Update

Status: The 2024 SIWO season is anticipated to begin on Friday, 29 March. Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/seaiceforwalrus for more discussion.


Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook

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The Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook (SIWO) is a resource for Alaska Native subsistence hunters, coastal communities, and others interested in sea ice and walrus. The SIWO provides weekly reports during the spring sea-ice season with information on weather and sea-ice conditions relevant to walrus in the northern Bering Sea and southern Chukchi Sea regions of Alaska.

The Outlooks are produced with information on weather and sea-ice conditions provided by the National Weather Service - Alaska Region and Alaska Native sea-ice experts. SIWO is managed by the Arctic Research Consortium of the US (ARCUS), in partnership with the Eskimo Walrus Commission, the National Weather Service, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and local observers. Funding for SIWO is provided to ARCUS by the National Science Foundation's Division of Arctic Sciences (PLR-1928794). During 2020–2021, SIWO received support from Alaska Sea Grant for a formal evaluation, which is being led by University of Alaska Fairbanks. Results of the evaluation will be shared publicly when available.


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Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook This Week

Date:

Assessment of Current Ice Conditions Relevant to Distribution and Access of Walrus

Click the name of each community below to view more frequently updated and detailed information from the National Weather Service.

Synopsis Low pressure will move east across the central Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea through Thursday, then high pressure builds over the North Pacific and Bering Sea through Monday.

Near St. Lawrence Island

On Thursday, April 11th, a polynya extended approximately 5 miles (8 km) off the north side of the island from near Gambell to Lietnik. Aside from this polynya, surrounding the island is very close pack ice consisting of big to vast floes. There is shorefast ice extending approximately 6 miles (10 km) between Iwoorigan Camp and Apatiki Camp, approximately 3 miles (5 km) between Camp Iveetok around the east side of the island to near Siknik Training Camp.

Nome

This area has not yet started for the 2024 SIWO season.

Nome port entrance webcam (via AOOS webpage): https://bering-sea.portal.aoos.org/?ls=79875242-e362-65cb-914e-fed20ff9…

Brevig Mission/Port Clarence Area

This area has not yet started for the 2024 SIWO season.

Wales to Shishmaref

This area has not yet started for the 2024 SIWO season.

Diomede

This area has not yet started for the 2024 SIWO season.

Forecast Discussion

Ice Forecast

With northerly winds through Saturday, 13 April, the ice pack will drift south and the polynya off the north side of the island will briefly close off again. When winds shift to a more southerly direction again Sunday, 14 April through Tuesday, 16 April, the polynya will form off the north side of the island again and some shorefast ice may break off. There will likely also be thinning of the ice pack west of Gambell as stronger winds and warmer air moves in late Sunday, 14 April through Tuesday, 16 April.

Wind Synopsis

Winds at Gambell will generally be from the northwest at 18 to 24 mph (16 to 21 kt) Friday morning through Saturday morning. Winds will shift to easterly on Saturday afternoon at 13 to 17 mph (11 to 15 kt) and remain easterly through early Sunday morning. On Sunday morning, winds will turn southerly than southwesterly and increase to 21 to 28 mph (18 to 24 kt) Sunday afternoon. Winds will remain out of the southwest through early Wednesday at 14 to 21 mph (12 to 18 kt), diminishing during the day on Wednesday. Winds will turn northerly on Wednesday at 14 to 17 mph (12 to 15 kt) and remain that strong through Friday.

Temperature Trend

Highs in Gambell will be in the mid-20s Friday and Saturday, warming to the upper 20s on Sunday and into the lower 30s on Monday. Highs will return to the upper 20s on Tuesday and remain there on Wednesday. Highs look to be in the lower 20s at the end of next week. Low temperatures will be in the middle single digits above zero Friday morning, then warm into the teens to near 20 through Thursday. Friday lows look to be cooler (upper single digits) with the passage of a cold front.

Daily Weather, Wind, and Temperature Updates

The National Weather Service provides twice-daily, text only updates on the weather, wind, and temperature conditions in specific geographical zones. An interactive weather map for access to other Alaskan zones can be found here: http://weather.gov/anchorage/ice

Higher resolution satellite images and wind maps (wind updated daily) can be viewed here: http://www.weather.gov/afg/SIWO_overview

The Alaska Ocean Observing System shares a variety of weather and sea ice related resources in their Bering Sea Portal at https://bering-sea.portal.aoos.org/.

NWS Sea Ice Forecast Maps

Marine forecast for the West Coast and Arctic Coast

Friday and Saturday regional wind forecast.

Remote Sensing Images

Bering Strait area satellite image. Wales to Shishmaref area satellite image. St. Lawrence Island area satellite image.

Observations and Comments

Observations of Sea Ice Development

Observations from Savoonga

Thursday, 11 April 2024 – Aqef Waghiyi

Breezy from the north. Blowing snow. NW wind 15-20. Pressure: 989. Humidity 88%. Nobody went out boating since last week.

Update: Friday, 12 April 2024

No open water today, it closed up.

Weather conditions in Savoonga. Photo courtesy of Aqef Waghiyi.
Weather conditions in Savoonga. Photo courtesy of Aqef Waghiyi.

Weather conditions in Savoonga - view 2. Photo courtesy of Aqef Waghiyi.
Weather conditions in Savoonga - view 2. Photo courtesy of Aqef Waghiyi.

Observations from Port Clarence, Brevig Mission, and Cape Douglas

Thursday, 12 April 2024 – Marcus Barr

No ice report due to wind/blowing snow conditions.

Additional Comments Provided by Local Experts and Other Contributors

Shared by the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) for 10–18 April 2024

Visit the SIWO Facebook page @seaiceforwalrus to view this animation showing the predicted movement of ice predicted by the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). Snapshots from the forecast show ice coverage from 0% (black) to 100% (white) and arrows show the relative speed and direction of the ice. A light boundary is drawn at 15% predicted ice cover to highlight the ice edge, but ice may be predicted to extend beyond it. Some bays, lagoons, and areas very close to shore are not covered by the model. (Image produced by the Alaska Ocean Observing System / Axiom Data Science).

Visit the SIWO Facebook page @seaiceforwalrus to view this animation showing the predicted movement of ice predicted by the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM).
Visit the SIWO Facebook page @seaiceforwalrus to view this animation showing the predicted movement of ice predicted by the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM).