Sunday 8 December 2019
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Warm water diminishes sea ice off Alaska’s north coast

The US research vessel Sikuliaq can break through ice as thick as 0.76 metres. In the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska this month, which should be brimming with floes, its limits likely won’t be tested. University of Washington researchers left Nome on November 8 on the 79.5-metre ship, crossed through the Bering Strait and will record observations at multiple sites including Utqiaġvik, formerly Barrow, America’s northernmost community. Sea ice is creeping toward the city from the east in the Beaufort Sea, but to find sea ice in the Chukchi, the Sikuliaq would have to head northwest for about 322 kilometres. In the new reality of the US Arctic, open water is the November norm for the Chukchi....

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