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

Near St. Lawrence Island

Sea ice floes continued to melt in the northern Bering Sea this past week. St. Lawrence Island is sea ice free beyond the western, southern, and eastern coastlines. Open water lies off the north coast from near Gambell over to Camp Iveetok. Open to very open pack ice lies off the coast beyond Tomname Lagoon. Strips of sea ice are continuing to stream off the main pack ice remaining near the Gulf of Anadyr and are passing to the northwest of the island at this time.

Wales to Shishmaref

The outer extent of the remaining shorefast ice from Wales to Ikpek broke away from the shoreline this week. Sea ice within the lagoons is melting in place. Floes of the broken shorefast ice are drifting to the northeast at this time near the coastline. Beyond the ice floes there is open water and very open pack ice is drifting through the eastern half of the Bering Strait.

5 to 10 Day Forecast

Weather System/Wind Synopsis

A low-pressure system will be located over northern Alaska on Friday, 6 June, with northwesterly winds 30 to 35 mph (25 to 30 kt). The low will gradually move off to the Yukon Territory by Tuesday, 10 June, while another low forms in the northern Bering Sea with winds 15 to 20 mph (10 to 15 kt). This low will remain nearly stationary through Saturday, 14 June, before weakening. A fast moving low will move from Eastern Russia through the Bering Sea to the Alaska Peninsula on Sunday and Monday, 15-16 June, then high pressure builds over the northern Bering Sea on Monday the 16th with 15 to 25 mph (10 to 20 kt) winds.

Temperature Trend & Ice Forecast

Overnight temperatures during the period will be in the lower to mid 30s over the Bering Sea and west coast of Alaska. The daytime temperatures will range from the upper 30s over the Bering Sea to the low to mid 40s along the west coast of Alaska. Sea ice concentrations will continue to decrease through this week owing to seasonal temperatures increasing and wave action breaking apart sea ice floes.

Arrows show wind direction and wind speed in knots

St. Lawrence Island wind direction and speed
Map of 10-day outlook of wind conditions
Bering Strait wind direction and speed

Remote Sensing Images

Bering Strait St. Lawrence Island Wales to Shishmaref

Observations and Comments

Observations of Sea Ice Development

Observations from Shishmaref

6 June 2014 - Curtis Nayokpuk

Most hunters have harvested annual needs of bearded seals and have had limited access to walrus. Open sea can be seen approximately five miles off shore ice. North wind has pushed ice back in and closed leads for boat travel.