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

Near St. Lawrence Island

St. Lawrence Island is sea ice-free beyond the western, southern, and eastern coastlines. Strips of brash sea ice are continuing to stream off the main pack ice remaining near the Gulf of Anadyr and are passing to the north and northwest of the island at this time. The remainder of the Northern Bering Sea is mainly open water to sea ice-free.

Wales to Shishmaref

Lagoons from Wales to Espenberg are mostly sea ice-free at this time. Sea ice-free conditions lie from the Bering Strait through much of the southeastern Chukchi Sea offshore from Wales to Shishmaref.

5 to 10 Day Forecast

Weather System/Wind Synopsis

High pressure will be situated over the northern Bering Sea on Friday, 20 June, with a light northerly flow around 15 to 25 mph (10 to 20 kt). These winds will decrease through Saturday the 21st and become light (<15 mph or <10 kt). On Sunday, 22 June, the wind will turn to the west at 15 to 20 mph (10 to 15 kt) south of the Bering Strait and north 10 to 20 mph (5 to 15 kt). High pressure will move to the eastern Bering Sea on Tuesday the 24th, causing the winds to be southerly at 10 to 20 mph (5 to 15 kt). North flow returns on Thursday, 26 June, with low pressure over the western Alaska mainland. Light flow (<15 mph, <10 kt) returns on Saturday the 28th. No widespread precipitation is expected through Monday, 30 June.

Temperature Trend & Ice Forecast

Overnight temperatures during the period will be in the 30s over the Bering Sea and west coast of Alaska. The daytime temperatures will range from the low 40s over the Bering Sea to the upper 40s to lower 50s along the west coast of Alaska. Strips of brash sea ice are expected to continue drifting to the northwest of St. Lawrence Island through the week. The remainder of the northern Bering Sea and southeastern Chukchi Sea are expected to be open water to sea ice-free through this period.

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 Wales

20 June 2014 - Winton Weyapuk, Jr.

There is no more pack ice or fragments of shorefast ice near Wales. A few hunters last week thought pack ice from the Chukotka side of the strait approached near the Diomede Islands. There were also reports of remaining broken shorefast ice 32 miles north of Wales at the Ikpek inlet to Shishmaref Lagoon, but basically there is no more pack ice near Wales. People here are now waiting for salmon to begin running and have started picking greens from the tundra.

Observations from Gambell

16 June 2014 - Merle Apassingok

There is still some sea ice present coming from the west. Ice is present from the southwest to just east of northeast. There is quite a bit of ice occurring in a combination of sparse and dense ice. The ice is full of silt indicating it is from shorefast ice probably from the Russian coast. Hunters are reporting a lot of spotted and ribbon seals, but hardly any walrus. A lot of whales including killer whales have also been observed. During calm days like these many hunters take the opportunity to teach their young sons and daughters how to hunt, and about hunting safety.