Friday, 15 May 2020 - Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook

Weekly Outlook

Date: 
15 May 2020

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

Synopsis A series of lows will move eastward generally along the Aleutian Islands through Monday. High pressure will remain over the high Arctic through Monday.

Near St. Lawrence Island

Satellite imagery from the evening of Wednesday, May 13th and morning of Thursday, May 14th shows the shorefast ice on the north side of the island remains intact especially from Savoonga eastward, extending up to 7 miles offshore. From Gambell to Kangee Camp, shorefast ice extends from about 1 miles to 3 miles offshore. Between Kangee Camp and Savoonga, there is an area of open pack ice with medium to vast floes. There is also some shorefast ice on the south side of the island, extending about 1 mile from shore near Powooiliak Camp. South and west of the island are areas of open pack ice to open water. The open water extends 50 to 60 miles south and west of Booshu Camp. There is an area of very open pack ice to open water from just offshore Savoonga to the Bering Strait, while from Savoonga east to approximately 70 miles east of Camp Kulowiye and north to the Bering Strait, is generally very close pack ice consisting of big to giant floes.

Nome

Shorefast ice extends up to 2 miles offshore from Sinuk to just east of Nome as well as near Port Safety and near Solomon. Very open pack ice extends up to 3 miles south of the shorefast ice, then very close pack ice extends another 6 miles south, with open pack ice beyond that for another 2 to 9 miles south. Otherwise, the surrounding area is very close pack ice consisting of big to vast floes.

Brevig Mission/Port Clarence Area

Shorefast ice extends approximately 35 miles to the west of Brevig Mission. Beyond the shorefast ice is mainly consolidated ice consisting of big to vast floes.

Wales to Shishmaref

Ice around Wales remains shorefast 1 to 3 miles offshore, then a 1 mile wide and 30 miles long area of very open pack ice. Near Mugisitokiwik to approximately 15 miles offshore there is an area of open water approximately 7 miles wide. Another area of open water begins about 20 miles offshore Shishmaref, and is 60 miles long by 22 miles wide. Otherwise, compact pack ice consisting of big to giant floes covers the rest of the surrounding area.

Diomede

Sea ice remains shorefast between Little Diomede and Big Diomede Island. There is a small area just north and east of Diomede that is approximately 2 miles by 3 miles of very open pack ice. Otherwise, consolidated ice consisting of vast to giant floes surrounds Diomede.

Forecast Discussion

Ice Forecast

Sea ice will generally continue to drift southward to southwestward through Thursday, May 21st. During times of light and variable winds, sea ice will generally move by local currents. Existing polynyas will continue to expand southwestward as well through the next week.

NWS 5-day Sea Ice ForecastNWS 5-day Sea Ice Forecast

Wind Synopsis

Norton Sound:
Friday, May 15th, southeast wind 12-17 kt (14-21 mph) will shift and diminish to northeast 7-12 knots (8-14 mph) by Saturday, May 16th morning, and continue to diminish to northeast 3-8 knots (3-9 mph) and continue until Monday, May 18th remaining northeast and increasing to 10-15 knots (12-17 mph). The northeast wind relaxes to 7-12 knots (8-14 mph) by Tuesday, May 19th morning, and diminishes to northeast 3-8 knots(3-9 mph) by Tuesday, May 19th in the afternoon. The wind shifts east and increases to 10-15 knots (12-17 mph) Thursday, May 21st in the afternoon and lasts through the end of the forecast on Friday, May 22nd.

Bering Strait-St. Lawrence Island:
Friday, May 15th, northeast wind 20-30 knots (23-34 mph) will continue through Tuesday, May 19th. The northeast wind diminishes to 10-15 knots (12-17 mph) by the afternoon on Tuesday, May 19th and continues through Friday, May 22nd.

