Assessment of Current Ice Conditions Relevant to Distribution and Access of Walrus
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Synopsis – Low pressure will generally remain over the Bering Strait region through Monday, with high pressure over the eastern Beaufort Sea during that time.
Near St. Lawrence Island
There is shorefast ice along the north side of St. Lawrence Island extending 1 to 5 miles offshore. Beyond the shorefast ice on the north side of the island is compact pack ice consisting of medium to vast floes extending up to 18 miles beyond the shorefast ice. The nearest sea ice to Gambell is approximately 20 miles to the west and is close pack ice consisting of mainly brash ice. South of the island is open water. To the east of the island is open pack ice to close pack ice consisting of small to big floes up to 8 miles east of the island.
The nearest sea ice is 25 miles south of Nome, and is close pack ice consisting of brash ice to medium floes. The remainder of the area is sea ice free.
The only sea ice remaining in this area is between Port Clarence and Teller. It is compact pack ice consisting of vast to giant floes.
Wales to Shishmaref
Previously shorefast ice extends up to 2.5 miles from the coast. This ice is showing signs of melting in place, so it is now considered compact pack ice although much of it is likely still fast to the shore/ocean floor. Beyond the shorefast ice is consolidated to compact ice consisting of medium to giant floes extending 5 to 20 miles north from Wales to Shishmaref, and 20 to 45 miles north from Shishmaref to Espenberg, then open pack ice to open water beyond that. To the west and northwest of Wales is generally open water.
The waters around Diomede are sea ice free. The nearest sea ice is near Wales, and is compact pack ice consisting of medium to giant floes.
Sea ice will generally move with ocean currents through Sunday, then begin to drift northward as the southerly winds move in. Overall, sea ice in the Bering Strait region is melting quickly and the melting will be more significant than any amount of drifting in the next week.
Winds will be mainly variable 5 to 10 kts (6 to 12 mph) from Friday, June 4th to Saturday, June 5th. Winds will shift to the north-northwest 5 to 15 kts (6 to 17 mph) Saturday night and continue into Sunday evening June 6th, with the strongest winds through the Bering Strait near Diomede. On Monday, June 7th, winds will shift to the south-southwest 10 to 20 kt (12 to 23 mph) across the region and persist through Friday, June 11th. The strongest winds will occur from the Bering Strait to St. Lawrence Island with the lighter winds near Nome and Shishmaref.
From Friday, June 4th through Sunday, June 6th, high temperatures will be in the upper 30's to upper 40's and overnight lows in the upper 20's to mid 30's, with the warmest readings near Nome. For the remainder for the period from Monday, June 7th through Friday, June 11th, daytime highs will be in the lower 40's to lower 50's with overnight lows in the 30's to lower 40's. Once again, the warmest temperatures will be from Teller to Nome.
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
Observations and Comments
Observations of Sea Ice Development
Observations from Savoonga
Thursday, 3 June 2021 – Aqef Waghiyi
Nobody went boating since the last time we talked. Still iced in. Not much really going on the past week. I was hoping for south winds. Next good boating weather gonna go chase the ice to the east side. Maybe I’m going to put my walrus stuff away and pull out seal, birds, and fishing gear. Nobody went boating practically the whole month of May.
Observations from Diomede
Thursday, 3 June 2021 – Marty Eeleengayouq Ozenna
The weather hasn't been good for boating and today the weather finally dying down also what ice we did have went south or south west with the north storm we just had.
Observations from Shishmaref
Friday, 4 June 2021 – Curtis Nayokpuk
Inch of fresh new snow on the ground this AM. Only a hand full of Bearded Seals brought in so far by hunters on snow mobiles. Off shore wind (east at 12) combined with new snow cover over thin ice will have hunters preparing boats and gear for hopefully launching along shore fast ice open leads when conditions permit.
Observations from Gambell
Friday, 4 June 2021 – Clarence Irrigoo, Jr.
The ice is getting smaller, no boats went out this week again cause of the hi wind.
Observations from Port Clarence and Brevig Mission
Friday, 4 June 2021 – Marcus Barr
After a long 2wks of strong northerly winds, SW wind came and pushed the ice in our bay up in front of Brevig. Still no boats had got out for seal or walrus.