Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook (SIWO)

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Overview

Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook

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 from April through June 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 partners include the Eskimo Walrus Commission, the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS), and scientists at the National Weather Service and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Funding for SIWO is provided to ARCUS by the National Science Foundation's Division of Arctic Sciences (PLR-1304316). SIWO is considered a contribution to the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH).

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National Weather ServiceInternational Arctic Research CenterEskimo Walrus CommissionWeather Ready Nation

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

17 May 2019 - Current Conditions:

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

Forecast Synopsis for 16–20 May 2019

Synopsis. Low pressure will remain over the Gulf of Alaska and mainland Alaska while high pressure remains over Siberia. The result is a long period of northerly flow at the surface.

Near St. Lawrence Island

There is an area of consolidated pack ice along the coast east of Savoonga that extends up to 0.75 nm from shore. Extending north from that pack ice to the northeastern Russian coast is a band of open pack ice consisting of small to medium floes that ranges from 2 to 8 nm wide. The nearest sea ice to Gambell is open pack ice consisting of small floes approximately 18 nm northwest of Gambell.

Nome

The nearest sea ice to Nome is within Safety Harbor and Golovin Bay. There is also a band of open pack ice consisting of small to medium floes that runs north to south and ranges from 2 to 8 nm wide that is approximately 90 nm west of Nome.

Brevig Mission/Port Clarence Area

Shorefast ice extends to approximately 3 nm west of Brevig Mission, then there is an area of sea ice free water to approximately 80 nm west of the edge of the shorefast ice where a band of open pack ice consisting of small to medium floes runs north to south. A small band of very open pack ice consisting of brash ice lies between Little Diomede and Big Diomede islands.

Wales to Shishmaref

Open water extends from the Wales to Shishmaref coastline to approximately 30 nm northwest of the coastline. There is then an area of close to very close pack ice consisting of brash ice to small floes extending another 12 to 15 nm from shore. A small band of very open pack ice consisting of brash ice lies between Little Diomede and Big Diomede islands.

Little Diomede

A small band of very open pack ice consisting of brash ice lies between Little Diomede and Big Diomede islands.

Forecast Discussion

Ice Forecast

Sea ice will drift southward to southwestward as the northerly winds continue. There will likely continue to be melting sea ice overall in the St. Lawrence Island and Bering Strait regions.

NWS ice forecastNWS 5-day sea ice forecast

Wind Synopsis

Little Diomede to Wales to St. Lawrence Island:
North Wind 20 to 30 kt (23 to 35 mph) on Friday, May 17th will continue through Saturday, afternoon May 18th and diminish to 10 to 20 kt (12 to 23 mph). This trend continues until Monday, May 20th when north wind increases to 15 to 25 kt (17 to 29 mph) for the region lasting through to Thursday morning, May 23rd and diminishing to 10 to 20 kt (12 to 23 mph) continuing through Friday, May 24th.

Norton Sound-Seward Peninsula-Nome:
North wind 10 to 20 kt (12 to 23 mph) on Friday, May 17th will continue through Friday evening, May 17th diminishing to variable wind less than 5 kt (6 mph) by Saturday, May 18th morning. This trend continues through Monday, May 20th when in the morning the north wind will ramp up to 10 to 20 kt (12 to 23 mph) continuing until Wednesday, May 22nd morning. The wind on Wednesday, May 22nd will become variable less than 10 kt (12 mph) lasting through Friday, May 24th.

Temperature Trend

Bering Strait-Far Western Seward Peninsula-St. Lawrence Island:
High temperatures Friday, May 17th lasting to Monday, May 20th will be in the mid 30s. Tuesday, May 21st through Friday, May 24th high temperatures will range from the mid 30s to near 40 for the region. Low temperatures Friday, May 17th through Monday, May 20th will range in upper 20s to near freezing. Tuesday, May 21st through Friday, May 24th a warming trend into the mid 30s for low temperatures is expected.

Eastern Seward Peninsula-Nome:
High temperatures Friday, May 17th continuing through Friday, May May 24th will range from the upper 40s to lower 50s. Low temperatures will continue in the mid to upper 30s.

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

Wind maps are updated daily and can be viewed here: http://www.weather.gov/afg/SIWO_overview

Higher-resolution versions of satellite images can be viewed here: https://www.weather.gov/afg/SIWO_overview

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

Observations of Sea Ice Development

In this location, you will find comments about ice development based on information provided by local ice experts and other researchers based on ground observations and satellite images.

Additional comments and images are regularly posted to the SIWO Facebook page.

Current Outlook Observations

  • Observations from Savoonga

    16 May 2019 – Aqef Waghiyi

    Three days ago, got walrus 35 miles northeast. Forgot phone so no pictures. There was mixed big ice/high ice mixed with small chunks. North winds now, no good for boating.

  • Observations from Gambell

    16 May 2019 – Clarence Irrigoo, Jr.

    We went out on Sunday, see only bulls on a ice about 1 mile long. We see wind mill’s post from Savoonga. No ice since Monday, very windy and foggy.

    Gambell 1Sea ice and walrus near Gambell

    Gambell 2Sea ice and walrus near Gambell

    Gambell 3Sea ice and walrus near Gambell

    Gambell 4Young bearded seal on the ice near Gambell

    Gambell 5Sunset over open water in Gambell

  • Observations from Nome

    17 May 2019 – Boogles Johnson

    There has been no ice for the past week, we are sea ice free and also the Snake River is currently open.

  • Observations from Wales

    17 May 2019 – Robert Tokeinna, Jr.

    Since the ice has gone out, there has been flow ice, but has since slowly pass by continuing north. Lots of southerly to east winds with some northeast n west wind last week during a night or so. Lots of cranes means spring has come for Wales, seen some snow geese and Geese also with duck and more Snow birds. Lots of water around town. Creek has drained but up towards the airport has alot of water. Local boaters went out unsure of catch. This ends my observation.

    Wales 1Nearshore conditions in Wales - view 1

    Wales 2Nearshore conditions in Wales - view 2

    Wales 3Nearshore conditions in Wales - view 3

  • Observations from Port Clarence and Brevig Mission

    18 May 2019 – Marcus Barr

    Yesterday the channel about 2.5 miles west opened up to the open water, the Port Clarence bay is not safe anymore. The edge of the open water is about 1/2 a mile west now.

    Brevig Mission 1Nearshore ice conditions in Brevig Mission - view 1

    Brevig Mission 2Nearshore ice conditions in Brevig Mission - view 2

Remote Sensing Data

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

Additional resources for satellite imagery and weather are available here.