Temperature Trend

Norton Sound:
Friday, May 15th through Monday, May 18th, maximum temperatures will range from the mid-40s to lower 50s. Tuesday, May 19th through Friday, May 22nd, maximum temperatures will range in the 40s. Friday, May 15th through Wednesday, May 20th minimum temperatures will range from the upper 20s to mid-30s. Thursday, May 21st through Friday, May 22nd minimum temperatures will range from the mid-30s to lower 40s.

St. Lawrence Island - Bering Strait:
Maximum temperatures will range in the 30s through the period from Friday, May 15th through Friday, May 22nd. Minimum temperatures will range from the upper 20s to lower 30s through the same time period.

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

Marine forecast for the West Coast and Arctic Coast

Remote Sensing Images

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

Observations and Comments

Observations of Sea Ice Development

Observations from Diomede

12 May 2020 – Marty Eeleengayouq Ozenna

Our ice condition south end breaking off still and middle melting still and north side still breaking off slowly.

Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 12 May 2020 - view 1.Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 12 May 2020 - view 1.

Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 12 May 2020 - view 2.Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 12 May 2020 - view 2.

Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 12 May 2020 - view 3.Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 12 May 2020 - view 3.

Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 12 May 2020 - view 4.Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 12 May 2020 - view 4.

15 May 2020 - Marty Eeleengayouq Ozenna

North and south side of the island is opened up and the middle of the islands is opening up as well and still melting.

Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 15 May 2020 - view 1.Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 15 May 2020 - view 1.

Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 15 May 2020 - view 2.Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 15 May 2020 - view 2.

Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 15 May 2020 - view 3.Sea ice conditions in Diomede on 15 May 2020 - view 3.

Observations from Nome

14 May 2020 – Boogles Johnson

The Port of Nome is now open as of the week of 5/11/2020 and the sea ice is still visible from Nome. The ice is rotting and the shorefast ice has been staying in place. The sea ice has not been moving great distances in the last week and our local hunters have been able to harvest seals & bearded seals. I do not know of any hunters yet who have landed walrus in the Nome area. The ice is good for the walrus, but due to the ice conditions it is hard to get to the outside of the ice - south of Nome where the walrus would be 10–20 miles off shore.

Nearshore ice conditions in Nome.Nearshore ice conditions in Nome.

Observations from Gambell

15 May 2020 – Clarence Irrigoo, Jr.

Boats getting some walrus and bearded seal. Photos are from Savoonga area about 16 miles. On Gambell area they are getting females with calves. We were looking for female walrus but end up finding male herd.

Walrus near Savoonga.Walrus near Savoonga.

Walrus near Savoonga.Walrus near Savoonga.

Walrus near Savoonga.Walrus near Savoonga.

Walrus near Savoonga.Walrus near Savoonga.

Walrus near Savoonga.Walrus near Savoonga.

Observations from Savoonga

15 May 2020 – Aqef Waghiyi

People went boating yesterday and got walrus, young walrus. Lots of open water but too much shore ice still to get out there. Maybe in the next few days. Not much to report.

Observations from Shishmaref

15 May 2020 – Curtis Nayokpuk

Over two dozen boats ready. Morning fog lately and N-NE winds keeping leads closed and ice packed in leaving limited launch options with thin ice along coastline. Bird hunting good with various ducks going by the village and Snow Geese moving past in large numbers.

Boats ready in Shishmaref.Boats ready in Shishmaref.

Boats ready in Shishmaref.Boats ready in Shishmaref.

Boats on East Beach in Shishmaref.Boats on East Beach in Shishmaref.

Nearshore ice conditions in Shishmaref looking north.Nearshore ice conditions in Shishmaref looking north.

Observations from Port Clarence and Brevig Mission

18 May 2020 – Marcus Barr

Sea ice in Brevig had no changes but is now snow free and some water only on top. The channel 2 miles west of Brevig has started to flow out now and our lagoon is open. Cracks on the beach are wider now and still no report of local boaters, but a few boats were moved to spring camps.