Regarding next year, I think with high SSTs ice will be slow to form. We were expecting there to be a slow freeze up this autumn also, however against the odds and due  to persistent northerlies the ice did make it down past the Kuskokwim Delta, but did not stay at that southerly location for long.

There is a tendency now for weather patterns to get "stuck". This could mean the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge spreading warmth north or weeks of persistent northerlies over Alaska. Who knows what next autumn will bring but it will take some time again to bring down the warm SSTs.

It will take time but I still expect to be watching the sea ice at Nome on many days between January and April 2020.

Rod

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2019, 02:27:50 AM »
Reposted from early March of this year.  Whether you want to accept it or not, “the times they are a changing.”

Comradez

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2019, 03:52:14 AM »
No. On Jan 20th for example the ice extends some 100 km out from the Alaskan coast below the Kuskokwim Delta. At this stage there was plenty of ice in Norton Sound.
Norton Sound only had the most tenuous tendrils of ice for a couple of days at most.


After the intially spreading south in January, by late Jan instead of getting a foothold the ice retreated back north during early Feb. By Feb 8th half of Norton Sound was covered. But during mid Feb it spread south again and by Feb 19th practically all of Norton Sound was covered. This was not "tenuous tendrils".

I honestly didn't even think to check dates that early in worldview.  I assumed that the ice extent would peak sometime in March, so I generally checked from March 1st to the 31st.  I've changed my prediction and my initial post accordingly.  My bad.  Good to hear some firsthand info for a reality-check!

Paul

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2019, 03:36:12 AM »
Got to be careful with jumping to too many conclusions as it was only in 2012 the ice in the Bering sea was very extensive but I will say, given what happened in the last 2 years, I would not be surprised if one year, the Bering remains largely ice free.

Comradez

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2019, 04:27:23 PM »
Got to be careful with jumping to too many conclusions as it was only in 2012 the ice in the Bering sea was very extensive but I will say, given what happened in the last 2 years, I would not be surprised if one year, the Bering remains largely ice free.

I agree.  Hard to believe that in 2012, the year of the mega-melt, the ice was all the way to Cold Bay in late March. 

Also, Niall Dollard's finding that 2019 actually had rather extensive ice extent in January 2019 suggests that the problem is not so much heat retention from the previous summer, but rather early melt in the spring.  That changes my thinking a bit....

gerontocrat

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2019, 05:00:20 PM »
Tipping point started in 2016?

2016 and 2017. Very low max but at sort of a normal time.

2018 and 2019 very low max very early.
2019 followed 2010's average area up to late January but then stopped.
2018 and 2019 melted out extremely fast and extremely early.

Real possibility of a permanent change.
But two years are just two data points with a line across.
Three years says perhaps time to look for a possible trend.
Four years says think about writing a science paper.
Five years says write the science paper. (see Antarctic Sea Ice thread).
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
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"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

Phil.

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2019, 01:16:21 PM »
The disappearance of the cold pool in the Bering in 2018 might be an indicator of a fundamental change?

ArcticMelt2

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2019, 03:53:19 AM »
https://twitter.com/AlaskaWx

Quote
The northern Bering Sea near Alaska during May & June has never been warmer than this year. Six of the ten warmest May-Junes in the past 120 years have been the past six years. Community and ecosystem impacts continue. #akwx #Arctic @Climatologist49 @amy_holman @ArcticResearch


Archimid

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2019, 04:19:30 AM »
I don't think so, but maybe there is a small rebound left in it?
I am an energy reservoir seemingly intent on lowering entropy for self preservation.

Rod

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2019, 04:50:33 AM »
AM2, when you post tweets and graphs from people on Twitter you should include their name and give them credit. 

I know you posted the link to the tweet, but that is not the same.  Many people on this forum know who Rick Thoman is, and it will give the data more weight if they know it came from him. 

Also, he watches these forums and sometimes participates.  We don’t want him to think that we are not properly crediting him for all of the great work he does.

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2019, 05:34:31 AM »
I find it curious that Rick Thoman's chart has a legend that includes "Five Coolest" and "Five Warmest" while the actual chart appears to highlight the ten coolest and ten warmest years. I presume it is just a bug in the legend.

The significance of the chart to me, however, is to show this part of the North Pacific (northern Bering Sea) has warmed, on average, a full 2C in 100 years.
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

Rod

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2019, 05:39:55 AM »
I’m sure the five vs ten was a typo in the legend.

I noticed that too, but I think I have seen a previous version of this chart and the legend just did not get updated.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2019, 07:54:53 PM »
An interesting forecast.

https://nordpil.com/portfolio/mapsgraphics/arctic-projections/



It seems warming in Alaska and the Chukchi Sea is far ahead of forecasts.

ArcticMelt2

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2019, 07:58:46 PM »
This is the 2005 forecast.

https://www.grida.no/resources/7012

Aluminium

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2019, 04:06:02 PM »
SST is about 10°С in the Chukchi Sea. Sunny weather will probably make it even warmer.

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2019, 05:17:46 PM »
Quote
Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
Not for a while, a geological 'while', unless human politics changes soon, a chameleon's 'soon'.
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

kassy

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2019, 05:39:12 PM »
Not for a while, a geological 'while'

With the momentum in the earth system you can just skip that last part.

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2019, 06:04:27 PM »
Can't I leave room for any hope, Kassy?  :'(
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kassy

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2019, 08:11:15 PM »
Hope is a very powerful thing but you should not hope for the impossible and sadly even if at this very moment Net Flix turns Utopia by More into a series and everybody adapts the lifestyle from the day after tomorrow and we go straight to zero carbon emissions we will also go to zero masking aerosols.

And all the energy we added to the oceans does not disappear either so there is no realistic hope.

Dunno if  >:( or :'( applies. I guess both.

gerontocrat

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2019, 08:18:05 PM »
Can't I leave room for any hope, Kassy?  :'(
I says -

With the Bering nearly 90% open water even in winter...

Nope.
 
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2019, 09:02:03 PM »
"Chin up!" they say, and "March on.  Be brave and face the terror."

Got it (taking a deep breath, squaring my shoulders and straightening my back).
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kassy

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Re: Will the Bering Sea ever be the same again?
« Reply #27 on: July 09, 2019, 09:31:14 PM »
Statistics aside one of the consequences threads mentioned arctic seas warming and local life migrating towards the ice and colder waters (not sure how much is migration and how much dies in unusual circumstances). Anyway the net result is no food for the birds and fish returning.

Extent crashes, Area crashes but Local Populations crash too.